Explain The Difference Between A Major Character And A Minor Character And Illustrate Your Answer From Death Of A Salesman.

892 words - 4 pages

Death of a Salesman examines how the life of Willy Loman spirals downwards towards suicide. Willy is clearly the main character as he has the most stage time, connects with the audience, and influences the other characters lives. When compared to Willy, Charley and Happy's roles are far smaller but not less important because they provide contrast. They advance the development of Willy's character and give the audience insight into Willy's feelings. Charley shows what drives Willy to strive for success, but is not himself a main character while he does not relate to the audience and Happy shows the effect Willy has had on his sons life.Charley, Willy's rich and successful neighbour, provides contrast to the mess that Willy's mind and life is in. Charley has fulfilled the American dream. He has built a thriving business and has plenty of money, which is shown when he so easily gives Willy $50 each week. This contrasts so greatly with Linda who is always worrying about money and bills that the audience begins to understand where Willy's franticness comes from. All around him Willy sees men who have used all their opportunities and have built something worthwhile, while he sees his own life as wasted and useless. When he compares himself to Charley, Howard or Ben, he finds himself lacking. In this way these minor characters serve to show how Willy has arrived at the emotional brink on which he teeters. Charley and Willy's relationship guides the audience back to the root of Willy's obsession with success, that he is constantly comparing himself to others who are successful.Despite his important role, Charley cannot be considered a main character because the audience does not relate to him. Although we can appreciate his kindness to Willy and his understanding of Willy's problems, he is too perfect. Willy is like us, although we may hope we are not too much like him. Willy Loman is a dreamer. He dreams of being rich, famous, liked and admired, but has no real awareness of reality and the necessary work and effort that goes into success. Although most of the audience will not be at the same extreme that Willy is, where he is lying to everyone about everything and is about to kill himself, they can still recognise their own bad habits in his actions such as bragging to his sons about how 'well-liked' he is through out New England, lying to Linda about the amount of money he's earning and not truly facing reality. In this way Willy reflects the audience's fears, that their bad habits will lead them into insanity and...

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