The Friend: A Look at Bernard from Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

The Friend: A Look at Bernard from Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

Length: 616 words (1.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, there are many characters that act in both the past and present through the musings of Willy Loman, one of the main characters in the play. Because of this, the audience gains different perspectives on every character. This also illustrates brilliantly how all the characters influence each other’s stories. One of such characters emerges in the part of Bernard. Though this is a notably minor role, Bernard has, or potentially has, an important influence on Willy’s son Biff. In fact, it is almost the same role Bernard’s father, Charley, has on Willy. A common role exists in the real world as well as in plays and movies. It is the part of the friend, almost unnoticeable, who devotes a portion of his life for the sake of the leading man.
Bernard’s appearances come solely from the materialized imaginings of Willy. As Bernard is merely a supporting character, the audience holds the opportunity to read into and between the known parts of his story. The first time he emerges, he is a teenager hanging out with Willy’s sons, Biff and Happy. Young Bernard is somewhat of a nerd. He studies hard and is quite smart, yet, according to Biff, he is “liked, but not well liked” (Miller). One can assume that Bernard is also not as well-known as Biff. Young Bernard is “Biff’s friend” and “Charley’s son”, but has not yet come to be his own person. Biff, the football star in high school, outshines his friend quite effortlessly. Nevertheless, he seems to be the only one gaining anything from the relationship.
In Willy’s present, the audience gains the understanding that Bernard has become a success as an adult, unlike Biff. Bernard is a university graduate, a lawyer, and is in the midst of prep...


... middle of paper ...


...ity. It is not always easy to go against the friends and supposed authorities in one’s life. When the circumstance involves one’s morality, though, it is more important to stand for that which one has faith is the honest thing to do. If Bernard were to have given in, it is likely they both would have been caught at a state exam. In that case, Biff might not have been the only one to miss graduation that year and the future Supreme Court case would not have had the same outcome. Lives are not always affected by which people are in them, but rather by who is no longer in them. In Bernard’s example, letting his acquaintance with Biff fall away was good for him in the end.



Works Cited

Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. By X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Boston: Pearson, 2013. N. pag. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Arthur Miller's Death of Saleman

- Arthur Miller's Death of Saleman On February 10, 1949, at the Morosco Theatre in New York, Death of a Salesman opened. It was immediately acclaimed as a perfect blend of script, setting, staging, and acting. The New Yorker called the play a mixture of "compassion, imagination, and hard technical competence not often found in our theater." Death of a Salesman swept the award field in 1949, winning the Drama Critics' Circle award, the Tony, Theatre Club, and Front Page awards, as well as the much-coveted Pulitzer Prize....   [tags: Arthur Miller's Death of Saleman]

Free Essays
3354 words (9.6 pages)

Plot Overview of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Essay

- Plot Overview of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller As a flute melody plays, Willy Loman returns to his home in Brooklyn one night, exhausted from a failed sales trip. His wife, Linda, tries to persuade him to ask his boss, Howard Wagner, to let him work in New York so that he won't have to travel. Willy says that he will talk to Howard the next day. Willy complains that Biff, his older son who has come back home to visit, has yet to make something of himself. Linda scolds Willy for being so critical, and Willy goes to the kitchen for a snack....   [tags: Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller Essays]

Free Essays
4956 words (14.2 pages)

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

- The Character of Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Willy Loman, the main character in Death of a Salesman is a complex tragic character.  He is a man struggling to hold onto the little dignity he has left in a changing society.  While society may have caused some of his misfortune, Willy must be held responsible for his poor judgment, disloyalty and foolish pride. Willy Loman is a firm believer in the "American Dream:" the notion that any man can rise from humble beginnings to greatness.  His particular slant on this ideal is that a man succeeds by selling his charisma, that to be well liked is the most important asset a man can have.  He made a living at this for 30 years...   [tags: Death Salesman essays Arthur Miller]

Better Essays
1127 words (3.2 pages)

