The Destruction of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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The Destruction of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Willy Loman is a travelling salesman who has worked for the Wagner firm for 34 years. He is now 61 years old and his job has been taken off salary and put on commission. He has a family and he boasts to them that he is "vital in New England," but in fact he isn’t vital anywhere. Willy has many strong beliefs that he strives to achieve.

He wants to own his own business and he wants to be "bigger than Uncle Charley" and especially he wants to be a great success and he tries to emulate Dave Singleman. He wishes to die the "Death of a Salesman" and have many buyers and salesmen mourn for him. He also tries to be a good father, and husband.

However Willy’s aims in life have been useless as he hasn’t really achieved anything. He got fired by Howard, his sons are both failures and they abandoned him in a restaurant toilet. His relationship with his wife is plagued by his guilt for committing adultery. He has to borrow $50 a week from Charley. He can’t even keep his mind on one thing for a long time. He can’t drive a car. Willy gets so fed up with all of these things that he want’s to commit suicide and eventually, he does. This topic suggests that Willy’s deterioration occurs because the principals he believes in. To a large extent this is true.

After 34 years of Willy’s life, he loses his job. To a normal person under normal circumstances, being retrenched is a time when you feel useless. But for Willy, since everything else is going wrong at the same time, he feels like a useless old man. Willy thought that just because he named his boss, that he would have a secure future with the company but as Charley said "them things don’t mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can’t sell that." Even though Willy wasn’t even getting paid a salary, Howard didn’t want him to even represent the company in case Willy "cracked up" again.

Although Willy is mostly destroyed by his own ideals there are other things that destroy him as well, like Howard, Happy and Biff. Willy is emotionally destroyed when Howard fires him. Then, both of his sons disown and abandon him in Frank’s Chop House.
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