Death Of A Salesman - Character Analysis

Essay by pauldud85High School, 11th gradeA+, December 2002

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What was the reason for Willy's demise? Willy Loman, the main character in "Death of a Salesman," had many principles and beliefs that counteracted the "normal" views of society. He taught his kids, Happy and Biff, that to be successful, you don't need to be smart and get good grades in school. Willy believed that the key to success includes a standout personality, good looks, and not being just "liked," but "well-liked" by people. The characters in the story play pivotal roles in the demise of Willy Loman.

Charley, Willy's next-door neighbor, is a successful man who owns his own business. In the play, Charley is portrayed as a grounded, practical person, who for the most part, tries to help Willy through his tough times. Willy takes everything that Charley does for him the wrong way. For example, on a few occasions, he offers Willy a job. Willy is to proud to accept the job, and even takes it as an insult when Charley is just trying to help him out.

Also, Charley tries to warn Willy about the consequences of Biff's habitual stealing, but Willy blows him off and tells his sons that Charley is a not a "well-liked" person. Willy later tells Charley that he is his only friend, contradicting the things he says about Charley. Charley represents and exemplifies the success that Willie could never achieve. Willy's extreme jealousy fuels his obsession with being successful and achieving "The American Dream". Willy's obsession for success never yields positive results in his life.

Bernard is Charley's son and is the same age as Biff Loman, Willy's older son. Bernard can be depicted as intelligent and industrious, but he does not have the same gregarious personality as the two Loman sons. Bernard shows concern for Biff's grades...