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“Death of a Salesman” By: Arthur Miller. Character Analysis. Willy Loman. The common man Symbolizes the cruel paradox of human existence. Seen as ritual head of the family.

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Death of a salesman by arthur miller l.jpg

“Death of a Salesman”By: Arthur Miller

Character Analysis

Willy loman l.jpg
Willy Loman

  • The common man

  • Symbolizes the cruel paradox of human existence.

  • Seen as ritual head of the family.

  • Seeks to discover a design in the paradoxical movement of life; toimpose upon it a sense of meaning greater that that conferred upon it byreality.

  • His life experiences seem to intermingle and disturb the logical flow of reality.

  • He views his life as a totality. Conventions of time and place are not relevant for him.

  • Has high ideals; possibly unattainable ones

  • Wants to be loved by all; Wants to succeed by terms that do not suit hisnature; wants to leave his mark upon the world.

  • Feels he has to succeed and the only way to show his success is to acquire money and material goods. He does not want to face the fact thathe is not earning enough.

  • When he finally evaluates his performance he realizes that he has fallen far short of his goals at that point. Suicide becomes an act of valor for him.

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Linda Loman

  • Tries to share in Willy’s ideals and suffers great torment as she observes Willy’s decline knowing that she is unable to help Willy or her family.

  • Fails to understand what happens to Willy and fails to believe what has occurred between him and Biff, but still manages to retain a belief in the need to treat human beings properly.

  • Loyal and supportive wife and mother.

  • Her anger stems from her beliefs in the Loman family and memories of her happy time in the past.

  • She is a woman struggling to come to terms with her city, her husband, and he sons.

  • Linda, as the eternal wife and mother, the fixed point of affection both given and received, the woman who suffers and endures, is in many ways, the earth mother who embodies the play’s ultimate moral value, love.

  • In the beautiful, ironic complexity of her creation, she is also Willy’s and their sons’ destroyer. In her love Linda has accepted Willy’s greatness and his dream, but while in her admiration for his dreams, it is lethal. She encourages Willy’s dream yet she will not let him leave her for the New Continent, the only realm where the dream can be fulfilled.

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Biff Loman

  • Lacks self- assurance because of the uncertainty about his father’s attitude towards him and his doubts about his own life and future.

  • Has not found his place in society, but also realizes that he does not fit into any of the openings that society has made.

  • As a result of Willy’s lies he is undisciplined and disillusioned.

  • Sees the city as a concrete jungle, but refuses to conform to the city’s demands.

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Happy Loman

  • Similar to Willy because he is lost due to the fact that he has never allowed himself to turn his face towards defeat.

  • Regular guy, has a job, hopes for promotion, committed to conform

  • Needs to pretend to be more than he really is (Like father like son)

  • Likes women but treats them disrespectfully.

  • Never acquires Biff’s ultimate self-knowledge and realization of the truth.

  • Remains the Loman that he always was, incapable of interpreting the message of Willy’s failure.

Who is the protagonist of this play l.jpg
Who is the protagonist of this play?

Willy Loman

Biff Loman

Who contributes to the destruction of more than one of the main characters l.jpg
Who contributes to the destructionof more than one of the main characters?

Linda Loman

Happy Loman

Which son shares the most characteristics with willy l.jpg
Which son shares the most characteristics with Willy?

Biff Loman

Happy Loman

Listen to the following monologue who is speaking l.jpg
Listen to the following monologue.Who is speaking?

Willy Loman

Linda Loman

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Bilbliography Arthur Miller:

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penguin Group, 1976. Print.


"Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller « Blue Blazes Book Blog." Blue Blazes Book Blog. 19 Jan. 2010. Web. 02 Nov. 2010. <>.

"Arthur Miller's Greatest Work Was Never Performed." The Book Den. 2005. Web. 03 Nov. 2010. <>.