Self-Identity Of Willy Loman

Categories: Tragedy Willy Loman

Willy Loman, in Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman, is the typical hard-working American going after a dream. He was a man who was “escape there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine” (1947) Yet he was a guy who ‘didn’t understand who he was'( 1947 ). His absence of self-knowledge and failure to accept who he is leads to his madness and supreme demise.

Throughout the play, Willy attempts chasing “all the incorrect dreams” (1947 ). Willy strives to a male called David Singleman, a salesman who “died the death of a salesman, in his green velour slippers” (1894 ).

Willy knows that David has actually become effective by being popular and this is what Willy does, except that the times have altered and ‘company is company’ (1915 ). This misguided ideology leads Willy to be a bad salesman who hardly makes sufficient money to support his household. Willy can’t see the truth of this as he is too stubborn to accept that his whole life has actually totaled up to really little.

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His success has always avoided him since he does not realize who he is. Willy isn’t a great salesman, but more of a man who’s “terrific with his hands” (1947) Willy ought to’ve worked with his hands since natural structure skills.

He finished lots of intricate building tasks around your house such as” [finishing] the cellar, … the brand-new patio, … 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 little garden.

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Willy couldn’t understand what made him happy and what he was best at, and chose rather to follow a hollow dream of ending up being a terrific salesperson. When his phony imagine wealth and popularity began to fall apart, Willy started losing control of his life and his mind. This forced Willy to raise wealth for his family by unfortunately ending his life.

Death was also an escape for Willy from his place in the world as a typical working class man. He owns very little, and he makes very little, so he has no sense of accomplishment. Robbed of this, he develops the theory that if a person is well liked and has a great deal of personal charm, then all doors will automatically be opened for him. Willy built his life around these dreams. However, for Willy to live by his ideals in the modern capitalistic world necessitates accepting mediocrity or even failure. Unable to accept his place in the world as a ‘low man’, Willy deceives himself into a false reality. He lies about his exceptional importance to the company and his fame by saying “I’m vital in New England” (1879) In reality, Willy isn’t needed by the company because of his poor salesmanship, and is forced to lose his job. At times Willy even believes his own lies and becomes enthusiastic when he tells his family that he made more money than he actually did.

The grandeur of Willy’s aspirations for himself and his sons disillusioned him into not accepting his commonness. Biff realizes this truth and tries to make his father realize that “I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you!’ (1944) Unable to believe this, Willy retorts “I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman” (1944) The name Loman implies nothing in the modern business world in which Willy lives in and he is unable to realize that he is just a typical hard working man. This blindness to the truth doesn’t allow Willy to see that his dreams are unreachable. The pursuit of the unattainable leaves Willy constantly unsatisfied with his life and drives him to madness. “With his self-identity weakened and undermined, Willy lost his grasp of things in general.” Unable accept reality, Willy kills himself.

Willy Loman is, for Miller, the antithesis of the classic tragic hero. As his name implies, he is a `low man’, an everyday man, whose dreams and expectations have been shattered by the capitalistic values of the society that he failed to see. Unlike the heroes of classical tragedy, he is not a man of stature or noble purpose but he commands our respect and pity because he pursues his dream with a passionate intensity that makes him unique and gives him a heroic quality. While Willy is flawed in many ways, his tragic flaw, or hamartia, is not knowing himself. His inability to see and accept who he is leads to his final act. His suicide, an act in defiance of the system which until now had defeated him, is a tragic attempt to salvage in death the dream he couldn’t attain while living.

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Self-Identity Of Willy Loman. (2016, Jun 21). Retrieved from

Self-Identity Of Willy Loman

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