Death of a Salesman: how Willy's false reality and lack of self knowledge leads to his downfall.

Essay by mahayaCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2003

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Self-Identity Of Willy Loman

Willy Loman, in Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman, is the typical hard-working American chasing a dream. He was a man who was "way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine" (1947) Yet he was a man who 'didn't know who he was'(1947). His lack of self-knowledge and inability to accept who he is results in his insanity and ultimate demise.

Throughout the play, Willy tries chasing "all the wrong dreams" (1947). Willy aspires to a man named David Singleman, a salesman who "died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers" (1894). Willy knows that David has become successful by being popular and this is what Willy does, except that the times have changed and 'business is business' (1915). This misguided ideology leads Willy to be a poor salesman who hardly makes enough money to support his family.

Willy can't see the reality of this as he is too stubborn to accept that his whole life has amounted to very little. His success has always eluded him because he doesn't realize who he is. Willy isn't a good salesman, but more of a man who's "wonderful with his hands" (1947) Willy should've worked with his hands because natural building skills. He completed many complex building jobs around the house such as "[finishing] the cellar, ... the new porch, ... the extra bathroom, and [putting] up the garage" (1947) He is described as being the happiest outdoors with "a batch of cement" or seeds for their small garden. Willy couldn't realize what made him happy and what he was best at, and opted instead to follow a hollow dream of becoming a great salesman. When his fake dreams of wealth and fame started to crumble, Willy started losing...