Willy Loman
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Willy Loman

Death of a Salesman

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About Him

Living… at the end of his rope. He has been a salesman at the same company for thirty-four years. At sixty-three, Willy’s traveling “racket” isn’t the same it used to be. Either the younger salesmen are closing faster, or Willy’s closing a lot slower than he used to. His family cannot seem to save him from his own mind – where self-deprecation and doom constantly shatter his confidence. Willy Loman is truly a broken man.

Profession… traveling salesman. His successful days are long gone, and he struggles to make ends meet.

Interests… his sons. Willy is obsessed with the future prospects for his sons’ success. He wants the best lives for them, but realizes that in these desperate times, it’s harder to “make it” out there — a lot harder than it used to be, anyway.

Relationship Status… married. Linda is a supportive wife who is worried sick about Willy, especially when she realizes he’s a lot more delusional than he seems. Linda is so supportive that she allows Willy to foster these delusions, even encourages him. She doesn’t know what else to do.

Challenge… re-discovering the American Dream. Willy has lost that golden beam of hope he once had. The idea that a man could achieve anything with enough work is all too foreign now, and seems to be beyond his sons’ paths as well.

Personality… nervous, jumpy, confused, insecure. Willy is definitely not the same man he was. He still has little glimmers of optimism (at least for his wife and sons), even during his greatest moments of desperation. Willy says,“The jungle is dark but full of diamonds,” a poetic statement that captures the state of his lost American Dream.

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