Death Of A Salesman, By Arthur Miller, Characterization Of Happy Loman

952 words - 4 pages

Imagine a quiet home in Brooklyn, New York where a family lives with their two grown sons who are visiting, a strong devoted wife who keeps the family together, and an off the wall husband, whose flashbacks and lack of real self-worth lead to his suicide. This is the home where Happy Loman grew up, and returns to in the play "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller. Happy Loman is an attractive male who may appear to have it all and be satisfied with his life, but on the inside it is apparent that this is not true from his insecurity and need for attention. He is quite the philanderer, using women for his own personal pleasure and nothing more. However, his one redeeming quality is that he does attempt to be a peacemaker for his family in the many disputes that ensue throughout the play. Happy Loman has a rampant reputation for his uncanny ability to allure women. His charm and inferred good looks illustrate how simple it is for him to have his way with any woman he sees fit. While waiting for his father Willy, Happy says, "Look at that mouth. Oh, God. And the binoculars." (Miller 1226). Instantly, Happy's assessment of the woman entering the bar is purely physical. He doesn't seem to care whether or not she is intelligent, or caring, or thoughtful. He simply focuses on the physical attractiveness of the individual of the moment. This sense of womanizing is not merely known to the audience. Linda, Happy's mother is talking to him about his father saying, "Is this his reward? To turn around at the age of sixty-three and find his sons, who he loved better than his life, one a philandering bum-" (1203). This evidences that the problem is not simply within himself, but it is also apparent to those closest to him as well. Happy questions his own way of living and is dissatisfied with it on the inside. He does not know how to change himself. He says to Biff during a late night chat "I get that anytime I want, Biff. Whenever I feel disgusted. The only trouble is, it gets like bowling or something. I just keep knockin' them over and it doesn't mean anything." (1186). While this is still disrespectful towards women, it also shows a glimmering spark of hope that Happy wants to end his life as a philanderer and become a better man. He's tired of the tediousness of his existence, and wants something in life with more meaning than how many women he can get. Perhaps Happy is using his lust for women to attempt to fulfill everything that is missing in his life. His feelings of jealousy and diminutive resentment towards his brother, and his desperation for attention from his parents lead Happy to find his happiness wherever is the most...

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