A good drama is based on a strong set of characters. For instance, a good collection of characters will lead the audience to identify the characters with something in the real world and get emotionally involved with the characters. Every individual has its own character, which is composed of personalities, behaviors and individualities. The audience compare characters to evaluate and relate the characters’ experiences to their own lives. By possessing the ability to understand characters’ identities from different dramas, the audience can draw comparisons.
Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman, and Walter Lee Younger from A Raisin in the Sun, play a big part in the outcome of their respective drama and show a lot of similarity in their principles while differences in personality lead them to different endings. Willy, a salesman, has high hopes for himself and his sons, but ends up with all his dreams crushed. Willy is the main character in Death of a Salesman. He is a father of two sons, Biff and Happy, and husband to Linda, a housewife.
Willy often lapses into the past and talks to himself. He believes physical appearance to be the catalyst of a successful career; however, his sons, who are well built and attractive, turned out to be failures: ” Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such-personal attractiveness, gets lost. “(Discovering Literature, 1215) His high expectation for his sons and their failure hurt him. Willy pretends to be a successful man in front of his wife.
In addition, Willy does not like his wife to mend stockings, because he feels guilty for giving stockings to his mistress and not his wife: “Willy (angrily taking the stocking from her wife): “I won’t have you mending stockings in this house! Now throw them out! ” (Discovering Literature, 1228) At last, Willy kills himself, because he needs to clear his conscience for being unfaithful to his wife and escape his problems. On the other hand, Walter, a chauffeur, dreams of being rich but his first try in business fails miserably.
He is the husband to Ruth and father to Travis in A Raisin in the Sun. Walter lives in a time when segregation has just ended. Therefore, Walter’s desire to break free from his white employer is very strong. Walter is childish and immature. For instance, when he is forced to make a decision about his wife’s pregnancy, he indirectly agrees to Ruth’s decision to abortion. His mother is disappointed by her son’s weakness: “If you a son of mine, tell her! (Walter picks up his keys and his coat and walks out. She continues, bitterly. ) You…you are a disgrace to your father’s memory. (Discovering Literature, 1318)
Then, Walter decides to joint venture with his friends to start a liquor store using the insurance money from his father’s death. His ignorance to the business world eventually costs him all his money. One of Walter’s business partners steals his money, and Walter learns from that incident but it comes at a high price. However, Walter’s mother thinks although the money is lost, her son has come out as a better person: “He finally come into his manhood today, didn’t he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain….. ” (Discovering Literature, 1359) Willy and Walter are very similar in many ways.
For instance, they love their family. Walter’s intention to become rich is driven by his wish to give his family a better life: “Walter (rising and coming to her and standing over her): You tired, ain’t you? Tired of everything. Me, the boy, the way we live-this beat-up hole-everything. Ain’t you? ” (Discovering Literature, 1295) Meanwhile, Willy’s love for his sons is unquestionable. Many instances in the play he would lapse into the past before he drifted apart from his sons: “Remarkable. Ts. Remember those days? The way Biff used to simonize that car? The dealer refused to believe there was eighty thousand miles on it. (Discovering Literature, 1216)
In addition, both characters share a desire to be successful. Willy is an admirer of his brother, a successful entrepreneur, and wants to be like him. Also, his brother offers Willy a place in Alaska, but Willy wants to be successful in his own city to prove himself: “Willy: We’ll do it here, Ben! You hear me? We’re gonna do it here! ” (Discovering Literature, 1253) At the same time, Walter wants to break free from his white employer and be a successful liquor merchant. Lastly, the final similarity is that both of them fail to become rich and known.
Walter loses his money to a con man and Willy did not have the luck to become a successful salesman. Although Walter and Willy are similar, they are also unique characters with different personalities. Although both of them are unsuccessful in becoming rich, how they deal with this failure is different. Walter is young and has more chances. So, he is able to recover from his disappointment in a short period of time. However, Willy is already an old man so his frustration is more profound which eventually, along with other circumstances, leads him to commit suicide. Both of them are also different in terms of their position in their family.
Willy is the head of his family while Walter follows his mother’s orders. Walter cannot make a decision without consulting and getting his mother’s approval; however, Willy sets the rules for his house. Willy and Walter are characters with a strong drive toward success but inevitably due to life’s cruel fate ends up losing everything. They share the same fate but the outcome of their failure is different. Both Willy and Walter are good characters with strong personalities to capture the audience’s attention. Inevitably, the viewers will make comparison between themselves and the characters because of their similar goal.