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The Tragic Life of Willy Loman - Play: Death of a Salesman

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In the play Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, there are many significant characters that bring the play to life. We will meet Willy Loman and various family members. The play will weave around Willy Loman, the main character in Miller's play, Willy is the centerpiece of this play. Death of a Salesman will evolve around the actions Willy takes during the final twenty-four hours of his life.

Willy often gets caught up in memories from his past, which distracts him from the surroundings in his present day life. As he remembers past events from his life, he relives them as though they were current in the moment. He is reliving these memories, engaging himself in these different situations as if they were happening for the first time. During the course of the play Willy's flash backs occur more often, causing Willy to become more and more irrational. With the constant bouncing between past and present Willy is losing his ability to differentiate between his memory of the past, and the harsh reality of the present.

The other characters in the play respond to Willy, whether or not he is in the past or present as in his mind, each encounter is for the first time. Willy's interactions with the other characters help develop his own emotions, motivations, and destiny. While he reacts to the characters in his present day, Willy is also responding to different characters and situations in the past. The result to this problem is Willy's distinctive behavior: contradictory, somewhat angry, painful and often obsessive.

As an individual Willy longs for attention and has a great desire for success. He has been working for the Wagner Company as a traveling salesman, the lowest of positions, for thirty-four years. Due to the fact that he has not been very successful in his sales, Willy earns a modest salary per week. His house, car, and even his refrigerator are old, worn and out-dated. Much like Willy, they are all used up, worn out and falling apart. Willy is unable and unwilling to accept his position in life, he constantly fools himself into thinking that he is well liked and respected by his customers and by the company. He is so sure that he will receive a promotion and the opportunity to earn more money, which, in the end, never happens.

Willy strongly believed that if one were "well liked" by his customers and co-workers, everything in life would be perfect. All the doors would be opened for such a man and he would surely be successful in his life. Willy lives in a fantasy world and constantly lies to himself in order to perceive himself a success. He speaks of himself in glowing terms of how well liked he is in the various towns he works in and has traveled to. That all the customers he calls on value him as a great man. He deludes himself and even worse his family about how much money he really earns.

In an effort to prove to himself that he really is well liked, Willy

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