Willy Loman: Vampire Hunter, or The Delusional Gravitas of the Everyman Antihero

August 1, 2014 7:25 PM

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Willy Loman is the nimble protagonist of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. He is an aging suburban Brooklyn salesman whose less than spectacular career is on the decline and he needs to believe that he is a hero, a respected man, a beloved man, and a man that embodies the American dream. When we meet Loman his business knowledge is still at its peak, but he is no longer able to leverage his charisma to get by. Time has caught up with Loman and Death of a Salesman presents Loman's struggle "to maintain a foothold in the upward-striving American middle class" while combating his own self-doubt that plagues him in reminders from the past that his life rests on un-solid ground. According to Charles Isherwood, Loman is the play's dominant character because "It is his losing battle against spiritual and economic defeat that provides the narrative spine of the play." Loman is a symbolic representation of millions of American employees who outlived their corporate usefulness.

Loman uses delusions about how popular, famous, influential and successful he is and about the prospects for the success of his sons, Biff and Happy. As the anti-hero Satan is the king of Hell, Loman is the nimble prince of his own fantasies, and as I myself approach forty, I can't help but think th...

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