Death of a contradictory salesman in the ambiguous birthday party Essay

- Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is a realist play which criticizes modern society; Harold Pinter’s The Birthday Party is an absurdist play that examines human existence and language through deformed realism. There is apparently nothing common between the two plays; however, there is a similarity: contradiction and ambiguity are shown in the language of both plays. As I look into this issue, differences in the features and purposes of contradiction and ambiguity are found. By contradiction and ambiguity, I mean that many details in the plays are contradicting according to different conversations in different scenes....   [tags: Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, play]

Better Essays
1013 words (2.9 pages)

Theme of Success in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Essay example

- Theme of Success in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman One of the important themes in Death of a Salesman is the nature of success. Many people believe that success is about making a lot of money. They say that with money comes happiness. However this may not always be true. In other words success is defined as the accomplishment of something that was desired. Furthermore it is about being happy, proud and secure about yourself. Although true success originates from the heart, achieving it requires hard work and determination.  In Death of a Salesman, the characters that are successful are Dave Singleman, Ben and Bernard....   [tags: Death of a Salesman]

Free Essays
752 words (2.1 pages)

Essay about Popularity and Superficiality in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

- Popularity and Superficiality in Death of a Salesman    In Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman, Willy Lowman possesses the trait of superficiality. Willy’s priorities are to look good and be liked, and this contributes to his misguided path to reach success. This attribute is one of many societal criticisms pointed out by Miller. Arthur Miller criticizes society for perceiving success as being liked and having good looks. He illustrates society’s perception through Willy, who thinks the keys to success are being popular and attractive....   [tags: Death Salesman essays]

Better Essays
656 words (1.9 pages)

Essay on Portrayal of Women in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

- Portrayal of Women in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Although Death of a Salesman is mainly about a salesman named Willy Loman, the almost hidden presence of the women in the novel goes all too often unnoticed.  Linda Loman seems to be the glue that holds the Loman clan together, as Willy, Biff, and Happy are all deluded in one way or another.  Arthur Miller depicts Willy's wife in a very specific way, and this is a very crucial part of the story.  He depicts the other women in the story in ways that complement Linda's distinct nature.  Although Linda's role as a woman in society is extremely limited, she is a heroic character, both wife and mother to some very sad and twisted charact...   [tags: Death Salesman essays]

Better Essays
1666 words (4.8 pages)

Role of Women in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Essays

- Role of Women in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman    Death of a Salesman is of course about a salesman, but it is also about the American dream of success. Somewhere in between the narrowest topic, the death of a salesman, and the largest topic, the examination of American values, is Miller's picture of the American family. This paper will chiefly study one member of the family, Willy's wife, Linda Loman, but before examining Miller's depiction of her, it will look at Miller's depiction of other women in the play in order to make clear Linda's distinctive traits....   [tags: Death Salesman Essays Miller Papers]

Better Essays
1672 words (4.8 pages)

Father-son Relationships and Conflicts in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

- Father-son Relationships and Conflicts in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman In many literary works, family relationships are the key to the plot. Through a family’s interaction with one another, the reader is able decipher the conflicts of the story. Within a literary family, various characters play different roles in each other’s lives. These are usually people that are emotionally and physically connected in one way or another. They can be brother and sister, mother and daughter, or in this case, father and son....   [tags: Death Salesman essays]

Free Essays
1202 words (3.4 pages)

Essay about Willy Loman's Distorted Values in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

- Willy Loman's Distorted Values in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman     Willy Loman, the central character in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, is a man whose fall from the top of the capitalistic totem pole results in a resounding crash, both literally and metaphorically. As a man immersed in the memories of the past and controlled by his fears of the future, Willy Loman views himself as a victim of bad luck, bearing little blame for his interminable pitfalls. However, it was not an ill-fated destiny that drove Willy to devastate his own life as well as the lives of those he loved; it was his distorted set of values....   [tags: Death Salesman essays]

Better Essays
944 words (2.7 pages)