The Narcissistic Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman

The Narcissistic Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman

Length: 869 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Narcissistic Willy Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
 

Many dilemmas throughout the recent decades are repercussions of an individual's foibles. Arthur Miller represents this problem in society within the actions of Willy Loman in his modern play Death of a Salesman. In this controversial play, Willy is a despicable hero who imposes his false value system upon his family and himself because of his own rueful nature, which is akin to an everyman. This personality was described by Arthur Miller himself who "Believe[s] that the common man is as apt a subject for a tragedy in its highest sense as kings were" (Tragedy 1).

An additional segment of his common human nature is Willy's self-centeredness. Although one might say that the American Dream is imposed upon him by the society, Willy himself creates his dream. Willy supports this claim when he praises Dave Singleman's career to Howard: "And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want" (Miller 81). His nostalgia for a non-existing future is also proven by the fact that no one else in his environment has a similar, impossible dream: "If he were not wearing the rose colored glasses of the myth of the American Dream, he would see that Charley and his son are successful because of lifelong hard work and not because of the illusions of social popularity and physical appearances" (Spark 11). Surely the false ego and pride predicted to come from his assured success are the bridges that prevents Willy from seeing through his fake dream, pushing him to persuade the rest of his family to worship it along with him.

Biff sadly bites the apple when he realizes his fate:

Willy! I ran down eleven flights with a pen in my hand today. And suddenly I stopped, do you hear me? And in the middle of that building and I saw--the sky. I saw the things that I love in this world. The work and the food and the time to sit and smoke. And I looked at the pen and said to myself, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don't want to be?

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Narcissistic Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman." 123HelpMe.com. 25 Feb 2020
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=14641>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Great Gatsby And The Death Of A Salesman Essay

- American Success The toxicity of success is portrayed through famous literary works such as The Great Gatsby and The Death of a Salesman, while dealing with an overarching theme of American success. F. Scott Fitzgerald beautifully portrays a wealthy upper class society in The Great Gatsby, which has extreme corruption, hidden by it’s allure, while much of this upper class is pompous and selfish, as well as being so heavily judgemental that is it difficult to be accepted by these people. Arthur Miller’s The Death of a Salesman uses the narcissistic Willy Loman to shine light on the capitalist, middle class America, who’s life revolves around superficial success, which represents the overall...   [tags: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby]

Research Papers
1198 words (3.4 pages)

The Presentation of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

- The Presentation of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller Willy Loman is presented as both a tragic hero and an unconscious victim in "Death of a Salesman". "Death of a Salesman" is very much based upon the American Dream, and whether we are slaves or conquerors of this dream. This is an idea that the playwright Arthur Miller has very passionately pursued both through Willy's own eyes, and through his interaction with the different characters in the play. Firstly, the definitions of a hero and a victim very much influence the way that Willy is viewed by the audience....   [tags: Papers Willy Loman Death Salesman]

Research Papers
2041 words (5.8 pages)

Essay on Willy Loman's Lonely Character in Death of a Salesman

- Willy Loman's Lonely Character in Death of a Salesman Willy Loman died the death of a salesman. He did not, however, die the death of popular man. No one cared when he committed suicide. Willy should be looked upon with sympathy. Though he was a respectable man, no one noticed. He worked hard his entire life. He would drive many miles trying to support his wife and kids, and they still did not appreciate him. Loman is simply a disappointed, lonely, and misunderstood man. These qualities should make the reader feel sympathy for Mr....   [tags: Death Salesman essays Willy Loman ]

Research Papers
1377 words (3.9 pages)

Essay about Willy Loman's Vision of America in Death of a Salesman

- Willy Loman's Vision of America in Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller's 'The Death of a Salesman,' is about a man, Willy Loman, whose life is going downhill and coming to an end. Willy Loman was a good salesman because he cared and was honest and through his personality he sold his goods. Time has moved on, but Willy hasn't. The business world has moved ahead and the way of selling goods had changed, but Willy can't see this. Willy Loman has never come to terms with reality. His life is a dream and derives all his pleasures from the past and he always assures himself that all is well....   [tags: Willy Loman Arthur Miller Death of a Salesman]

Research Papers
1510 words (4.3 pages)

Death Of A Salesman By Willy Loman Essay

- Death of a Salesman is a classic tragedy depicting a salesman and his attempts in the American dream. The tragic aspect of the story is the pride that destroyed the opportunities that the salesman, Willy Loman had in achieving the American dream. However, because Willy did not grasp the opportunities and took his own path, he ended up as a failure as a salesman, husband, father and friend. Willy Loman is a relatable character because everyone has flaws and make that one mistake that they would regret till the day they die....   [tags: Death of a Salesman, Tragedy, Tragic hero]

Research Papers
847 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Willy Loman's Character

