Willy Is the Antithesis of Charley in Death of a Salesman

Topics: Death of a Salesman, Physical Appearance, Plays Pages: 3 (1029 words) Published: July 20, 2008
In the play Death of a Salesman, the author, Arthur Miller created certain characters that were meant to personify any average citizen, great or small. Willy Loman and Biff is the antithesis of Charley and Bernard’s character, respectively. Among the numerous ways that Charley and Willy are different, one of the key contrasts between these two men is their personalities. Willy’s characteristics in the play can be portrayed as resentful, and judgmental. On the other side of the spectrum, Willy’s old friend and neighbor, Charley, is a benevolent, and mellow man. Additionally, Charley and Willy have contrasting views on how to achieve success in life. Biff and Bernard’s character in the play mirrors their father’s roles, as their characters are polar opposites of each other in terms of outward appearances and achievement.

Charley’s compassionate character is very dissimilar to Willy’s envious and resentful nature. Throughout the play, it becomes increasingly clear that Charley’s level of success in life far exceeds that of Willy’s accomplishments. Willy’s failure in life was made clear by the comment he made when he was fired. “After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.” (act 2, scene 4) Charley’s benevolent character was revealed by his act of lending money to Willy to pay for his insurance and expenses. Charley’s kindness was also shown when he offered a job to Willy that did not require him to go on the road and could provide him with regular pay. Willy’s envious and resentful nature made him feel very annoyed by Charley’s success. Mr. Loman’s resentment was clearly demonstrated when he refused to accept his kind neighbor’s offer of employment. Thus, Charley’s action in the play depicts him as a benevolent and kind individual, while Willy’s decisions and behavior illustrates him to be a resentful character.

Arthur Miller portrays Willy as a very judgmental person, which is very...
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