Character Analysis of Willy Loman From Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge
Arthur Miller introduces us to the character of Willy through the
stage directions at the start of the play. Our first impression of
Willy is that of an old, tired, hardworking man who gets home after
everybody is in bed. We then learn that he has mood swings and massive
As soon as Willy enters the house we get the feeling that something is
wrong with the fact that he is home, as Linda calls "with some
trepidation". She then asks him if he has crashed the car again. This
implies that he has done it before and is a danger on the road. When
talking to Linda about what happened when he was driving he says "I
cant seem to - keep my mind to it". This gives us the first indication
about his state of mind, and, as he finds it hard to get the words
out, that he shows some difficulty in telling the truth about his
We learn of his inner dream of living in the countryside and growing
carrots, but he is hiding this dream under the dream of being
successful as a businessman.
A bit later we get an idea of how successful Willy is. Willy tries to
blame his unsuccessfulness on the fact the Frank Wagner is no longer
alive and his son, Howard, does not like him.
We then learn that Biff, his favourite son, works on a farm. Willy
does not approve of this and says "How can he find himself on a farm?
Is that a life? A farmland?" This is completely contradicting his
inner dream. This shows that he is confused about what he really
wants. Also, when talking about Biff he uses quite aggressive language
such as "goddammit!" This indicates that he has something against him,
which could be just the fact that he is working on a farm.
When talking about Biff, Willy once again contradicts himself by
saying in one line "Biff is a lazy bum!" and in a few lines down
"There's one thing about Biff- he's not lazy." This again indicates
that he is not completely in control of his mind and is unsure of what
he wants and believes in. this also shows that he sometimes gets
caught up in his dreams as he describes Biff as the perfect son, which
he quite obviously is not from his previous, more honest description.
This is what Willy wants to believe and shows that Willy can get
confused about what is real and what is not.
Then the conversation is turned to cheese. Linda tells Willy that she
has got new American whipped cheese. Willy does not like this. This
could be because the American cheese is a sign of change, and Willy
does not want things to change. Also the Swiss cheese that Willy wants
could be a sign of tradition and old times and also it is a natural
cheese, so displays Willy's likeness for natural things.
Willy then says "you cant raise a carrot in the backyard". This again
refers to his dream for...