Willy Loman Birth Of A Hero Analysis

Powerful Essays
“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” - “Sirius Black” in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J. K. Rowling
Death of a Salesman, Birth of a Hero
Arther Miller, the famous writer of the play Death of a Salesman, wrote an intriguing essay that was published in the New York Times in 1949 titled Tragedy and the Common Man. In the essay, Miller explicates that in modern day America people and society seem to think that the tragic mode, namely the mode that is most commonly associated with some of the greatest playwrights, like Shakespeare and Miller himself, has become archaic, viewed as something “Fit only for the very highly placed, the kings or the kingly….” (Miller 143). Miller
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They see the injustices that are working contrary them and they fight against them tirelessly to “gain their ‘rightful’ place in society” (Miller 144). This idea of the tragic mode manifests itself most clearly, in Miller’s play Death of a Salesman, within the characters Willy Loman and his son Biff. Throughout the play both of these characters are forced to question what they believe to be true and “unchangeable.” Willy is shown to be a pathological liar who has never been able to accept the truth about himself, his family, his brother and his father, no matter how clear his friends and family presented it to him. Furthermore, Willy continually has visions from the past that permeate into real life. Most prevalently he gets "visits” from his brother Ben who, in stark contrast to his brother Willy, was hugely successful in the business world. On the other hand, you have Willy’s son Biff, a nobody who became that way because of his father. He has spent multiple years moving from jail to jail, lying to his parents, claiming instead that he was working on ranches down south in order to “find himself." However, by the end of the play, Biff becomes the only one in all of his family to accept the truth, while Willy, still not seeing the truth, kills himself for a life insurance claim. Willy wants to become successful like his brother and for his sons to conform to what they “should be”,…show more content…
Willy looks at his father and brother Ben as if they are pillars of heroism, when in fact they are the complete opposite of that. Willy is looking for a hero that can tell him the steps to achieving greatness and lead him to become a hero to his family. He gains the misconception that by becoming a salesman like his father and brother he will gain the title of Hero. As William Hawkins, a drama critic that wrote for The New York World Telegram and Sun, puts it in his reviews of the play titled, Death of a Salesman Powerful Tragedy. “This original deception dooms him to a life of touring and a hobby of prideful rationalization, until at the age of sixty he is so far along his tangent that his efforts not to admit resultant mediocrity are fatal.” (Hawkins 202). Hawkins eloquently describes Willy’s attitude throughout the play. He states that Willy, in searching for success, looses sight of the truth because of his “prideful rationalization.” However, Willy does know the truth about himself, his father and his brother, but he does not want to believe it. Willy continues to voluntarily stay blinded so he can blissfuly imagine a “perfect” life when, in fact, it never was anything close to perfect. So, instead of believing, or even considering, the truth he continues down the path that he started on years ago. Which leads him to the only
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