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The Values of the Ordinary Man - DOAS Cheat Sheet by

The values of ordinary men in death of a salesman

The definition of ordinary

with no special or distin­ctive features; normal.
This goes without saying that what is said to be ordinary, is a subjective matter and changes from one person to the next.


How can one identify the values of an ordinary man when there are no such criteria that define an ordinary man. Are the values of an ordinary man to grow up ordinary and have an ordinary family; a wife, 2.4 children, a home and a white picket fence? If this is what consti­tutes the values an ordinary man then Willy is an ordinary man.
What Willy also depicts is the struggle for those caught between the dualities of the ordinary man and those struggling with mental illnesses, which were yet to be discov­ered.

Commentary - "­Tragedy and the Common Man."

P. xxxviii
"­Willy Loman is designed to be a protag­onist capable of sustaining the scope, depth and sheer dramatic tension tradit­ionally associated with legendary figures from the grand theatrical past"


As is true with most of Arthur Miller's plays, he wishes to teach his audience, force them to confront something 'wrong' with society. Thus, presenting Willy Loman as an 'ordinary man' is pivotal to the play. Having the protag­onist be an ordinary man allows the audience to see and become aware of how they have become entangled in the snare of Consum­erism or grandeur of the American dream.


“What value can one ordinary man have in a magical world? What can a mortal bring to the affairs of immortals?
Insight. Honor. Morality. Perspe­ctive.
Because nothing makes love and life matter more than the knowledge that some day it must end.”

― Simon R. Green, Drinking Midnight Wine


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