Willy's Struggle for Identity in "Death of a Salesman" Essay

1493 Words 6 Pages
Throughout his life, Willy Loman thinks of himself as well-liked in the play "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller. It is the most important attribute to him. Willy lived his life thinking he had thousands of friends all over the New England territory and that he would be recognized anywhere he would go. He boasts this to his sons and they think he is the greatest man on Earth. He raises his two sons, Biff and Happy, to be well-liked and Willy does not care about their grades. He believes they will be better prepared for the business world if they are well-liked, and does not think education matters as much as personality, appearance, and physical skill. Although he has set high standards for sons, his morals are being well-liked, he …show more content…
Unfortunately, he goes to his grave without knowing that, maybe he was not fit to be a salesman. After Willy's death, Charley says about Willy, "A salesman is got to dream" (Brown, 306), but one must wonder, did Willy Loman dream the wrong dream (Brown, 306)? Although Willy realizes in his visions that he was not the greatest salesman, he does not realize why Biff is not successful with his "expert advice."

Toward the end of the story, Willy realizes that his life is falling apart: Biff does not have a stable job or family, is making only commissions for his job, his refrigerator and car are in despair, and he talks to himself. Willy just cannot figure out what has gone wrong, especially with Biff who to him seemed so promising because of his good looks and his charm with others. When Biff comes home again, Willy gets real nervous and starts talking to himself (Act I. Scene I). He is stressed out that Biff has done nothing with his life so he starts seeing visions of the past. When Willy talks out loud while seeing visions, he is trying to discover where he went wrong as a person and father. To find where he went wrong he begins to ask anyone in visions or in person. One character that he frequently asks for advice throughout the drama is his older brother Biff (Gross, 319-321).

One of the first times Willy looks for his past mistakes in his memories is when he is looking around the kitchen for cheese after he almost got into a car accident and after…