Death of a salesman role of ben

The character of Ben in Arthur Miller’s, Death Of A Salesman, functions as a catalyst to fuel the development of the main character, Willy Loman. Ben serves as the figure for which Willy subconsciously and consciously strives to be like throughout the play. Willy seems so obsessed with his brother’s success and the idea of living his brother’s life, that he loses control over his own life and reality. By exploring Ben’s character we can learn Willy’s personality and character, proving that Ben’s personal morals become Willy’s rules of life. The contrast between Ben and Willy’s characters allows the reader to recognize the importance of letting go of the past and not dwelling on mistakes made or regrets. The first time Ben appears is in a flashback within Willy’s mind. This flashback is used as an interruption of Willy’s feelings of inadequacy about his present situation where he has returned home from a selling trip, unable to concentrate and unable to keep his mind in the present. This flashback with Ben provides us with a great amount of information about Ben, and thus about Willy. We learn first that Ben was a lot wealthier then Willy, they were brothers, and they did not grow up together. We also learn through the flashback that Willy glorifies Ben for his successes. ” Ben! I’ve been waiting for you so long! What’s the answer? How did you do it?” Obviously, Ben has achieved what Willy wishes for. We find out that Ben has made a fortune through ” Principally, dimond mines” in Africa. He has prospered by essentially using other people and the land for what they can give him. ” When I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by god I was rich.” Willy believes that this is an excellent way to make money and tries to apply it to his own situation. He believes a person does not need to put in a lot of hard work to achieve success, instead, Ben’s way is the best way. The flashback also tells of Ben explaining to Biff, ” Never fight fair with a stranger(1939).” This shows us his morals and values, that you cannot trust people, and that you should always take advantage of people you don’t know, the essence of Ben’s character. Since Willy believes that Ben is a good example of a success, he believes in what he says and that his boys should follow this. Such is demonstrated in the scene where he encourages Biff to take advantage of Benard and cheat off of him in math instead of learning it himself. The second quasi-flashback has Ben placed into a scene in Willy’s mind, when he was never actually there, a demonstration of how Willy’s mind works. He now envisions things as he would like them to have happened. For example, when he is telling Linda how much he sold, he believes he has sold more then he did. In his mind, if circumstances were different, he would have actually sold that much. Ben is used again in Willy’s mind as a distraction when he has just been fired, and Willy cannot deal with the truth. He ” remembers” a conversation that never actually happened, and is in fact talking to Ben as he might if Ben were actually there in the present. ” Oh Ben, how did you do it? What is the answer?” We can see that Willy is looking towards his brother for help, for advice on how to make it in life. The third time Ben appears is in a complete hallucination. He appears completely within Willy’s mind, someone Willy is talking to about his decision of suicide. He uses Ben to provide support and justification for his decision. Ben is a very materialistic person, believing insurance money will do children better than love and support. We see Willy struggling with this idea, trying to find some way to provide for his boys and ultimately choosing to kill himself to do so. Willy does not see this as an end to his own life, but rather the only thing he has left to do in his life that can provide for his sons. It is evident throughout the whole story that all Willy wanted was for his family to be happy. Ben is essentially Willy’s role model throughout the play and acts as someone who has achieved the true essence, in Willy’s mind, of the ” American dream” and someone who walked out of the jungle rich at 21. Biff states at the end during his father’s funeral ” he (Willy) had all the wrong dreams.” Willy was so caught up in achieving the ” American Dream”, and accomplishing Ben’s life, that he was unable to see dreams are different for everyone. He couldn’t see who he was, choosing realistic goals for himself. Through exploration of Ben’s character, we are able to answer questions as to who Willy is. Had he not idolized this foreign man, perhaps he would have chosen more pragmatic goals and dreams for himself. Through Ben’s three appearances in the play, we are given a chance to view Willy and his interactions with Ben, and his total belief that Ben is a hero. Willy is constantly chasing him; he is constantly running to catch up to his brother. Even when Ben is just an hallucination in Willy’s mind, Willy believes in him fully, Therefore, Ben allows for the