Willy's Loneliness and Alienation in Death of a Salesman
Willy Loman’s feelings of alienation and loneliness are direct psychological results of his interaction with society and the conditions that are found within it. Although, he does not necessarily have the ability or allow himself to have the ability to define his feelings as such, they are still very much a part of his everyday existence. This is evident in his constant bragging and attempted compensation. He does not feel that he is truly a part of society. Indeed, he is not. Miller himself seems to be saying that this is not necessarily a bad thing; this society is not that wonderful. Yet Willy still yearns to be like his brother, Ben, and the other men he sees making up the work force. He desperately wants to command respect and be a part of the group. Although usually he just goes about his business as best he can, he does at times admit his feelings:
‘Cause I get so lonely—especially when business is bad and there’s nobody to talk to. I get the feeling that I’ll never sell anything again, that I won’t make a living for you, or a business, a business for the boys. There’s so much I want to make for— (Baym 2001)
He wants to provide for Linda and for the boys, but he does not know how to go about this within the confines of society and still maintain his individuality. Even the things he dreams of having for himself and for his family are shallow. He will never find relief from his search because even if he reaches his goals of modest financial success he would still be left wanting.
Willy’s life teeters between these petty concrete objects and his grandiose verbal projections. In past, present, and fantasy, Willy expresses himself through clichés and repetitions in a formulaic chant. However, he achieves neither popularity nor success as a salesman, and he fails as a gardener, mechanic, husband, father. (Martin 67)
He cannot even achieve small goals. He has no real feeling of self-worth, and this lack of self-confidence is...