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Character analysis - Essay Example

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It changes the definitions of the genre of tragedy and seeks to give the life of an ordinary salesman great importance. The protagonist of this play is Willy Loman. This…
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Character analysis
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Download file to see previous pages He wishes to do so through his son, Biff who had shown great promise in his early life. Willy’s ambition finds an outlet through his son, whom he hopes would become something more than just what he was, a salesman. This desire of his, however, stifles his son and he is not able to rise to his potential. He however, is able to see that he is like his father and this gives the reader an insight into the character of Willy.
I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash can like all the rest of them! I’m one dollar an hour, Willy I tried seven states and couldn’t raise it. A buck an hour! (Miller, 98).
This outburst of Biff enables one to understand the reason behind the play’s importance. The play talks about the character of a common citizen who is unable to accept his own circumstances in life. The life of the very ordinary Willy is deemed fit to be shown on stage and this, in a sense, satirizes the notion of the ‘Great American Dream’.
The ordinariness of Willy can also be a negative aspect as it makes him prone to what may be perceived as mistakes. His rendezvous with a young woman in a hotel is an example of this. This provokes the decline of his son, Biff, who no longer finds his father to be a role model for himself and loses direction in his life. This can be said to be similar to the life of Willy, who had to live his life without his father. The question of whether this affected his life is one that the playwright leaves unanswered. The character of Willy thus also symbolises the breakdown of the family as a social unit in the United States of America. The history of his family over three generations is able to exemplify this. The ordinariness of the character is something that Miller introduces so as to burst the bubble of American greatness that had emerged after the Second World War.
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