Pity In Death of a Salesman The play "Death of a Salesman"ÃÂ shows how the actions of a few select people can influence a person's character and their outcome in life. Charley, Howard and Linda all had their own roles in the degeneration of Willy's character. Through their pity for Willy, these characters actually may have caused larger problems in his life. Linda and Charley's pity only prolonged what was coming, while Howard's disregard for Willy made it occur earlier.
Charley perhaps is the reason that Willy didn't commit suicide even earlier then the time he did. When Willy said to Charley, "After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead then alive."ÃÂ Charley says to Willy, "Willy nobody's worth nothin' dead."ÃÂ You can sense a little worrying on Charley's part. Willy wasn't earning enough money to support Linda and himself, so he would always borrow money from Charley.
When Willy asks Charley for a loan to pay his insurance, Charley gives it to him knowing that it is more a gift then a loan because Willy will probably never be able to pay it back. Charley can see that Willy is down on his luck so he offers a job to him. He thinks that it would be better for Willy to earn his money rather then just having it handed to him. Willy refuses because he is stubborn and could never work as anything but a salesman. Charley is frustrated with Willy, but he really realizes that he is Willy's only friend especially after Willy told him that.
Howard and his actions towards Willy were a leading factor of Willy's suicide. Although Willy had suicidal thoughts for sometime before he was fired, he never went through with the suicide. It seems like Willy's being a salesman was what was keeping him from doing it. He may have had dreams of becoming as good a salesman as Dave Singleman one day. Howard didn't really have any pity for Willy. If he did, he would have offered him a low paying job on the floor. Howard is a man that likes to move at the fast pace of the business. His fascination with the tape recorder shows how he enjoys living a fast paced lifestyle. Willy was no longer getting the job done, and despite his past with Howard's father, Howard tossed him away no different then the way he would probably toss away the tape recorder when it isn't the latest and greatest device. Willy after hearing that he was just fired, was understandingly a wreck. Howard being afraid that his colleagues would see Willy like this, so he told him to take a few minutes to pull himself together. Howard simply doesn't care about anything except for his own well being and this adds to problems in Willy's Life.
Throughout the play, Linda offers Willy some much needed support. She is always making excuses for his failing to do anything right anymore. Linda is probably the biggest reason that Willy did not go through with committing suicide until the end of the play. She fed Willy with lies and accepted Willy's character flaws like his exaggerating, and his need to have the last word. When Willy returned home from his sales trip he exaggerated greatly on how much money he made. First he says that he made twelve hundred dollars gross, then after Linda calculates their cut of it he tells her that he only made about two hundred dollars gross. Linda then calculates the commission and its roughly seventy dollars. Willy comes to realize that it isn't enough and that he just isn't successful enough anymore. Linda tries to convince him otherwise, by saying "But you're doing wonderful dear, you're making seventy to a hundred dollars a week"ÃÂ. Although this kind of support makes Willy happy for a while, it does nothing to remedy the problems in his life. Linda knows of Willy's thoughts of suicide because she found the rubber tubing hidden in the cellar. She doesn't remove it or mention it to Willy because she doesn't want to insult him. Perhaps Linda is the most destructive person in Willy's life. She always comforts him when he's down by saying things will be alright, and never argues with him when he is clearly wrong on an issue.
From this play, we learn that constructive criticism could actually go a long way in a person's life. If you don't mention to a person their shortcomings, they will never know clearly what to improve upon. In this case, Willy knew what he was doing wrong he just didn't do much about it because he got mixed messages from the people around him and didn't know what to do. Willy's life was not so bad that he had to end it, but since there was a lack of support and guidance it seemed a wise decision to make.