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What did Willie have against Charley? Why wouldn't Willie take him up on his job...

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olgal55 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 31, 2010 at 12:20 PM via web

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What did Willie have against Charley? Why wouldn't Willie take him up on his job offer?

Even when it is apparent that Charley has become successful, Willie still does not respect Charley. Is there something I am overlooking in the play that explains this?

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jseligmann | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted April 1, 2010 at 1:16 AM (Answer #1)

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The answer above has the names wrong. It is Howard who is the son of Willy's original boss (whose name is Frank), not Charlie.

Charlie is Willy's next-door neighbor. He has real sympathy for what Willy is going through, and he has been regularly lending Willy money for years. Willy, of course, says that he will pay Charlie back, but he never will. They both know this.

Willy is embarrased by the position he is in vis-a-vis Charlie. Charlie is a succesful businessman and Willy is exhausted and losing it. He cannot take Charlie up on his job offer because of his embarrassment, his pride, and what taking a job would mean to Willy's dwindling sense of self.

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mkcapen1 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted March 31, 2010 at 12:48 PM (Answer #2)

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In the play Death of a Salesman Willy Lowman had worked for Charlie's father when the business was new.  He knew Charlie as a boy and at the time Willy was helping his father to build up the company and felt accomplished.

Charlie later takes over the company and Willy has trouble accepting ad respecting him since Willy felt that he was still the boy not the man who now has a right to be respected.  Willy liked the way Charlie's father did business.

Willy also sees himself failing in his role.  When Charlie offers him the other job, it is pretty much an insult to Willy.

This is more of an inference within the story line.  It is also questionable if Charlie did not offer Willy the other job as a way to get him to quit.  Charlie knows Willy ad his abilities ad he sure must know that Willy can not go off and start all over at his age and mentality.

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