Essay, Research Paper: Death Of Salesman By Loman

Literature: Arthur Miller

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Is it possible to control your whole life? Is there a way to know how your life
will turn out before it happens? In the play of “Death of the Salesman”
Willy Loman faces these questions. Willy Loman was a simple man who was a
salesman. Since Willy thought that his life was so simple he thought that he
could control everything to it. Willy Loman thought that he could control the
aspect of his job, he thought he could control how successful his kids were
going to be in business and most of all the thought he could control how people
had felt about him. In a way Willy Loman was living in his own little world were
he had control when in fact his life had control over him. As this is seen Willy
Loman doesn’t realize that life is unpredictable you cant control every detail
of were you work, what happens to your life nor can you control how people feel
about you. Willy Loman feels that he has control over were he works. He feels
that if he wants to make his life a little easier he can go to his boss and ask
him to move him from working in New England to New York. As Willy leaves his
house for Howard’s (Willy’s boss) office he says to his wife Linda “I’m
gonna knock Howard for look, kid Ill get an advance and Ill come home with a New
England job” (74). Willy Loman feels that he is in charge of his life. He
thinks that since he worked for a sales company for a long time he can get what
he wants. In fact, Willy Loman has no control over whether he will get the job
in New York. When Willy goes to Howard Willy felt very confident that he will
come back with the job after all he has worked with this company for a long
time. As Willy had started talking to Howard the unexpected is said by his boss
“I appreciat that Willy but there just is not a sport for you. If I had a
sport for you would slam you in” (122). Not only didn’t Willy get the New
York job but he had lost his old job to. As this is said one of the critics
remarks to this event by saying “The coldness of his former boss’ son –
the bills, the car, the tinkering around the house. And most of it all: the
illusions by which he has lived – opportunities missed, wrong formulas for
success, fatal misconceptions about his place in the scheme of things”
(Atkinson 23). Willy sometimes lives in flashbacks of his life he sees the right
path to a better life, he sees the changes he is going to do or are going to
happen but when he goes back to the present he doesn’t see the changes happen.
An example is the flashback of when Willy’s brother comes to visit. Ben is a
self-made rich man and he offers willy a chance of a lifetime to work in Alaska.
Willy decides not to as he says “ We’ll do it here, Ben you hear me? Were
going to do it here!” The reason that Willy decided not to go with Ben was
because he felt he was “building something with the firm” (85). As Willy
goes to the present he realizes that that business has failed him and he really
was not building anything. Another flashback seen that Willy goes back to is
when Bernard comes over to Biff’s house and tells him that he forgot to come
over and study. When disappointed Bernard was leaving Willy had said “Bernard
can get the marks in school, y’understand, but your going to be 5 times ahead
of him in the business world” (33). What Willly meant by that was even though
Bernares was smarter then his sons, they were going to be ahead in the business
world. He was a firm believer in that its not what you know its who you know and
how well you are liked and Willy had thought that his son’s had the type of
look to be liked unlike Bernard. After all his sons were big and strong and they
had the look to impact the business world. As it turned out in the present that
both happy and Biff were not really ahead of Bernard. While Bernard had a
proffesional carrier working as a lawyer, Biff and Happy had no proffesion at
all. As said by a critic agreeing on this idea “Willy Loman has been a firm
believer in the American Myth that success is obtained by being well liked and
his two sons were have been raises on the philosophy. But Biff and happy has
turned into insouciant do nothing” (Champman 159). Willy had never expected
Bernard to be that successful and nor did he want to in a matter of speaking
“judge a book by its cover.”
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