DoaS Short Form

DoaS Short Form - AP SHORT FORM TITLE Death of a Salesman...

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AP SHORT FORM TITLE Death of a Salesman AUTHOR Arthur Miller MAIN CHARACTERS (a clear, concise, description of each) Willy Loman : Willy is the protagonist of the play, a sixty year-old salesman who is surrounded by success but struggles to attain it himself. He spends his whole life lying to others and himself. In his old age―and possibly earlier―he has become delusional, constantly having flashbacks to when his two sons were in high school, when they still thought of him as successful and looked up to him. He always says that personality is what ultimately helps one succeed in life, but then he turns around and wonders why his clients do not like him that much. He has an affair with a woman in order to feel well- liked once again. Since then, he has had trouble generating respect in his sons’ eyes, or even getting them to admit they like him. According to the stage directions in the beginning of the play, Willy has a “mercurial nature,” which is showcased by his unprovoked temper that flares up quite frequently throughout the course of the play. Willy Loman's last name is a pun on "low man." In society, Willy is in very low ranks, as an overworked, unsuccessful salesman. He has a very derogatory view on society and ways to succeed, depending on simply personality and appearance, which not only keeps himself low in society (and causes himself to continually lower his own self-value by begging at the feet of more successful men who are half his age) but also his sons. The last name becomes a type of hereditary curse in this tragedy. Biff Loman : He is Willy's older son, at 34 years old. In high school, he was the star, the one who was meant to be successful. However, his grades were nothing to be proud of, and he failed his math class, which meant he could not graduate. Biff went to Boston to ask his father to convince his teacher to pass him, but he then discovers his father's affair. After this, Biff lost focus. Before going to Boston, he was ready to make up the lost credit in summer school, but when he returned, a disillusioned Biff never graduated and started a string of unsuccessful jobs, which usually ended when he gave into his kleptomaniac tendencies. Out of the three “low men,” Biff seems to be the closest to actually attaining happiness. He is out west working on a farm because that is what makes him feel happiest despite the low pay, whereas his father and brother are in jobs that are demeaning and do not pay enough to make up for the constant jabs to their dignity. He is also the one who eventually notices that he, along with his father and brother, has been lying to himself for fifteen years. Harold “Happy” Loman : Happy is Biff's younger brother by two years. Arthur Miller employed a great deal of irony when naming Willy Loman's younger son. His nickname is “Happy,” but he is anything but. He has lived his life in Biff's shadow, and this causes him to have an overdeveloped sense of competition, which leads to him seducing his
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This note was uploaded on 10/31/2010 for the course ENG 205 taught by Professor Cather during the Fall '09 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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DoaS Short Form - AP SHORT FORM TITLE Death of a Salesman...

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