I’ve chosen to compare four of the characters from the plays attitudes towards personal ethics and business ethics. The four characters Willy, Charley, Howard(Willy’s boss) and Ben have very different views on the two ethics.
I will start with the protagonist Willy. He clearly expresses his attitude early in the play.
Through the way he teaches his kids to work towards a goal that will give them a lot of wealth and other material goods, not the a goal which they will enjoy for the rest of their life. And since he has not achieved this, he tells him self and truly believes that he is the perfect salesman. Like his ideal salesman Dave Singleman, only Dave Singleman is an exception of the rule.
His attitude to business ethics is quite simple. He believes that you don’t need to work hard and get a good education to get a good job. The only thing you need to make sure of is to be well liked. As long as your well liked you will get a good job. This is why he talks down at Charley’s son Bernard. Bernard tries to get Biff to study, and Willy calls him a worm. I believe he does this because he has realized that he is actually wrong in his theory of being well liked instead of well educated.
We don’t hear too much about Charley’s attitude towards personal ethics, but from our own understanding and from what he teaches his son Bernard.
His attitude is more or less the opposite of Willy’s. He teaches his son that if he work hard and get a good education, then he will be rewarded for this later in life as a more structured and wise worker.
Charley’s attitude towards business is also an opposite to that of Willy’s. All his life Charley has been working hard to get far in his the business he’s in. From working hard he has build up his own lawyer firm. We can see that he has realized that Willy’s not doing to well in business and therefore he loans Willy money every week.
Howard which is Willy’s boss has a personal ethic attitude which is very similar to many of today’s powerful business men. From the statements and the way he acts you get a fairly good impression of his attitude towards personal ethics and business ethics. From what I see, he is a man that believes that to get far in the business you got to be fit for fight at all time. I addition to this he seems like the kind of guy that would step on everyone to reach the top, a man with no morals. But though he lacks on morals he does make a good business man.
Ben on the other hand is also more of a moral less man. In his attitude to the two ethics, you get the impression that he is willing to go a long way as long as it pays of good. We hear that he goes in to the jungle and comes out as a very rich man. During his years in the jungle we understand that he probably has destroyed a lot of native Africans land and made his wealth on others life. But since he did it and came out rich, Willy adores him and wishes to be just like him.
This can be summed up to some few points:
Personal ethics attitude and Business ethics attitude: It’s more important to be well liked than hard working.
Personal ethics attitude and Business ethics attitude: If you work hard you will reach far in life and be rewarded later.
Personal ethics attitude and Business ethics attitude: It doesn’t matter how you reach the top as long as your at the top.
Personal ethics attitude and Business ethics attitude: It doesn’t matter how you get rich as long as you get rich.