Humanity, Content, and Pride.

As reading to the very end of the play, unlike other novels, I felt the unknown pain in my heart. A tear? A sympathy? Still it is pretty vague for me to decide what kind of feelings I have for Mr. Loman. (Personally, I consider that Willy would like us to call him as his last name more than his name, since he always wanted respect but never realized or earned one.) However, I am sure that this play is meant to be a black comedy, for it is hard to deny that it is sad that he counted death worthy over surviving. But was he a tragic hero? In my opinion, he could be a reflection of our society, but not a tragic ‘hero.’ 

First of all, the life that Mr. Loman pursuit runs with the amount of the money that a man could earn. Basically, his goals of life is not there for humanity or happiness, but for the money, which is useful but not the utmost virtue for one to depend his life on. In my opinion, one should always set their goal based on his virtue and humanity, which includes happiness, loyalty, enthusiasm, respect and love. When it comes to Mr. Loman, he has neither for himself or for his family, especially not for his wife. Linda would be mentioned later, but though Linda is the only character who shows her respect for her husband, he never respects her as a wife, as a human being. If a man ought to be hero, he must have some kind of humanity where he could overcome his anxiety or obstacles, such as the feeling of loss by getting fired from the business he poured his heart on. Moreover, he wasn’t loyal or enthusiastic, nor true to what he owned. He had a love affair with the woman, which broke his son’s heart, and always lied about his career. If he was honest about his desires and hope, and the love, he wouldn’t have been lonely at the first place. He felt extremely lonely because he didn’t have self confidence to decide what he admires the most (for example, Ben, who went straight into the jungle and found the diamonds,) and expected that from his sons. Again, there is no such hero who is lacking his humanity or self conscious, the identity. This is the first point of the sadness in the reality that Arthur Miller is pointing out. We struggle for money, reach out for success too much, where we lose our selves and drown to death when something turns out wrong.

In between acts in the play, without a exception, Willy is called a kid or pal. Why is this happening? I mean, he is over his 60s, and his sons are often calling him as a kid. Bit awkward for the readers to read for the first time, but actually there are lots of connotation hidden inside. Are the people who we call ‘adults’ all grown up? In my opinion, a man is never fully grown up until he dies; and the measurement of how a man is grown up could be a measure of how he could be content about what he has it in present. Not what he used to have, or what he will going to have, but what God gave him in present time in His presence. Readers can observe how he is sick of his life flowing from the scene where he talks about the cheese. He wanted Swiss Cheese, but what he have got in his fridge is American whipped cheese, where he goes outrageous about. Those lines show how Willy could not be content about what he have got. Yes, the whipped cheese sounds pretty absurd, yet reality is all about those absurd things. Life doesn’t always flow where we planned to. It was not his fault for Biff flunking on his Math, or Willy fired by Howard, but he still got his way of life, friend who offers job, lovely wife, and two sons who are healthy. Why can’t he just support them? I do understand he has such high expectations from them since he sacrificed his life time to provide them a better life, but that’s how far he can do for them. It would have been much easier for him to be happy only if he realized how he achieved so far, and be thankful about it. 

 Thus, what I count the most that made his life so tragic, is his pride. Pride is something so small, where its impact can overload what one intended to make. Willy’s pride is makes him not righteous as all other salesman, the fathers. His pride is always in his way, grows more and more as the scene continues, and at last swallows Willy, put him to a miserable death which made nothing worth it. Life is a jungle, and one can never be perfectly passive without his pride, but he had too much of his pride without taking action, for he became a person who force his sons to achieve his wild dream for him. Also, he could not accept the fact, the reality ever since he had appeared in the play, where he could not accept the job that Charley offered for him, or tell the truth about Biff when Bernard asked about. All these because his pride could not stand on it. At this point, I noticed the reason why he is kept called a kid, because he can never let go of his pride and desires for the better things, for the virtue of life.

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2 thoughts on “Humanity, Content, and Pride.

  1. I really like how you state that the reason why Willy acts like a child is because of his pride. It is so true! as humans when we think of ourselves and the desires that will be best for us we don’t look at what we already have and what is going on in the world around us. I see how willy would want to strive for success and try to get a lot of money, but when it got in the way and clouded his judgement that is the problem. He also never was satisfied with what he had. do you think that willy ever loved Linda? I think he loved her at one point and his kids but after awhile since they didn’t give him what he was looking for he ran after what would make him happy. Have you ever considered that he wanted a lot of money so that he could give his family the best life possible and maybe in time he just ran after money and got caught up in it that he wasnt satisfied with his life that he already had?
    Just some things to think about. Keep up the great work! 🙂

    • Interesting idea about Willy’s love and his pride. Personally, I really think he loved his family, but in a wrong way. Moreover, I would say he loved himself more than he loved his wife and children. His behaviors, pride and affair proves that through the novel. He could never actually state clearly about his love affair nor talk to Biff about it. He loved his family, and desperately wanted his children to run their own life more dramatically as his brother might have done it, but he chose the difficult and harsh way to express his will to his children I guess. On the other hand, i also felt the heart and the passion about the group of people called “Fathers,” and how they give up their dreams and hopes to encourage others or maintain the right angle of the family. Maybe that is why Willy could not explain about his loneliness and confess his affair…..

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