Willy Loman’s Suffering


Suffering is identified as an individual’s effective experience of aversion or unpleasantness that can culminate from threat of harm or harm itself. In most cases, suffering is identified in the physical of mental aspects. Suffering might be experienced in different degrees ranging from the intolerable to the mild type of suffering. In the 1949 play, Death of a Salesman, the protagonist Willy Loman, undergoes a lot of suffering and in most cases, the suffering that he is subjected to, is attributed to his own personal mistakes. He not only subjects himself to surmountable suffering but also causes a lot of suffering for his family. Although he instigates his own death due to self-realization as a means of amending his past mistakes, he dies a forgotten man owing to the suffering he had brought into his life up to his death.


Dave Singleman was Willy’s main inspiration in the salesman job and he was willing to go to any extent to ensure that he became as famous as his inspiration. In this case, he encouraged his children to be assiduous in school such that Biff was prepared to go to any extent to make his father proud. This however changed during his last year in high school when Biff discovers his father’s infidelity and decides never to work towards his father’s pride. Willy suffers from this because his son who had a promising career ahead of him converts into a person with illusions and no reality due to his father’s infidelity. Though his family does not break after this incidence, his son leaves home and decides to come back fourteen years later. Over that period, Willy Loman never gets the chance to see his son and be a good father.

Willy is entrenched into quagmire of lies, self-deception and delusions that make him to support his son even when he knows that he had committed a crime. Consequently, he had been borrowing money from Charley, which he posited as his salary. To save him any embarrassment, Charley offers him a job that could provide him with the money he needed because his sales job was not according him anything substantial. Although Willy knows that he would suffer from the debt he was incurring at Charley’s, he had his pride and refused to take the job offered. When he lost his job, Willy borrows more money from Charley but refuses to take the job on offer. To him he would rather suffer from debts and lack of money rather than work for Charley. In this case, self-deception was working in him to the extent where he would rather suffer but try to become a famous sales man.

Initially, he had made mistakes when bringing up his sons. When they were accused of stealing anything, he would always defend them even though Linda opposed him in most cases. When Biff was accused of stealing a football, he defended him and when both biff and Happy were caught stealing lumber, he still defended them. Instead of punishing them for their evil deeds, he encourages them to indulge in evil activities at a higher perspective. He even inquires from Bernard why Biff had become a failure. He suffers from this phenomenon because his son even decided not to talk to him, as he was the main cause why he had ended up a failure. Instead of Willy focusing on how he could be able to better his life, he always dwells on the illusions of his brother coming for him so that he could be able to acquire as much wealth as Ben had acquired.


Willy Loman is the cause of all his suffering. He only experiences happiness during the period that his sons were in high school. This is because they both had promising careers in the future but he brings to an end Biff’s dream when he indulges in infidelity. Due to his self-deception, he chases a job that does not provide him with the means of a superior livelihood while he turns down a very well paying job. This does not only affect him negatively but affects his family to some extent. He cannot forge a good relationship with his son Biff but decides to take extreme measures of ending his life so that Biff could claim the insurance money that would provide him with his dream business. In conclusion, though he instigates his own death due to self-realization as a means of amending his past mistakes, he dies a forgotten man owing to the suffering he had brought into his life up to his death.


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