Importance of Characters Name in Arthur Millers Plays

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Arts

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This research paper aims at illustrating the importance of character’s name in portraying various themes in Arthur Miller’s plays. In the play The Death of a Salesman, the principle character's name, Willy Loman is evidently significant to the play's themes. Willy Loman is truly a "Low man" as he chooses to focus on his fantasies instead of his reality as it is. In the first act of the play, Willy is getting home from a business trip. The audience learns that Willy had crashed his car on his way home, and from his wife Linda, it is apparent that it is not the first time that Willy crushes his car. Upon further pressing by Linda, Willy confesses that he doesn’t seem to focus on driving while on the road1. This statement is a clear indicator of the kind of man Willy Loman is. He is unsuccessful in life mostly because he finds it difficult to focus on reality and instead puts his mind on fantasies and dreams that may never come true. The next instance of Willy’s fantasy-stricken character is when he remembers his son Biff’s youth that, according to him pointed to the possible success of his son Biff. He is disappointed in his oldest son who is a farmhand and makes plans of getting him a job as a salesman. According to him, that is the only way to be successful2. The absurd expectations he has imposed on his son are also evidence that he focuses on his own fantasies rather than reality.

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Willy Loman is not influential, not well linked and at his lowest, despite constantly bragging of goals that he had hoped to achieve but has not been able to. This eventually led him to lose his job in sales. After getting home from the business trip, Willy tells his wife, Linda that he has to go to New England, although it is clear that his heart was set on going to New York. When Linda inquires as to why he has not asked his bosses to let him go to New York, Willy brags about him being vital in New England3. It is however apparent that the man is not happy about his position at work. He brags to his wife about where he would be, had his boss’ father not died.

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Willy thinks he would be in charge of handling business in New York. He goes ahead and tells Linda of how much he contributed to the company as, according to him, were it not for him, the company would never have known where New England is. Willy, in spite of being sixty-three years old, his playful character resembles those of younger people. Firstly, Willy is a boastful man who constantly brags to the people near him. Willy Loman is clearly not a successful man; however, this fact does not stop him from constantly bragging about things he had hoped to achieve or things he feels he should have7. A mature man is humble and less voluble about his successes. Secondly, Loman, despite his age and experience, believes that success is a matter of luck, popularity and chance, not hard work.

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Like his father, he is insecure about his failures and thus sleeps with a lot of women to prove himself. On the other hand, Biff abhors his father and sees him as a liar and a cheat. After Biff fails in his last year of high school and loses his scholarship, he goes to the one man he used to admire for help. Biff however finds his father having an affair with his receptionist and this turns Biff’s view of his father around. Biff becomes a failure at the age of thirty-four and he blames his failure on his father, Willy Loman. As the play proceeds, Willy Loman sinks deeper into failure and debt. Willy not only loses his job but also loses his car after the insurance company denies him his compensation after he has an accident.

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According to his wife Linda, the insurance company refused to cover Willy as they claim he got into the accident on purpose. Linda explains to her two sons that a woman saw Willy crash his car on purpose, and she seems to believe that Willy may have done it on purpose. He also cannot renovate his house like he used to. It is clearly evident that Arthur has successfully used the character name “Willy Loman” to develop his theme of a failed American dream. Bibliography Hays, Peter L. Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. doi:10. Miller, Arthur.

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