Charley & Bernard: Character Analysis in Death of a Salesman

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Charley and his son Bernard

      Charley and his son Bernard are set against the Lomans as a set of contrast. They are not dreamers. Charley is a practical man with good sense and innate goodwill for Willy. Though fat more successful than the Lomans, they always have a sympathetic ear and a helping hand for them. The Lomans find them ludicrous, because they do not care for becoming personally attractive. Willy exonerates his sons of their faults and shortcomings by saying that he does not want them to become book-worms like Bernard.

      But toil and labor make an advocate of a book-worm. He achieves distinctions about which he is very modest and has the tact not to tell the neighbors about it. Perhaps this involves consideration for them too. Charley bears Willy’s crazy talks, tolerates his unreasonable hostility and gives help without any expectation of gratitude or return on the part of Willy. Willy is really lucky in having such a generous and compassionate neighbor. Yet, he is disillusioned, cracking ironical jokes all the time. Charley has learnt to compromise with the business world, retaining his genuine initial humanity. In the whole play, he is the only one who understands the total reality of Willy. Charley works hard, with common sense, sans any ecstatic devotion of fanatic allegiance to his goal. Their (Willy’s and Charley’s) views are sharply divergent, though both live in the same background.

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