Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Compare and contrast Willy and Charley in Death of a Salesman

Expert Answers info

Kristopher Parisian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor


calendarEducator since 2011

write3,640 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

Willy and Charley are contemporaries, growing up at the same time and in the same place, and even working in the same profession. Though they share this history, they grow into very different people. Charley is a hard-working realist who raises a son who becomes a success. Willy is an entitled dreamer who raises two sons to share his own specific mode of failure - a compulsion to fantasize and a willingness to supplant reality with fantasy. 

Looking strictly at the facts, Willy has worked as a salesman for as many years as Charley, and has managed to pay off his house. However, Willy has no...

(The entire section contains 412 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial


simamauganda | Student

Willy and Charley are very different. While Willy has a pathetic need to be loved and liked, Charley on the other hand feels that it’s not of any importance whether a man is liked or not.

Charley is also more successful financially than Willy. Charley owns a business and even offers Willy a job which he arrogantly declines. He also gives Willy 50 dollars per week, as we learn from Linda since Willy’s can no longer sell.

Both men also are very different in bringing up their children. While Willy pushes his sons,Biff and Happy, to follow a particular dream, of being in business, Charley on the other hand tells Willy that he never pushed his son Bernard about what to be. He,Bernard, eventually became a lawyer arguing a “a case in the supreme court".

check Approved by eNotes Editorial