Character Analysis Of Willy Loman In The Death Of A Salesman

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“People are so busy dreaming the American Dream, fantasizing about what they could be or have a right to be, that they’re all asleep at the switch. Consequently we are living in the Age of Human Error” (Florence King). The Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller is a play; set in the late 1940’s, surrounding the tormenting life of the salesman, Willy Loman, who faces disappointment, abandonment and the anticipation of the American Dream. His only real friend is Charley, who owns a successful business and has a successful son. Their friendship reveals important traits of each other vital to major plot points in the play. In the Death of a Salesman, Charley’s realistic portrayal highlights Willy’s delusions. Charley’s role emphasizes Willy’s …show more content…
In contrast to Willy, Charley is a successful business owner who earned his way to top by working hard and dealing with what reality threw at him. Charley is a minor character in the play; however, he offers great insight into Willy’s true self. One prominent trait Charley helps bring to the surface is Willy envious nature. While Willy is spilling out his insecurities to Linda, he mentions that, “[Charley is] a man of few words, and they respect him” (Miller 24). Charley is the epitome of someone who does not let his success, or in Willy’s case, delusional success, get to his head. Though, Willy states that Charley is not “well-liked”, it is clear that Willy hates the fact that Charley defies his twisted image of success. Unlike Willy, Charley is shows that he is stable, both financially and mentally, that he offers his friend a job with higher pay:
You want a job?
I got a job, I told you that. [After a slight pause] What the hell are you offering me a job for?
Don’t get insulted. (Miller 29)
Willy’s built up pride of his false success results in his inability to accept help generous and kind gestures from Charley and other’s around him. Charley is a man who is self assured and doesn’t need others’ approval; he is honest and practical in the world of Willy Loman’s
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He learned to be practical and deal with reality on its own terms. To be more specific, Charley understands that success does not come to one who does not earn it. Success only comes to a person who is hardworking, then only, does the rewards of the labour come. Juxtaposing Willy representing fantasy, “ [there is] Charley and Bernard, [an] another version of the dream, a version turning not on self-delusion and an amoral drive for success, but hard work and charity” (Miller xxiv). Willy always talks about who successful and “well-liked” he is, however he never does. Charley actually acts on his goals and succeeds in the process. Furthermore, Charley tries to rationalize with Willy on his version of the American Dream: “Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything?” (Miller 75) In this important exchange between Willy and Charley, Charley finally gets through to Willy, making Willy question his dream. It is evident in this scene that Charley is finished dealing with Willy’s obvious insecurities as he again, generously offers Willy a job. Once again, Willy declines the offer due to the fact he does not want to work under Charley. After all Charley and Willy have gone through as friends, Willy’s internal dilemma spreads the friendship

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