Foils In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

1524 Words 7 Pages
The individuals we surround ourselves with in our life often have an influential sway on our behaviour and motivations. Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is no exception to the impact others have on our lives, however the people in Willy’s life do not influence him positively, but rather act as people for him to blame despite his faults being only his own. The people in his life, the secondary characters to his tragedy, all work to provide better depth and perception of Willy Loman as he strives to achieve the American Dream. He surrounds himself with people who are all meant to help him in being successful however their efforts are proven to be wasteful as Willy acts on his own mind. He ignores the advice of others and his …show more content…
Willy Loman surrounds himself with many foils, all of whom motivate him unintentionally to take his own life. The ways foils influence daily lives are brought forward in the play as Miller skillfully creates a realistic situation where foils have a negative impact on the individual. Charley is one of Willy’s greatest foils, a man who is everything that Willy has not become. Though Will acts down on Charley multiple times and treats him much worse than a friend should, Charley not only remains kind and open to helping Willy, but maintains a successful and well-rounded character who achieves what Willy fails to achieve in his life. Even when Willy tells his family, “don’t talk to him” (Miller 89) and is constantly acting as though he is too busy for Charley, Charley remains the kind neighbour who does not treat Willy poorly. Charley’s traits consist of being hardworking and light hearted, and though Willy does have fractions of those characteristics, he is extremely different to Charley and often mocks him and his personality, even if Charley has been proven to be the more successful in his life. Though all traits between the two point to Charley being the better individual, the greatest trait which Charley possesses is his …show more content…
Idols work as people who others look up to and show admiration to and affect how we perceive not only the world, but what we should do in life. Willy has one idol in particular who stands out, Dave Singleman, a well known salesman who died the death of a salesman, on the road while working. The idea of dying the death of a salesman is significant to Willy as it influences how he commits suicide and the overall concept is flawed in its own. The idea of dying on the road suggests no chance of rest or ease in the life of a salesman, working until you eventually die while working, which seems like an undesirable fate, though Willy’s desire for such an end is evident in his behaviour and internal thought. Alongside idols, our superiors and bosses often shape our opinions of ourselves and provide a deep understanding into our work ethic. Howard however, belittles Willy and only works to help Willy see the negative parts of himself. When Howards expresses that he does not want Willy to represent the company in Boston and implies that Willy should consider retirement, he uses the word “kid” to call Willy a significant amount of times and uses the nickname as a way to look down on Willy and project his superiority on him, even if Howard does not realize he is doing it, nor does he mean it in any malicious way. The name, however is one

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