Character that appears briefly but has a significant presence: Ben Loman in Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman"

Essay by tstokes429A, May 2006

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Some characters in works of literature only appear briefly but have a tremendous impact on the literature. These characters's significant presence often influences the actions or development of the other characters in the literary work. In Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman", Ben Loman is the character that does just that. Ben is the brother of the main character Willy Loman. Though Ben has a brief part in this play, he affects the theme of the play and the development Willy Loman's character.

The central theme in "Death of a Salesman" is the quest to obtain the American Dream. Ben had a tremendous impact on this theme in the play. Ben went into the jungle when he was 17 and came out of it rich. Following the theme of the play, Ben was the epitome of success. The effect that Ben had on the development of other characters is shown through Willy Loman's character.

Ben lived the life he wanted and had the job he wanted. Even though Ben's involvement in the play was brief, his success showed what Willy so desperately craved for himself and his sons. Willy wanted to be successful like his brother. Through all the trips Ben made, he was quite a successful man. Through all the trips Willy made, all he had going on for himself was an affair. Ben was rich and happy, while Willy on the other had been poor and miserable.

When Willy was delusional, Ben's character would appear. Willy always seemed to be happy when he talked to Ben, even though he was really talking to himself. Ben would offer advice to Willy when Willy thought about him. After the restaurant incident, in which Biff and Happy abandon Willy at the steakhouse, Willy was once again "visited" by...