The Peculiarities of Characters in Death of a Salesman

This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

Cite this essay cite-image

Table of contents

  1. Willy Loman: The Tragic Hero
  2. Linda Loman: The Enabler and Protector
  3. Biff Loman: The Reality of Failure and Acceptance
  4. Willy's Static Character: Inability to Grasp Reality
  5. Parental Influence and Responsibility
  6. Work Cited

In Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, many dynamic characters play important roles. The protagonists in the story are the father Willy Loman and the antagonist is his son Biff Loman. Both of these two characters go through changes throughout the play.

As we know, the main character in a story or a play always has to be somewhat likeable or relatable. Who does not like to feel like they can relate to their favorite character in a story? In many cases, the authors of stories or books always try to make the reader feel like they are not the only ones with problems or going through a crazy situation. Wanting the reader to become engaged in the character 's conflicts is what they aim for. In Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman, many people were gripped by Willy Loman, the main character, problems because they too struggle, with many of the conflicts that Willy faces. Willy could not keep his life together, failing to see reality and pursuing the wrong dream, with a wrong viewpoint, ended up causing others around him and himself to hurt.

Willy Loman: The Tragic Hero

Throughout the play, Willy can be seen as a failure. When he looks back on all his past decisions, he can only blame himself for his failures as a father, provider and as a salesman Slowly, Willy unintentionally reveals to us the moral limitations that frustrate him which hold him back from achieving the good father figure and a successful businessman, showing us a sense of failure. For instance, even though Willy wants so badly to be successful, he wants to bring back the love and respect that he has lost from his family showing us that in the process of wanting to be successful he failed to keep his family in mind This can be shown when Willy is talking to Ben and he says “He’ll call you a Coward...and you been jealous of me all life, you damned fool' Miller(97-98). Willy responds frightfully because he doesn't want his family to feel bad.

Willy Loman’s character in Death of a Salesman portrays him as a tragic hero. Willy Loman continued to want his recognition and his reputation but never forget about his family. These characteristics describe him as a tragic hero in Death of a salesman. Willy Loman's tragic flaw leads him to pursue the idea that reputation in society has more relevance in life than knowledge and education to survive in the business. His grand error of wanting recognition drove him crazy and insane and led to his tragic death.

Linda Loman: The Enabler and Protector

As a mother, Linda Loman is my favorite also. She was a lovely woman and she highly respected her husband, mother to two sons Biff and Happy Loman. In the play, she is the enabler for the family's problems that seems to cause the conflict between the family members that enabler is Linda Loman. Linda is the enabler of the family because she just simply overlooks everything that her family does to avoid living in their reality. She 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 and to show us that what we see in the real world is not everything we see even if it's not visibly apparent to us. As we can see to the play when Linda speaks to her sons, Happy and Biff, she can be very stern, confident, and resolute. Love someone does not mean they are perfect Linda made some mistakes also because she knows that their son Biff is at least one source of agony for Willy. Throughout Act one, Linda chastises her son for not being more attentive and understanding. I understand that nothing can come close to the love that a mother feels for her children but you need to stand up when your child did wrong. As we see in the criticism of William Hawkins in the 'Death of Salesman powerful tragedy' he mentions that Willy's wife Linda is a truthfully blocked out character, gentle and delicate yet fiercely loving and fiercely loyal'(William p.204) mean that she is a mother who cares for her family, because even though Willy is often rude to her and maybe his husband may have in affair, she still protects him at all costs. As we can see Linda protect Willy like a child, so Linda is like a mother who anxiously protects him from Biff, Happy, and the rest of the world.

I Want a man to know that women play a big role in a family because we, not only mother of our child we also a mother for our husband to some of them sometimes they mother do not give them enough love so when they get married they always want to they wife play that role in them also. Never underestimate the influence that a mother has over a child. It may not always appear this way, but children look to their mother for guidance on how they should deal with many situations. Otherwise, she is a good mother the only things she needs to work on was to tell his children when they are wrong

Biff Loman: The Reality of Failure and Acceptance

Biff Loman is portrayed as the root of Willy's illness and instability. He is also the only member of his family who acknowledged his failures in life. On the whole, Biff Loman stands out as the most intriguing and strong character in Death of a Salesman. He is not a successful man and never will be, he is, however, able to admit this. Biff knows he is a nothing and tries to make his father see that he is a good one. Arthur Miller provides us with a lot of evidence that Willy has been a bad influence on Biff. While Biff is in some ways desperate to impress his father, he is also conscious about the fact that Willy has failed his attempt to be successful in his career. He considers his dad's dreams materialistic and unreachable. Biff's tragic role in this family is found in the ability to accept reality and overcome the victim role imposed on him by his father. While Biff is the only Loman that can see past Willy's illusions about life.' Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?'(133) He is the only one to see reality. Biff can see the harsh reality and also recognizes that both he and his father are failures Young Biff had the same beliefs and views as his father, but after discovering his father's infidelity, these beliefs changed. Biff needs to be honest and sincere in what he wants to do and say.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

Willy's Static Character: Inability to Grasp Reality

A person's attitude is mostly what everyone around him or her will view them as. From this, they can tell many things. Whether it is if the person is funny or down to earth or even irresponsible. Many times, people change personalities often and they would be classified as being a dynamic type of person. A person who does not change is classified as being a static character. Willy, from Death of Salesman written by Arthur Miller, is a static character for his inability to grasp reality, his poor parenting and his constant lying to his wife.

