Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 5 | Words: 1362
Reading Time: 6 Minutes

“Death of a salesman” is a drama based on the life of Willy who is a salesman written by Arthur Miller. Willy experiences hardships and difficulties both at work and in the family. After working for a long time as a salesman at far away from his home, he feels that he has failed to succeed though he does not admit it openly as his failure. He tries to pass over the blame of his failures to others among them his boss, Howard Wagner, and his elder son, Biff. All through Willy is full of complaints, hopelessness and little strength to his success. He even compares himself with his brother, Ben, who he now envies for having been successful and even goes to an extent of daydreaming with him.

Willy believes that his brother’s travel to Alaska has made him grow in business while stacking in his sales profession has been a course to his problems. He also considers himself as useless to a point of stating that he complains of people disliking him as well as underperforming in his job. Willy blames his son Biff for failing to get a business for himself, who in turn has turned to being insensitive to his dad. They are locked up in a heated debate almost any other time they come together.

After much work in his profession, Willy feels that he has not achieved as much as he would have wanted in life. He seems to have greatly suffered some setbacks that are making his life more complex for him. It is from such obstructions that he is now suffering from. First, the writer of the play gives an avenue to explore importance of confidence as well as having self strength or missing both of them would affect life. For instance, in the play Willy suffers from loss of confidence with himself as well as strength both in his work and at home. At one point in a conversation with Linda his wife, he complains that he is hated at his job place and more so he is not fit for the job. In the scene, he is clearly seen as having totally lost confidence in himself that he even thinks he can’t perform diligently in a profession that he has worked in for almost all of his career life. As a result he blames himself for what he is currently going through including paying for bills as well as the car’s expenses.

Again, he is also encompassed by loss of strength. He is not energetic enough to face the challenges that are affecting him head on. The difficulties in his life seem to be weakening him further that he even goes to an extent of even attempting a suicide. For such suicidal thoughts to have closed his mind must have been prove that he was not strong enough to cope with the challenges in life. Furthermore Willy demonstrates his weakness by blaming his boss who he thinks does not rely like him well. Had he been strong enough, he would look for ways to solve his problems as his wife, Linda, was trying to do by pushing Willy’s boss to have him transferred to New York.

Secondly, the play brings forward an aspect of individual feeling of being useless both at work place as well as at home.. This has been well depicted by the writer, who has brought forward scenes that shows Willy’s feeling of being useless. As he writes, Willy constantly complains that he would have achieved if he had done something else other than being a salesman. He believes working as a salesman made him a failure as compared to his brother, Ben, who had gone to Alaska and later acquired a mine in Africa and became rich.

Willy daydreams with Ben and talks to him about his interest to go live in Alaska. All this time Willy seems to have started mistaking Charley, his neighbour, for Ben. He has his mind so deeply involved in how he missed the chance to have joined his brother while he was going to Alaska. Willy believes that if he had taken time to plan for what he wanted earlier, he would have been in a position to provide for his family with few or no difficulties.

Thirdly, the author brings up the issue of self pride, which is depicted in the play as a broken pride. Though being proud can be problematic to one relation with others, it can be noted that a certain amount of pride can work to benefit a person. In the play, Willy seems to suffer from pride loss or having his pride broken down. At one point he seems to exaggerate his pride when he claims that though Biff, his son, is not a good performer as his neighbours son, Bernard, Biff can still do better in life as people likes him as compared to Bernard. By this, Willy demonstrates his pride of the son that he dismisses Bernard even though he knew that Bernard was good in school.

However, Willy still suffers from a broken pride towards himself. He is actually not proud of his achievements or what he is doping. He regards himself as a total failure and even attempts to take his life at some point. Again, he pushes his son to take loan and starts a business, which he believes that Biff should actually make the business he invest in succeed. From this, it is clear that he did not intend to have a loan for himself as he felt he could not perform as his son would have done, thus demonstrating how his own self-pride had diminished.

Finally, from the play, the relationship between parents and their teenager children is brought up. The author attempts to make the audience understand how teenagers fail to understand their parents. For example, Biff, who is Willy’s elder son get to argue with his dad at any point of their meeting. In fact, Biff refers to his dad as a fake, something that does not go down well with the rest of the family members, his younger brother Happy and mother Linda.

While at that point Happy seems to side with the father that Biff is a failure in the world of business, Linda on her part accuses Biff of being too harsh with his father. She evens goes further to explain that at one time, Willy contemplated and even attempted to take his life. Moreover, Linda calls her sons to remind them of the dinner with the father and urges Biff not to be too harsh with Willy. Happy too, reminds Biff to stay come during the meeting. With his actions, Biff seems to little sympathise with his father or even appreciates what he does for the family. It is this unsympathetic youth character that does not go down well with Willy too.


In conclusion, the play displays to the audience a life story revolving around one individual but carries more interest on general issues that affect individuals. There are some components that have emerged as important and will require attention which the play has definitely displayed. This component includes confidence, personal strength, sense of uselessness, unfriendliness from the young adults, and broken pride. Each of them is unique in the article and well outlined. From the play self confidence is to enlighten the audience on the essence of believing in themselves in what they wish to achieve. One must also bear enough strength to confront obstacles that come along the way in their life time. A feeling of uselessness needs to be avoided at all time.

More emphases and focus should be placed on the successful and more useful things that one has achieved while paying less attention to what makes you feel to be useless. Lastly, relationship between the older people and the youth has also been brought to the limelight. On both sides, appreciating one another is important. Again, the youth needs to understand their parents and sympathise with them where appropriate. This will give them a sense of hope that at last someone appreciates what they do. A friendlier atmosphere should always be seen to exist in a family set up.

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