Willy Lowan as a Complex Round Character
Willy Lowan, the protagonist of the Death of a Salesman is a complex and multi-dimensional character. Arthur Miler, the author of the play, sheds light to the important and controversial issues. Death of a Salesman, which was written in 1949, is a classic of American drama. Arthur Miller and the main character of his play Willy Loman have become world famous. Death of a Salesman has become such a success in the United States because its main theme was the attack on the American Dream which supposes only wealth and public success. Miller tries to show that there are other principles and values in the world and that these two components are not true values for the mankind. This play received the 1949 Tony Award for best Play, the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for the Best Play and also Publisher Prize for Drama. Taking into account all these awards we must think that it really touches some problems that are of current importance today. This is the only play in America awarded these three prizes and these awards have made Arthur Miller a world-renowned playwright.
During the play we can face how the author shows Willy Lowan from different sides. His felling and emotions demonstrate that he can not be satisfied with usual things which make other people happy. This play is “the tragedy of a typical American -a salesman who at the age of sixty-three is faced with what he cannot face; defeat and disillusionment” (Hayashi 123). The main characters of this play are Willy Loman, his wife Linda and their two sons, Happy and Biff.
Willy Lowan in Arthur’s drama is a complex round character. We cannot interpret him only from the one side. On the one hand, he might be considered as a weak and flabby character because he is not able to withstand the force of circumstances, but, on the other hand, he is a very sensitive character with ideal illusion that cannot be realized in this world. Willy is a former salesman of 63 years who used to be successful and popular in his neighborhood and now he does not have this popularity and enough money. Linda is his wife who tries to show all her love and care but she is not always able to do it. Happy is the youngest son who tries to spend enough time with his father and to please his in any way. Biff is another son of 34 years. He tried to become a prosperous person and worked a lot but all in all he is not successful at his age. The two sons gave a great hope while they were at school. Biff was a football hero of school team and then he wanted to open his sporting goods store but he did not have financial capital to do it and he finally failed.
Miller shoes Willy’s hard way to full realization of the meaning of his life. Willy has to face disillusionment in many fields of his life. He has always dreamt that Happy would be the person of influence but he also is not able to be such a man. Will’s life dream is to make a fortune and now he regrets that he has not gone to Alaska or Africa as his brother has done in order to become wealthy. He has not fulfilled his eternal dream; he understands that his sons are not successful and that he is not happy with his wife. He considers himself to be an unlucky fellow who has reached nothing in his life and so cannot leave anything after his death. He even cannot get money for his son’s sporting goods store. He is absolutely disappointed in his life and does not see the way out.
Not being able to find the way out the protagonist turns to the last escape. Willy decides to end up his life and earn some money in such a way because the family will get money for his life insurance. This will help his sons to start their own business and his life will not be spent in vain. At Willy’s funerals Charley delivers himself of a speech. He says that the only thing that this salesman had was his dream and, all in all, he could not realize it. “But what makes Death of a Salesman more than an indictment of a system and gives Willy a truly tragic dimension is the intimation that Willy suffers not just from the inhumanity of free enterprise, but also from his inability to reconcile the hopes he had for his life with the one he has actually lived” (Foster 87). At the end of his life Willy realized that he wanted his sons to achieve goals they did not want. He wanted Biff to realize his dream and it was his mistake. Now he gives his family money and freedom, so they at last can do what they want and need and Willy will not prevent them from doing it. Willy’s death shows one more time that this is a complex round character who cannot be interpreted in one dimension.
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