Death Of Salesman And Willy Loman

Compared with other Characters Literary Journalists have spent lots of time
researching different characters in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and
have focused primarily on Willy Loman, since he is the most complex character in
the play. There have been many different theories about the relationship between
him and the other characters of the play. Certain Journalists have gone beyond
that point and have compared him with other characters. These comparisons allow
the reader to see Willy from a different perspective, which also allows the
reader to understand the position of Willy Loman. D. L. Hoeveler has explained

Willy's standpoint to the other characters in Death of a Salesman as

Psychomachia. From Milkman to Salesman: Glimpses of the Galut by Dan Vogel
compares Willy to Tevye, another fictional character, while John S. Shockley has
proved that Willy "shares a number of important traits with the most
successful American politician of the late twentieth century, Ronald

Reagan" (quote). All of these authors have tried to show and explain Willy

Loman in a different perspective by comparing him to other characters. If one
wants to understand a character in any sort of literature it is necessary to
look at the other people who he/she has contact with. Hoeveler has analyzed

Willy by looking at the other characters and has shown how they are affected by
him during the play. According to Hoeveler, Willy "has forced his family to
play the parts that he has designed for them. They are all characters in a
dream, Willy's dream of reality" (634). All the characters in the play
represent a certain trait, just as in the play Everyman, written in the late

15th century. The reader is shown that the individual characters "represent
aspects of" Willy's "splintered mind" (632). Linda is a voice
that guides and acts as a security for Willy. His son Biff represents the
failure of Willy to achieve the American dream. Willy's other son, Happy, is a
personification of "Willy's belief in success at any price" (635).

Ben, Willy's brother, represents the dreams of financial success. Willy is
easier to understand if one knows what he is. He is a man that has enforced his
ideas unto his family and therefor has caused his personality to be divided
among the other characters to an extent. The Requiem at the end of the play
shows how all the characters are seemingly freed of Willy, "but each of the
characters continues to embody the values that Willy demanded of them"
(635). They are actually not free at all because they have become Willy. He is
best explained when the deeds he has done to others is analyzed. This was what
has been done first in order to get a better insight on how Willy thinks and
acts towards the characters around him. One of the famous characters that

Miller's Willy Loman has been compared to is Sholom Aleichem's creation, Tevye
the milkman. This is a very rational comparison, which is discussed in Dan

Vogel's article From Milkman to Salesman: Glimpses of the Galut, because it is
easier to understand a character if another person is in almost the same
situation. Willy Loman and Tevye are both heroes that have to deal with
"life's debilitating existentialist ironies and insults" (174). The
way they deal with their problems is not by brute force on a battle field. The
difference is that Tevye is defeated with dignity whereas Willy chooses
destruction. There is an obvious difference between the strength of characters.

Both are salesman that have to deal with the bursting of their dreams. Tevye's
daughters all end up doing something he does not approve. One commits suicide
because of love, the eldest marries a tailor that dies young and the third one
falls in love with an exiled Marxist. Tevye invests money in the stocks and ends
up losing all his money. Willy, who is used to a wonderful life is confronted
with apartment buildings all over the place, a car that can be thrown away, a
son that has run away and a loss of his job. The real important differences and
similarities between these two characters are noticeable when the reader looks
at the way they both deal with these problems. Both have a major problem with
self esteem. They are constantly in search of themselves. Tevye and Willy boast
about themselves and then realize that they are no better then anyone else. This
bothers them a lot. "Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a
person" (56) as Willy because "he's