Death Of A Salesman - Minor Characters Essay

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In the play Death of a Salesman, the plot is affected by three minor characters: Ben, Charley and Howard. The minor characters help the story's protagonist, Willy, develop extensively throughout the course of the play; therefore, they are key elements in the advancing story line. This story line blends and contrasts Willy's closest companions, Ben and Charley. They represent two aspects of Willy's ideals. Howard, Willy's boss, functions in order to heighten the destruction of Willy's dream. The characters Ben, Charley and Howard are influential in the play's outcome and help develop the main character, Willy.

Ben is a figment of Willy's imagination who represents his idealistic view of prosperity. Ben is symbolic of the success of the
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The failure of Willy's ideals are again represented with his envious attitude towards Charley. "You been jealous of me all your life, you damned fool!"(98). Charley is successful due to hard work and this has angered Willy because it is contrary to his beliefs. The failure of Willy Loman's ideals are apparent because of the success of his closest friend, Charley.

Howard's character functions in order to represent the bitter reality from which the protagonists tries to escape. The reality of the situation is presented before Willy when he is fired by Howard. "No, but it's a business, kid, and everybody's gotta pull his own weight"(80). Howard explains to Willy that, contrary to his beliefs, the business world is a harsh environment void of compassion and preference. Howard increases the mood of the play when he reveals the desperation of Willy's situation. "Sure, they're only a hundred and a half. You can't do without it"(78). Howard is very capable of purchasing the machine of which he speaks; however, Willy is far from being able to accomplish such a purchase. The impression of Willy's failure is heightened through his dealings with Howard.

Through the actions of the minor characters in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman's character develops throughout the play. These minor characters, Ben,
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