Willy Loman didn't die the "death of a salesman" that his idol Dave Singleman did. There weren't hundreds of people from all over the country at his funeral when he died. He didn't die wealthy or successful or with many friends. Instead he died a slow, tragic death that started very early in his career. His suicide was a combination of events throughout his life including deceit, failure, loneliness, and broken dreams.
Willy's life was one big lie. The first lie of Willy's was the one he lived. From the beginning, it was evident that Willy should have been working with his hands instead of traveling the country as a salesman. He also lived the life of a cheating husband. After he was discovered by Biff, he still tried to lie his way out of trouble. He lied about how good his kids were, how good he did in business, and even trying to commit suicide.
Willy was a pathological liar and this was the first reason for his down fall.
Willy also was a failure. He dreamed to big and believed he was better than he was, causing depression and insanity later in life. He was never a great salesman like he told everyone he was. The success he did have ran out in his later years. He was even fired because of this failure in business. After he cheated on Linda, he realized his marriage was also a failure. He went into a guilt trip after Biff caught him with another woman. Finally, both of his kids were failures. He didn't want to admit this and always told himself they were going to succeed one day. He finally realized it was his fault for his kids being the way they are, which made the depression even more severe.
Weber 2 Willy was a lonely man, with only a few friends at his funeral. Willy's mistress is good evidence that Willy wanted people to like him and care for him. After Biff caught him, Biff could never talk to his dad like he used to. This hurt Willy because he cared for Biff so greatly. After Biff left, Willy was stuck with a wife he couldn't look in the eyes because the feeling of guilt was so strong and a son he didn't care that much about. Willy always seemed to put down other people to make himself look bigger and feel better. One example of this is when he tore Charley down for not being able to use his hands. Willy didn't have any friends because of this. He was never well liked, even though he thought he was. He also missed his brother Ben and dad greatly. Once his insanity set in, Willy was even harder to get along with, and his condition worsened.
Finally, Willy's life was a broken dream consisting of many things. The biggest dream that was broken was the one of success as a businessman. He wanted to be forty-eight and be able to drive into any city and pick up the phone and sell things. He wanted to be well liked, rich, and important. All of these dreams were broken. His dream of Biff going to play college ball was broken due to Willy's cheating on Linda. Even the dream of Biff and Happy entering the business world together was broken. None of Willy's dreams ever came true and this wore on his soul.
When Willy died, he was worth more dead that he was alive. His life was a series of broken relationships, lies, failures, and shattered dreams. The title of the book refers to this slow, painful, and depressing life and death that Willy Loman experienced. He lived the "death of a salesman," just not the one he dreamed of.