Willy Loman is a pathetic and tragic hero of "Death of a Salesman". His problems stem from his own delusions, the American Dream turning sour and misunderstanding his job and family. All of this tells the story o f everyday people in American society. His environment is changing faster than his beliefs which is the crux of his problem.
His own delusions are a result of his failure to succeed in life. He still believes he is popular, respected and good looking, but at age 63, he is none of those. Nobody liked him that much since very few people came to his funeral. His delusion was that there would be people across the country coming to the funeral. However, in those moments that he begins to realize the truth, his wife Linda while understanding his situation, supports his delusion. She says to him that "you're the best looking man in the world". But the truth is that being popular and good looking is not how one achieves success. It would be through hard work and perseverance.
The American Dream has long turned sour for him. At the beginning of his life, he remembers traveling in a wagon going westward. His parents conquered the new frontier and succeeded. His brother Ben went "into the jungle at 17 and came out rich at age 21". For a while, the American Dream was alive in Willy too. He helped stake out new territory by selling his goods, his son Biff was going to go to the university with a scholarship and he had a home.
Over the years, times changed and his dreams were shattered. He was forced to work on commission at an old age, was fired later by his godson, his favored son Biff had wandered about the country doing many odd jobs, and his home was now surrounded by apartment buildings which blocked out the sunlight. He was not a success in selling , he failed to raise his sons and his beliefs were just delusions.
Willy Loman misunderstood his family and job with profound repercussions. He totally misunderstood his occupation by trying to sell himself rather than the products. He could not hope to succeed because there was virtually nothing to advance him. People couldn't buy anything from him because there was nothing to sell in the first place. Because of this, he eventually lost his job. His family was something he equally misunderstood. His wife and 2 children did not let him know that they knew the truth about him. They wouldn't tell him that his beliefs were wrong even though they knew that he was trying to kill himself. They did not always support him. As Biff was leaving the restaurant, he told Happy to take care of his father. Happy rejected him and he told the 2 girls he had picked up that Willy was not his father but was "just a guy". Willy left the restaurant very humiliated. His son Biff no longer had the same ideals as Willy or respected him much after his affair with Miss Francis. He had instilled the idea along with Linda that they had the ability to save him but they didn't. He later dies to escape the repercussions of the problems he has caused himself.
The pathetic and tragic hero of "Death of Salesman" is Willy Loman. He had a bright future but later got lost along the way. This is the story of the "Low Man". Many believe in ideals like Willy, many have had the American Dream fail and many did not recognize that their family lost their way because of them. It is a tragedy that a man with so much potential lost it by believing in the wrong things and never realizing the truth.