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Death of a Salesman - Willy Lomans tragedy is due more to his own flawed
character than to societies flaws
        Advancements in science throughout this century have led to tremendous
advancements in industry.  Advancements in industry, however, have not
always led to advancements in living.  For some, society has created mass
wealth.  For most mass society has created a standard of living unparalled
throughout histort.  For Willy Loman, however, mass society has created
only tremendous greif and hardship, agravated by the endless promise.  For
these reasons, his tragidy is due more to societies flaws than to the flaws
in his own character.
     Willy Loman was host to many flaws and deficiencies ranging form
suicidal tendencies to phychotic disorders.  However, these shortcomings
did not account for his tragic end, not by themselves anyway.  Soviety is
to blame.  It was society who stripped him of his dignity, piece by piece.
It was society who stripped him of his lifestyle, and his own sons who
stripped him of hope.
     The most obvious flaw in society is greed, the desire to get ahead of
the next guy.  This malady is present on a national level.  It is the
philosophy of business and comprises the dreams of man.  Sometimes, this
can drive man to great things, sometimes it can drive a man to ruin.  Willy
was driven to the latter.  (Not his own greed for he was a simple man with
simple dreams, but by the greed of others.)  The developers who took away
the sun and gave birth to shadows, his boss who reduced him to commission
and his sons which reduced him to a failure.
     The next largest flaw in society is a lack of compassion.  This could
be as a result of almost overwhelming greed, the main culprit being big
     "I'm always in a race with the junkyard!  I just finished paying for
the car and it's on it last legs.  The refrigerator consumes belts like a
goddam maniac.  They time those things."(Act 2, page 73, lines 16-19)
     Willy's belief in this statement drew him to believe that big business
lacked compassion.  It is because of this that he is abandoned by Biff and
disowned by Happy, left babbling in a toilet.  It is this flaw which
allowed him to die a slow death and played the greatest role in his
eventual downfall.
     The third largest flaw in society (particularly American society) is
the lack of a social safety net.  A net which identifies people in trouble
and seeks to remedy their situations.  A body identifies people who are a
danger to themselves and others and treats or sedates them.  Couple this
with a pension plan and medical care, and Willy Loman might not have met
his premature end.  He would have had no reason thanklessly for a company,
in a capicity that was "killing" him.  Instead, he could have received
psychiatric help and recovered from his condition.
     It was the direct result of the flaws in society which led Willy to
his undoing.  It was the greed that was ever-pervasive around him that led
to his unhappieness.  It was the lack of compassion from society which
allowed his unhappieness to flourish and which eventually consumed him.  In
the end, it was the lack of a social safety net which failed to save him
from himself.
  by Mike Lesage
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