Death of a Salesman
The characters[change | change source]
Willy Loman - Willy is the main character of the play. He is 63 years old and he is a terrible salesman. He has a flawed vision of the American Dream that if someone is "well liked", they can succeed. He often cannot tell the difference between fantasy and reality. He does not like change and he often day dreams about the past. Several times he tries to kill himself so that the insurance money can go to his children.
Linda Loman - The wife of Willy. She gives the family strong emotional support during the tough times when the family needs it the most. She defends her husband Willy when her children start complaining about him.
Biff Loman - Biff is the 34 year old son of Willy and Linda. He was well liked during high school, but he did not graduate. During high school, he developed a habit of stealing things (his father supported it), which would later get him fired from several jobs. Biff eventually realizes that Willy's vision of the American Dream is wrong and he often argues against him. He wants to go out west to Texas and start a farm.
Harold Loman - Harold is usually called by his nickname "Happy". The word happy is used with sarcasm. Happy has always lived in the shadow of his older brother, Biff, who was more popular and likable than he is. His parents (Linda and Willy) usually do not pay attention to him and act like he is invisible. Happy believes in Willy's incorrect vision of the American Dream and is at risk of becoming just like his father.
The Woman - The woman is Willy's mistress. While Biff and Happy were in high school, Willy Loman cheated on his wife and had a relationship with the woman.
Charley - Charley is one of Willy's only true friends. Charley offers Willy a job, but Willy refuses. He felt bad for Willy's bad financial situation, so he gives Willy money each week that Willy pretends is his pay.
Bernard - Bernard is the son of Charley. While Bernard was in high school, Willy made fun of him for studying too hard and said that he was "liked, but not well liked". Bernard became a successful lawyer who got to argue a case in front of the [[Supreme Court of the United States]].
Ben - Ben is Willy's brother who died. Willy in his daydreams sees Ben as a person who entered the jungles of Africa at age 17, and came out of Africa as a very rich man.
Theme[change | change source]
The theme of Death of a Salesman is Miller's criticism of capitalism and he tries to express that the American Dream does not happen to everybody. He also tries to express that being well liked is not enough to succeed, because success requires skill also.