Death of A Salesman



Death of a Salesman - Willy Lomans tragedy is due more to his own
flawed character than to societies flaws

Advancements in science throughout this century have led to
tremendous advancements in industry. Advancements in industry,
however, have not always led to advancements in living. For
some, society has created mass wealth. For most mass society has
created a standard of living unparalled throughout histort. For
Willy Loman, however, mass society has created only tremendous
greif and hardship, agravated by the endless promise. For these
reasons, his tragidy is due more to societies flaws than to the
flaws in his own character.
Willy Loman was host to many flaws and deficiencies ranging
form suicidal tendencies to phychotic disorders. However, these
shortcomings did not account for his tragic end, not by
themselves anyway. Soviety is to blame. It was society who
stripped him of his dignity, piece by piece. It was society who
stripped him of his lifestyle, and his own sons who stripped him
of hope.
The most obvious flaw in society is greed, the desire to get
ahead of the next guy. This malady is present on a national
level. It is the philosophy of business and comprises the dreams
of man. Sometimes, this can drive man to great things, sometimes
it can drive a man to ruin. Willy was driven to the latter.
(Not his own greed for he was a simple man with simple dreams,
but by the greed of others.) The developers who took away the
sun and gave birth to shadows, his boss who reduced him to
commission and his sons which reduced him to a failure.
The next largest flaw in society is a lack of compassion.
This could be as a result of almost overwhelming greed, the main
culprit being big business.

"I\'m always in a race with the junkyard! I just
finished paying for the car and it\'s on it last legs. The
refrigerator consumes belts like a goddam maniac. They time
those things."(Act 2, page 73, lines 16-19)

Willy\'s belief in this statement drew him to believe that
big business lacked compassion. It is because of this that he
is abandoned by Biff and disowned by Happy, left babbling in a
toilet. It is this flaw which allowed him to die a slow death
and played the greatest role in his eventual downfall.
The third largest flaw in society (particularly American
society) is the lack of a social safety net. A net which
identifies people in trouble and seeks to remedy their
situations. A body identifies people who are a danger to
themselves and others and treats or sedates them. Couple this
with a pension plan and medical care, and Willy Loman might not
have met his premature end. He would have had no reason
thanklessly for a company, in a capicity that was "killing" him.
Instead, he could have received psychiatric help and recovered
from his condition.
It was the direct result of the flaws in society which led
Willy to his undoing. It was the greed that was ever-pervasive
around him that led to his unhappieness. It was the lack of
compassion from society which allowed his unhappieness to
flourish and which eventually consumed him. In the end, it was
the lack of a social safety net which failed to save him from
himself.

by Mike Lesage