English / Willy Loman Existentialist?

Willy Loman Existentialist?

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Autor:  anton  06 January 2011
Tags:  Existentialist
Words: 605   |   Pages: 3
Views: 222

Willy Loman an Existentialist?

Can anyone control their life? Is the power of control in human beings' hands to make choices and set or know the exact outcome of those choices? Personally, I don't believe that human beings are awarded with such a power as to be able to change any aspect of their lives. The purpose of my essay is to focus on the life of Willy Loman, a protagonist in a play called Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Is Willy Loman an existentialist or he thinks he has no control over his life?

According to my own perspective, Willy Loman is and is not an existentialist. In his life, Willy Loman desires to be a wealthy and respectful man. His blueprint of becoming successful in life is what he often says, "Be liked and you will never want" (Miller 21). Willy believes that the key to success is being well liked by everyone in the business world. There was an eighty four year old salesman Dave Singleman, who was such an expert in his work that he would make a deal by calling the buyers without leaving his office. Willy Loman became extremely inspired by Dave Singleman that he believed being a salesman could be the greatest career a man could want. Unfortunately Willy did not turn out to be the greatest salesman as Dave Singleman was.

According to an online dictionary, existentialist is “a philosopher who emphasizes freedom of choice and personal responsibility but who regards human existence in a hostile universe as unexplainable” ("existentialist"). As I said before, Willy Loman is on both sides of being and not being an existentialist. A way that Willy is not an existentialist is that, when Willy goes to Howard, who is Willy’s boss, he keeps confidence in his mind that the reason that he’s going to Howard for will turn out to be in his favor. Willy wants to ask Howard for a raise and a job in which he doesn’t have to travel. Willy’s method of gaining success by being liked fails here. Willy’s confidence breaks when Howard terminates him from the job. So Willy could not control the outcome of his choice of going to Howard to talk, therefore he’s not an existentialist.

The other way in which Willy is an existentialist is that towards the conclusion of the play, Willy thinks of taking a responsibility of his family and therefore doing something that would benefit his entire family. Willy makes a major decision; as a mater of fact, the biggest and the most significant decision of his life. Willy chooses to finally take control of his life and end it. This time he knows and he’s confident that the outcome of his decision will be in his favor. Ironically, Willy is excited to terminate his life, because that would give his family the twenty thousand dollar insurance that Willy had. Twenty thousand dollars would assist Biff in getting a good start in his career. Willy took control of his life and made a choice that he believes is responsible and helpful to his family, especially to Biff, therefore Willy is an existentialist.

Willy Loman was and at the same time was not an existentialist. There could be many point of views whether Willy Loman was or wasn’t an existentialist. This essay demonstrates my view and perspective of Willy Loman.

Works Cited

"existentialist." WordNetВ® 3.0. Princeton University. 21 Apr. 2008. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/existentialist>.

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: The Viking Press, 1998.



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