The Character of Uncle Ben in Death of a Salesman Essay

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The Character of Uncle Ben in Death of a Salesman The character of Ben in Arthur Miller's Death of A Salesman serves a complex dramatic function. He is Willy Loman's real brother, the idealized memory of that brother, and an aspect of Willy's own personality, and these distinct functions are sometimes simultaneous. Through his aggressive actions and vibrant speech, the audience is given a strong contrast to Willy's self-doubt and self-contradiction. In addition, the encounters between Ben and Willy serve as an extended examination of professional and familial morality. Finally, Ben personifies the burden of Willy's expectations in regards to both material success and the proper role of a father. The most fundamental of Ben's…show more content…
But this affair has long been over when the events of the play occur. When Willy tells Linda, "I'm vital in New England" (14), he should be speaking in the past tense. In the present, he is sexually and professionally emasculated. In compensation, Willy exerts control by compulsively concluding personal encounters. Thus, in Act One, he sends Linda upstairs ahead of him. Faced with Ben's spectre, he drives Charley away by disrupting the card game. And much of his anger with Biff may result from Biff's refusal to allow Willy to dictate the pattern of their conversation. Typically, Biff defends his mother against Willy's anger, forcing him to walk away, "beaten down, guilt-ridden" (65). The pointlessness of Willy's attempts at control is revealed in Act Two, in which the recurring motif is abandonment. Howard leaves Willy behind twice in the course of their scene together, even though the scene occurs in Howard's office. One would expect Willy would be told to leave, but instead in both instances Howard tells him, "pull yourself together" (82, 84) and walks out. Willy even tries to leave at one point, and Howard stops him (83). The second episode with Ben occurs at this point, concluding with another abandonment. His next encounter is with Bernard, who although kind and patient with Willy, obviously has more important places to be and people to see, and leaves. Charley, who in their
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