Willy Loman

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade April 2001

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"How Low is the Loman?"� In literature, we see authors use many different devices in their writing. Writers often use things such as personification or hidden meanings to add a little something extra to their work. When we look at the main character of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, we see much of the same. The hidden meaning in Willy's name comes his surname, Loman, which is often taken to mean "low-man"�. Reading Death of a Salesman and its many critiques, we cannot help but notice the overwhelming theme of commonness and even lowliness. In this paper I intend to use his treatment of his wife, kids, friends and what we know about his own thought life to prove Willy Loman's true commonness and periodic lowliness.

First, lets look at Willy himself. Willy is without a doubt one of the most perplexing characters you will ever study.

Huftel states in his review of the story that, "Death of a Salesman is governed by a need to know and understand Willy Loman."� The statement could not be truer, but it is also something that we respond to with, "Easy for you to say."� We find in the story a salesman who has run his race, but for the most part is unwilling to finish the course and has trouble grasping reality. " The first instance we see of this comes in the very beginning in where Willy has a flashback from his son, Biff's, childhood in which he actually talks to the young Biff. Although the author does use flashbacks such as these to clear up parts of the story we otherwise would not have understood, it remains clear that these flashbacks are also symbolic of his unwillingness to let go of the past. In...