Of Salesman By Miller
"Willy as a hero or a villain?" A large controversy that revolves
around the play "Death of a Salesman" is whether or not Willy Loman
was actually a hero or a villain in the story. It certainly cannot be said that
he is really one or the other because of the evidence that is given throughout.

At some times he seems the pitiful victim of other people's actions but at
others he seems to have only himself to blame. Most don't know whether to feel
sorry for him or to hate him. Although there seems to be evidence to support
both ideas, there seems to be more pointing in the direction of the latter.

Willy's first fault concentrates around the affair that he had. Maybe when it
first started he had only intended it to be a business relationship, but it
didn't end up that way. Somewhere along the line he let it go further and then
didn't break it off. Many things came of that one affair, that only he caused.

First, is the fact that his son, Biff, caught him doing it, and was basically
scarred for life from it. It was Willy's fault that Biff didn't attend summer
school and, as a result, didn't graduate from high school. Second, is the fact
that he was cheating on his wife, therefore being dishonest with her. Along with
that, was how he treated her all the time at home, almost like she was
incredibly inferior to him. Part of it had to do with the fact that he was
having an affair, which made him ashamed, the other part was sheer ignorance. He
felt that he couldn't face her because of what he was doing behind her back. The
affair that he created was a large part of why Willy could not possibly be
thought of as a hero. The second reason why Willy Loman cannot be considered a
hero was that he basically encouraged lying. He set the example by doing it
himself and also by coming right out and telling his boys that sometimes it was
okay to. Willy lied to his wife about the affair, never actually saying that he
wasn't having one, but never telling her that he was. He also lied to his whole
family about his business. He bragged constantly about all of the people he knew
and the contacts that he had made throughout the years, as a salesman. When
actually, he wasn't a great salesman and had no contacts anywhere. Willy's
habitual lying to his family was another one of his major faults. Any man who
lies to his family and cheats on his wife can certainly not be considered a
hero. Villain may be a strong word but, it fits Willy Loman much better that
hero. He seemed like he want to do right by his family but he never seemed to do
it, always falling short somehow, mostly through no one's fault but his own.

Essay #3 "flashbacks explain Willy's motivation" Arthur Miller seems
to emphasize the use of frequent flashbacks in "Death of a Salesman"
to explain what motivates Willy during his lifetime. Most of Willy's history was
revealed through the flashbacks that he had throughout the story. Without them,

Miller would have had to find another way to tell the readers about Willy's
history. Many of them tell the reader why his sons were the way they were and
why he treated them the way he did. They also showed the reasons why Willy was
as pathetic as he was. One of the main reasons Miller includes so many
flashbacks in the story is to help the reader understand Willy's feelings
towards his sons. The very first flashback is of Willy talking to Biff and Happy
during Biff's senior year. Biff is telling him about the touchdown that he's
going to score for his father and how proud he's going to be of him. The reader
also sees Happy trying to tell his father about how he's losing some weight, but

Willy doesn't pay any attention to him, showing the beginning of Happy's slight
resentment because of Willy's favoritism towards Biff. During that same
flashback, the reader also sees Willy telling his sons about the people he knows
and how they should try to make a lot of contacts also. This is the first time
it is evident to the reader that he says these things, but it probably wasn't
the first time he actually said it. Just in that first flashback, Miller gives a