The Main Character from Death of a Salesman

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Updated: Oct 23, 2020
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Willy Loman, the main character from Death of a Salesman, goal is to achieve the American Dream. The author of the play brings up seeds multiple time throughout the play. Seeds represent Willy’s working life as a salesman and a father. Willy buys and insists on planting seeds throughout the play. Planting seeds symbolize Willy wants growth for not only him, however, he also wants to provide for his sons in order to achieve the American dream of being successful in life. For example, one part from the play Willy notices that no seeds are planted, “Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground” (Miller 293). The gardens functions compare to Willy’s failed career as a salesman and a father. Willy believes that planting seeds things will grow and hopes to provide for family members even after his own death.

Stockings are constantly brought up in the play. Willy has an affair with an unknown woman and gives the women a pair of stockings. In the play when Linda mends her stockings Willy yells at Linda because it reminds him of his betrayal. Willy angrily talks to Linda, “I won’t have you mending stocking in this house! Now throw them out!” (Miller 120). Willy is reminded of his lies and deceitfulness, he wants Linda to get rid of the stockings in order for him to get rid of the reminder. The stockings that Linda mend also show their drained financial status, instead of buying new stockings she is forced to fix her used ones. Linda, who supports Willy, even though it is noticeable to her and her children that Willy’s career is going down the drain. On the other hand, the silk stockings show that both women are connected. Linda who supports her husband, and the women who tell Willy that he is sweet and loves him because of his sense of humor. Both women’s presence in Willy’s life contributes to Willy’s imposing illusions of his job and his own self.

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Diamonds represent wealth and successfulness, with wealth and success comes with being able to have the potential to pass the wealth to family members. Willy’s younger brother Ben has a fortune based on diamonds from the jungle in Africa, symbolizing Willy’s failure as a father and a salesman. Ben describes a diamond as “Diamond is rough and hard to the touch” (Miller 322). Diamonds are a concrete reminder to Willy of his career as a salesman and the success it did not offer him, especially missing the opportunity of actually being able to have success with Ben. Even though Willy had the opportunity to go with Ben to Alaska, he believed that he could reach the American dream on his own. However, by the end of the play, Willy enters the “jungle” to finally get the diamond which is to commit suicide. The reason behind Willy killing himself is for insurance money, the money is supposed to help his family.

Sports play an important role in the play, Willy constantly brings up his sons Biff’s football career. Once Willy is fired from his job, he goes to visit his friend Charley and his son, Bernard who are very successful, while Willy has a hard time comping with their success. When Willy sees Benard, he has a tennis racket, “That so? Indicating the rackets: You going to play tennis there?” (Miller 228). To Willy, sports symbolize success, in the play whenever sports are involved in one’s life they are successful. For example, when Biff was playing football in high school he was heading in the direction of being successful. However, when both of Willy’s son, Biff and Happy have no access to getting a deal for selling sports equipment they are not successful. Tennis proves Bernard’s success, while on the other hand proves the Loman’s family failures. Even though growing up Bernard did not care about sports as much as the Loman’s did; however, as they are grown up Bernard is successful and can play tennis while Biff and Happy do not have access to sports and are unsuccessful.

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The Main Character From Death Of A Salesman. (2020, Oct 23). Retrieved from