Willy Loman in a Nutshell


Willy Loman is a man of no character, a fragile being who creates his own dysfunction in life


with false self perceptions and ideology on success. His self image is manufactured from his


version of the truth. He cannot tell the truth. He cannot keep up with the lies, even to himself.


He is losing everything that he has lied for his entire life.


Willy’s whole world is based on not quite the truth. He lies about his career to his family all of their lives. His longest self important speech in the play seems to be the one lie they are all based on. ".....Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. " Willy Loman is here!" (1890). Mr. Loman believes that the key to success is the ability to be well liked, but his philosophy is flawed and he knows it. There has been a steady decline in his popularity and success since his first good year in 1928. " I had a big year. I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in commissions." ( 1916). Willy still tries to believe that he is successful as if he can control the outcome of life by believing. When Biff tells him "Pop! I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you! He replies "I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, ...(1944). He is mentally and physically tired from his years on the road. His defenses are down when he tells his wife "Trouble is Linda, people don’t seem to take to me" (1891).


Willy altered the memories of his home life as a child to such an extent that, he believes that his father was a successful man. His brother Ben was no help. "Father was a very great and a very wild hearted man...Great inventor, Father. With one gadget he made more in a week than a man like you could make in a lifetime" (1898). Their Father’s career as a traveling wooden flute salesman could not possibly have amounted to the belief that Willy manufactured "Where is Dad? Didn’t you follow him? ....Well, I was just a baby, of course, only three or four year’s old–" (1897). This quote tells us that Willy was too young to remember his father and has made his ideals of his father based on stories that others have imparted to him. They made father sound like a wonderful man, probably to help lessen the blow of abandonment. He seems to believe that if he were well liked, their father would not have abandoned them. Which is not too far fetched a theory to a child’s mind. Modern psychology tells us that when there is a problem in our lives, we either tend to blame it on others, or try to find the fault in ourselves.