Foremost, Willy has a problem with his inability to grasp reality. As he grows older his mind is starting to slip. For example, when he talks to the women and his brother Ben. Throughout the story, Willy dreams of talking to the women, because the woman is a person that he was dating in when he went to Boston. He was cheating behind his wife's back. Willy uses her as a scapegoat when he's hallucinating about her. He blames all of his problems on the woman. For instance, Willy says, Because I get so lonely-especially… There's so much I want to make for.” (p.38) This is the evidence right here. Another example of Willy's hallucinations is when he says, 'How are you?'(45) This occurs when Willy is talking with Charley and he starts thinking about Ben. Willy's inability to grasp reality never changed throughout reality. Willy maybe has very poor parenting skills. As we see he has two children Biff and Happy. Willy excuses Biff for a lot of events when he was younger. If Biff stole something, Willy just brushes it off and says that is was no big deal. He did not even care when Biff failed math. If I can change, I will change his behavior because Willy faces conflict with his inner self throughout the play. He refuses to accept who he is and his self-pride is too important to him and also refuses to admit that he is an ordinary man.

Throughout the play, he is at odds with who he perceives himself to be and who he is in reality. He seems to ignore the talent and appreciation he has for carpentry; he would be beneath himself. People usually afraid of failure because they tried to do something and failed, or took a risk and did not pay off. In my class of HPE my professor Veronica told me that fear of failure creates stress and anxiety. Just because you tried something two or three times and failing does not mean the entire idea is a mistake maybe you did not know the way you suppose to do it or his not your time. You do not let things bother you. Also, I can understand that maybe Willy feels lonely but does not a reason to cheating over your wife speak up to tell your wife what you need her to change, be a man. People probably have different views and definitions of what constitutes a family. What an individual might consider part of his family might be different to someone else. Concrete policy guiding fatherhood is therefore needed to address issues concerning. Fatherhood is an important issue where work and family have to be well addressed also communication is very important in a relationship. How could you love your family without loving yourself first you do not leave for others? Additionally, what do not like in Willy character how he used to lie to his wife he finds a pleasure to create story just to make his wife distract about certain things but he never realize sometimes when you try to fool someone, sometimes they just look at you and make you feel great but at the end of the day, you will feel sorry for yourself. So, if you want to educate your child well you need to behave well. Willy needs to respect himself first So every parent need to work on that always find a proper way to raise your child if you want them to be successful in life so Willy needs to accept life the way it is because nobody does know the future always things God on what you have. Sometimes when you feel that you did not realize much in your life things about people who are living in the street, about a certain country who in this century do not have pure water to drink. Always be thankful for what you have I know life is not easy. I used to complain about my job and one day one of my friends to me do not complain about your job because it pays your bill just try to find another one. I realize what she said to me was good advice so I Told myself you know to go to school learn something for life, make sure you like the things you want to study and be successful in life. When I said to be successful does not mean that have A lot of money but like really like what you do for a living.

Parental Influence and Responsibility

In the article of Miller and the loss of conscience by William B. Dillingham, he mentions that 'Man's obligation to assume his rightful place in a world unified by love and a sense of responsibility is the central thesis of Arthur Miller's critical essays and the major theme of his plays' (William p. 339) Mean that man has the right in our society to take responsibility like working, take for the children, raise them properly. I agree with the thought of the author because a dad or father means that you have a child now and you have to do your best to take care of that child with all your heart, educate them like to know right and wrong. Sometimes people as a parent our tolerance for our children is too much we cannot even see, or admit when they make mistakes on this way it does not mean that you love your child because when he grows up without distinguished right and wrong maybe he or she will hate you. But make sure you raise them with love and respect for others. If you believe in the Bible read with them teach them how beautiful love is.

While growing up, I have often been told to be successful at what I do. Success is what drives human beings to achieve greatness. But what does it mean to be successful? Many people would say that being successful has been good at a task, but success can mean something different to everybody. To me, being successful is loving what I do, staying positive even failing at first, and feeling a sense of pride or accomplishment when finished. People need to stop thinking that the word 'success' is the materialistic objects that one can buy with copious amounts of money. I want people to start teaching the children a proper manner like always be you do not feel ashamed when you fail, do not compare yourself to others. Be responsible when you make a mistake do not put things under someone else

I like how the author demonstrates the agony and suffering that individuals have to put up within their pursuit of the dream. The negative aspects of the dream are represented in the individual struggle and the eventual selfishness.

As we can see those elements are love and direction. Many people face these struggles at some point in their life, but do not know what to do to progress. Arthur Miller devised a style whereby he could show how your past can continuously impact on your future. Each character highlights the powerlessness of a dream to give meaning and control to human life. without giving first parental love, establishing guidance and truth in the early stages of a child's life. Love is not just being affectionate; it's revealed through the actions of an individual that reflects a heart of peace and truth.

Work Cited

  1. Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Text and criticism edited by Gerald Weales.
  2. Emory University Quarterly,XVI (spring 1960), pp. 40-50, reprinted by permission William B. Dillingham 'Arthur Miller and the loss of conscience.p.339.
  3. The New York World-Telegram, February 11, 1949, p.16 Reprinted by permission of the World Journal Tribune, Inc. “The Death of a Salesman powerful tragedy' pp 204.
Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this paper

The Peculiarities of Characters in Death of a Salesman. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 24, 2024, from
“The Peculiarities of Characters in Death of a Salesman.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022,
The Peculiarities of Characters in Death of a Salesman. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 May 2024].
The Peculiarities of Characters in Death of a Salesman [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 May 24]. Available from:

Join our 150k of happy users

  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
Place an order

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.