Death of a Salesman

Ben Loman Character Analysis

Willy's adventurous brother, who has just died in Africa when the play begins. At moments of great stress or doubt, Willy converses with Ben's ghost. Ben is the embodiment of the most old-fashioned aspect of the American Dream, the idea that a man can set out into the wilderness by himself and come back wealthy. Willy regrets not following Ben's path and testing himself against rugged natural settings. Yet he barely knew Ben, and Ben showed contempt for him on his few visits to Willy's home.

Ben Loman Quotes in Death of a Salesman

The Death of a Salesman quotes below are all either spoken by Ben Loman or refer to Ben Loman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The American Dream Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Death of a Salesman published in 2011.
Act 1 Quotes
The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he's rich! The world is an oyster, but you don't crack it open on a mattress!
Related Characters: Willy Loman (speaker), Ben Loman
Page Number: 28
Explanation and Analysis:

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Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You'll never get out of the jungle that way.
Related Characters: Ben Loman (speaker), Willy Loman
Page Number: 34
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Act 2 Quotes
The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy.
Related Characters: Ben Loman (speaker), Willy Loman
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Ben Loman Character Timeline in Death of a Salesman

The timeline below shows where the character Ben Loman appears in Death of a Salesman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
...go to bed. Willy wonders aloud why he didn't go to Alaska with his brother Ben, who started with nothing and made it rich by discovering a diamond mine in Africa. (full context)
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
In a kind of daydream, Willy's rugged, dignified older brother Ben appears onstage. Willy tells Charley that Ben died only a few weeks ago, in Africa.... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Now alone, Willy remembers a time when Ben visited the house. In the memory, the two of them discuss their family history with... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Willy calls Biff and Happy into the room and asks Ben to tell them about their grandfather. Ben describes "a very great and a very wild-hearted... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Willy boasts that his sons are also rugged. To test his claim, Ben begins to mock-wrestle with Biff, and then trips the boy and threatens him by hovering... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...his sons steal any more from the construction site nearby. Willy, still trying to impress Ben, brags that his sons are fearless characters. Charley counters that the jails are full of... (full context)
Act 2
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Howard leaves, and Willy slips into a memory in which Ben is offering him an opportunity to come to Alaska to manage a tract of timberland.... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
In the garden, Willy is talking with Ben, and mentions the $20,000 dollar life insurance policy his family will be entitled to when... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...goes upstairs. Linda follows soon after. Willy promises to also come upstairs soon. Alone, now, Ben appears to him, and Willy assures Ben that Biff will be magnificent one day, once... (full context)