Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (cited)

Essay by Pokey021High School, 12th gradeA, November 2004

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Willy and Nora: Tragic Heroes or Home-wreckers? No one has a perfect life. Despite what Aaron Spelling and his friends in the media might project to society today, no one's life is perfect. Everyone has conflicts that they must face sooner or later. The ways in which people deal with these conflicts can be just as varied as the people themselves. Some procrastinate and ignore their problems as long as they can, while others attack problems to get them out of the way as soon as possible. The Lowman and Helmer families have a number of problems that they deal with in different ways, which proves their similarities and differences. Both Willy Loman, the protagonist of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Nora Helmer, protagonist of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House experience an epiphany where they realize that they were not the person the thought they were: while Willy's catharsis brings about his death, Nora's brings her to a new life; hers.

Both character's flaws bring about their departure from their respective families as well. They are both overly concerned with the appearances they and their families present to society: as a result they both project false images to others. From their appearance, both seem to be involved in stable marriages and appear to be going places. Willy's job as a traveling salesman seems stable (although we never know what it is he sells) when he tells his family that he "knocked 'em cold in Providence, slaughtered 'em in Boston" (Miller 1228). It is not until Willy's wife, Linda tells us that he "drives 700 miles and when he gets there, no one knows him any more, no one welcomes him" (Miller 1241). If that's not enough to convince readers of his failure on the job, the...