- Willy Loman's Character Betrayed or Betrayer. Discuss theses two aspects of Willy Loman’s character and comment on how they affect both Willy himself and the other characters’ relationships with him. Betrayed or Betrayer. Discuss theses two aspects of Willy Loman’s character and comment on how they affect both Willy himself and the other characters’ relationships with him. ‘Death of a Salesman’ is a play written by Arthur Miller and first produced on stage in 1949. This play is Miller’s most famous work....   [tags: Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Essays]

Research Papers
3030 words (8.7 pages)

Death Of A Salesman By Willy Loman Essay

- It is human nature for a person to desire to better understand themselves and to acquire a distinct identity. People look to what is simple and familiar when trying to gain a sense of individuality. These identifiers can be found in the jobs people perform, the relationships they share, and any other type of activity that takes place in their daily life. It is also in this search for understanding that can cause the relationships a person shares, such as with close family and friends, to be strained....   [tags: Death of a Salesman, Family, Marriage, Woman]

Research Papers
1987 words (5.7 pages)

Essay on Death Of A Salesman By Willy Loman

- Is it through the understanding of concepts and one’s place in life that drives people toward a successful life, or can they move through life with complete or partial misunderstandings, and still obtain success. This is explored within the play, Death of a Salesman. Willy Loman, who is an old salesman working off of commission, is not making enough money to provide the type of successful life he envisioned. His two grown kids are reminders of his failure to provide the support and characteristics a father should....   [tags: Suicide, Death, Family, James Truslow Adams]

Research Papers
822 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on The Fall Of Willy Loman

- The Fall of Willy Loman Willy Loman was a man who gradually destroyed himself with false hopes and beliefs. Throughout his entire life Willy believed that he would die a rich and successful man. It was inevitable for him to come crumbling down after years of disillusions. We can look at Willy’s life by examining some of his character traits that brought him down. Charley once said to Willy, “When the hell are you going to grow up?” Willy spent his entire life will this false illusions and comcepts, he thought that he would die a rich and famous man....   [tags: Willy Loman Essays]

Research Papers
834 words (2.4 pages)

Slaughterhouse Death Of A Salesman By Willy Loman Essay

- Willy Loman, in "Death of a Salesman" is constantly getting angry because Biff is not as successful as he thought he would be. Earlier in the play, it is told that Willy got into argument with Biff. Linda tells Willy that Biff is moody for the reason that he cannot find himself. Willy states "Not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace" (Millar Act I: 5). Another example is when Willy discovered that Biff did not pass math. Willy tells Biff, " If you hadn 't flunked you 'd 've been set by now!" (Millar Act II: 2)....   [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, Pen, The Play]

Research Papers
1056 words (3 pages)

Related Searches

What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am! Why can't I say that, Willy? (Miller 132)

From then on he is a changed man and tries to extricate Willy from his sea of confusion. But Willy is pushing the boat down to stay afloat instead of getting in it. When he finally realizes what the people around him are trying to do, he finally ends up drowning. Letting Biff continue living on a worthwhile life, he submits to his inner voice, which is Ben, and commits suicide. A good comparison to Willy's life is the story of Sisyphus: "The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor" (Camus 119). Like Sisyphus, Willy attains nothing in his life, no matter how hard he tries, but the mere happiness of controlling his own worthless fate.

He does so because of his narcissistic personality, which drives him to do everything in the play for himself. He manipulates his kids to achieve his avaricious plans with the goal to win his own battle for dignity. He lacks empathy and throughout the play, willfully avoids self-examination by creating his own universe. His schizophrenia keeps the suspense rippling the play as intended by Miller: "Tragedy, then, is the consequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly" (Tragedy 1). This suspense is Willy's fallacious hope transmitted to the audience, his struggle to evaluate himself justly. As intended originally, "Miller was going to name this play `Inside his head' " (Death 1). Miller wants the spectators to experience the internal conflicts inside Willy's mind. He wants one who analyses the text to understand the motivations behind the selfish and malevolent intentions of Willy. Furthermore, he wants the reader to realize that Willy is above all a common man imbedded with the sinful nature of man.

Finally, many hermeneutics are proposed by critics about how to perceive Willy. But an evaluation must be made of the detriment he solicits to the society. Society has not to adapt to his needs, and because he can't see this fact he perishes as a human being. His failure and lack or excess of determination to succeed is his will to do harm. This misuse of will causes a break in the Loman family. "Willy Neglects to instill in his sons the moral values a parent should teach a child" (Murphy 3). Then it would follow that he would be responsible for his death and the jeopardy his loved ones are left behind with. After all, it wasn't a dream that drives the car into a brick wall. It is he. His death is an intentional suicide, a crime.
Return to 123HelpMe.com