Death of a Salesman Characters at a Glance

Death of a Salesman key characters:

  • In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is an aging traveling salesman who laments not being able to help his sons achieve financial success.

  • Biff Loman is Willy’s older son who fails to secure a loan to start his business. He resents Willy’s idealism but still loves him.

  • Happy Loman is Willy’s younger son who works as a store clerk and pursues hedonistic interests.

  • Uncle Ben is Willy’s brother who strikes it rich in the diamond mines and sparks Willy’s feelings of inadequacy.

  • Bernard is the son of Charley, Willy’s friend and neighbor. Bernard’s success is a counterpoint to the failures of Willy’s sons.


Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Willy Loman

Willy Loman, a sixty-three-year-old traveling salesman who has begun to dwell on the past and not to know where he is. In the last two days of his life, his past rolls before him. He is a father who loves his sons and wants them to have worldly success, although he does not know how to help them achieve it. His last gesture for his son Biff is to commit suicide so that the son can have the insurance money.

Biff Loman

Biff Loman, Willy’s thirty-four-year-old son, who is still trying to find himself. A high-school athlete, he gets nowhere after graduation. When he is refused a loan to start a business, he steals a cheap fountain pen. Angry and defeated, he curses his father as a fool and a dreamer, though he loves the man.

Happy Loman

Happy Loman, Willy’s younger son, modestly successful in life as a clerk in a store. He is a woman chaser and a seeker after pleasure.


Charley, Willy Loman’s friend and neighbor. He lends Willy money and offers him a job.


Bernard, Charley’s son, a successful lawyer whose own success is an accusation to Willy’s sons.

Linda Loman

Linda Loman, Willy’s wife, a fearful but patient woman who loves her husband despite his failures.

Howard Wagner

Howard Wagner, the son of Willy’s boss. He lets Willy know that he is finished as a salesman.

Uncle Ben

Uncle Ben, Willy’s brother. He goes out into the jungle and in a few years returns from the diamond mines a rich man. His success is an accusation to Willy.

The woman

The woman, an unnamed character whom Biff, as a teenager, finds in a hotel room with his father.