Was Willy really a coward?

“Death of the Salesman” by Arthur Miller is really a heart touching play that describes the traumatic situation of a salesman named Willy Loman while struggling to fulfill his family’s needs during the great depression in America. The author has successfully described how the economic condition of the people declined during the depression. In the play, Willy Loman endeavors hard to earn for his family and fulfill their dreams until the end of his life.


While discussing about the play in the class, some of my classmates referred Willy Loman as insane and coward person. According to them, he did not have enough courage to fight for his rights and overcome his problems. However, I believe that he was really a strong person. He tried his best to solve his problem. Till the end, he was planting the new seeds in his backyard as new hopes which show that he never lost his hope. The reason behind his committing suicide was to help his family to get insurance in order to overcome their financial crisis and start new business. He had dreams for his family and especially, for his son, Biff. He also realized his mistake of having an extra-marital affair with the woman in Boston, and he is guilty for it. Moreover, he blamed himself for Biff not becoming a football player and destroying his life. While trying to fulfill his family’s needs, he certainly forgot about himself. He had many hidden secrets in his heart due to which he used to talk to himself. It does not necessarily mean that he was a lunatic or a coward. Actually, he was so frustrated of not being able to fulfill his family’s needs. All the situations stood against his expectations. It was just his misfortune for which he cannot be blamed.


The strong determination of Willy reminded me of my mother.  My mother tried her best for the treatment of my father when he was ill.  At the same time my father also had desired to get well. Despite all the efforts made by my parents as well as doctors, he could not get well and retrieve back to his normal life. Sometimes in life no matter how hard we try, we cannot gain what we want. It is not anyone’s fault and any one can be blamed for it. It is just a phase of our life or somehow our misfortune that we cannot succeed and get what we want. We have to accept the truth and move on in our life.


Digya Shrestha

One Response to Was Willy really a coward?

  1. aditi27 says:

    Dear Digya,
    Your post made the character of Willy clearer to me. However, I hesitate to accept Willy as a courageous man. He tried to commit suicide many times, and it is not clear whether he did it for his insurance or something else. Moreover, Willy had the quilt made out of his illusions covering him from facing the reality of world. He lived on his own assuptions and own world that would be in favor of him, which infact wasnot. He wanted Biff to be what he imagined, but did not try to understand what Biff himself wanted to become.

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