In Death of a Salesman, what is the signifance of the characters who appear rarely, if at all, on the play as a whole?The characters I have identified as this are: The Woman, Stanley, Miss Forsythe...

In Death of a Salesman, what is the signifance of the characters who appear rarely, if at all, on the play as a whole?

The characters I have identified as this are: The Woman, Stanley, Miss Forsythe and Letta. So if you can help, please answer in relation to these characters.

Asked on by lozzy0208

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Jessica Pope | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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In "Death of a Salesman," minor characters support the character development of the major characters: Willy Loman and his two sons Biff and Happy. The Woman, Stanley, Miss Forsythe and Letta all reflect Willy Loman's character and his troubled relationship with his sons. Willy had an affair with The Woman, and when his eldest son Biff catches him in the act, he loses respect for his father and confidence in himself. He gives up on his aspirations of performing well academically and descends into depression. Miss Forsythe and Letta are prostitutes. Willy's younger son Happy (who has a troubled relationship with both his father and his brother) flirts relentlessly with them, thus demonstrating his uncontrolled sex drive. Happy's sex drive and ambition are both defense mechanisms that keep his self-esteem up despite his distressed family relationships. Stanley is Happy's friend and also flirts with the two prostitutes. The interaction between Stanley and Happy further demonstrates how Happy's flirtatiousness operates as a defense mechanism. These minor characters provide situations for the further development of plot and character development in the play.
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