A common idea used throughout literature is the issue of freedom of the individual in opposition to the controlling pressures of society. Willy Loman, the main character in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, epitomizes this type of person; one who looks to his peers and co-salesmen as lesser individuals. Not only is Willy competitive and overbearing, but he seeks after an ideal that is not in his grasp: becoming the greatest salesman ever. Determined to make money, Willy becomes uncontrollable and somewhat insane. Through his dialogue and actions, Willy portrays a character of great insecurity, persistence, and unknown identity.
From the very beginning of life, Willy Loman experiences problems with popularity and his personality. As a result, he is tied to the bottom of the business world as an unsuccessful salesman. Willy believes that being well-liked and having a personal attractiveness, together, can bring success, money, and many friends. Ironically, Willy does not have many friends and many people do not like him. With that in mind, Willy thinks that doors will open and problems will disappear on their own.
Willy's life as a salesman is built on a dream that he witnesses as a child. At an early age, Willy hears of a salesman, Dave Singleman, who can make his living out of a hotel room. Singleman is very successful and when he dies, people from all over the country come to his funeral. It is this ideal that Willy Loman seeks after, all he ever wants is fame, popularity, and a few friends. Unfortunately, when Willy dies, not a single person comes to his funeral. Willy's life, is one that is spent trying to become another person, namely Dave Singleman, becomes a waste in the long run. .
In reflection of his career with the Wagner Company, many other problems arise that force economic difficulties on him and his family. He is determined to live by ideals that place him above everyone else.