Alienation of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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Willy's Loneliness and Alienation in Death of a Salesman

Willy Loman’s feelings of alienation and loneliness are direct psychological results of his interaction with society and the conditions that are found within it. Although, he does not necessarily have the ability or allow himself to have the ability to define his feelings as such, they are still very much a part of his everyday existence. This is evident in his constant bragging and attempted compensation. He does not feel that he is truly a part of society. Indeed, he is not. Miller himself seems to be saying that this is not necessarily a bad thing; this society is not that wonderful. Yet Willy still yearns to be like his brother, Ben, and the other men he sees making
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Even the things he dreams of having for himself and for his family are shallow. He will never find relief from his search because even if he reaches his goals of modest financial success he would still be left wanting.

Willy’s life teeters between these petty concrete objects and his grandiose verbal projections. In past, present, and fantasy, Willy expresses himself through clichés and repetitions in a formulaic chant. However, he achieves neither popularity nor success as a salesman, and he fails as a gardener, mechanic, husband, father. (Martin 67)

He cannot even achieve small goals. He has no real feeling of self-worth, and this lack of self-confidence is reinforced by society and Biff’s discovery of Willy’s infidelity.

In speaking about his plays, Miller explained, “It is necessary, if one is to reflect reality, not only to depict why a man does what he does, or why he nearly didn’t do it, but why he cannot simply walk away and say to hell with it” (Eight ix). In the case of Death of a Salesman, it is Willy’s desperate hope of success that keeps him from committing suicide for so long. Eventually, however, he gives in to his feelings of depression and ends his life. It is the only viable solution he sees at this point. In another writing, Miller said, “My impulse is
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