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Death of a Salesman | Study Guide

Arthur Miller

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Professor Kristen Over of Northeastern Illinois University explains the main characters in Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman.

Death of a Salesman | Characters

Character Description
Willy Loman A disillusioned 60-plus-year-old traveling salesman, Willy (a shortened form of William, meaning "protector"), no longer has a grip on reality and wavers back and forth between his memories and the present. Read More
Linda Loman Linda, whose name means "beautiful," is the conventional wife of Willy Loman. She helplessly recognizes her husband's disintegrating state of mind and tries to protect him from himself and his sons' judgment. Read More
Biff Loman Biff, whose name means "punch," is the oldest son of Willy and Linda Loman. At age 34, he tries to reconcile his disappointment in his father and in himself to find a way to live his life more truthfully and authentically. Read More
Happy Loman Happy, who is not happy, is the womanizing younger son of Willy and Linda Loman. At age 32, he lives life by his own rules without depth or honesty about himself. Read More
Bernard The son of the Lomans' neighbor Charley, Bernard grew up idolizing Biff. In his adulthood, Bernard is a successful family man and lawyer, who argues a case before the Supreme Court.
Charley Charley, a successful businessman and longtime neighbor of the Lomans, kindly lends Willy money and even offers him a job, despite Willy's antagonism toward him.
Howard Wagner Howard Wagner, Willy Loman's current boss, is the son of Willy's first boss; despite the long connection, Howard fires Willy for his poor job performance.
Jenny Jenny is Charley's secretary.
Letta A prostitute who meets Biff and Happy at Frank's Chop House.
Miss Forsythe A prostitute who meets Biff and Happy at Frank's Chop House.
Stanley Stanley is a waiter at Frank's Chop House, where the Loman men plan to dine.
The Woman Years in the past, Willy Loman had an affair with a woman; when his son Biff discovers the affair, the father-son relationship is compromised forever.
Uncle Ben Uncle Ben is Willy's older brother, now dead, who traveled to Africa at age 21 and made his fortune. His success haunts Willy.
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