What are physical, behavioral, moral, and motivational characteristics of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are elements of delusional and unstable behavior in Willly from the beginning of the play.  He hasn't been able to drive safely for a while (although we do not know how much of his problem is inability to drive and how much is realted to his desire to kill himself), yet he heads out on the road to Boston to "represent" his company.  There is evidence that he has not been able to sell much recently (he has been moved from salary to commission), but he continues to make the trip he can't make.  In his early conversations his mind wanders, and he contradicts himself.  It's seems clear to the viewer that he is a man in serious trouble, although it is not clear early in the play what this is about.

As the play evolves we come to realize that the central issue in his life is his being caught with a "buyer" when Biff follows him to Boston to try to get Willy to help him with his failing Algebra grade.  That moment changed everything in Biff's and Willy's lives.  Biff's view of his...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 588 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team