Death of a Salesman Quotes
Learn the important quotes in Death of a Salesman and the chapters they're from, including why they're Willy Loman, Act 1, Section 1 In a conversation with his brother, Happy, Biff reveals his aimlessness. to "make it up" to his wife is a suicide that provides her with financial security but robs her of her marriage. 5. Analysis, related quotes, theme tracking. The central conflict of the play is between Willy and his elder son Biff, who showed great promise as a young athlete. 47 quotes from Death of a Salesman: 'Why am I trying to become what I don't want to be when all I want is out I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!”.
Charley gives the now-unemployed Willy money to pay his life-insurance premium; Willy shocks Charley by remarking that ultimately, a man is "worth more dead than alive.
Happy tries to get Biff to lie to their father. Biff tries to tell him what happened as Willy gets angry and slips into a flashback of what happened in Boston the day Biff came to see him. Willy had been having an affair with a receptionist on one of his sales trips when Biff unexpectedly arrived at Willy's hotel room.
A shocked Biff angrily confronted his father, calling him a liar and a fraud. From that moment, Biff's views of his father changed and set Biff adrift. Biff leaves the restaurant in frustration, followed by Happy and two girls that Happy has picked up.
They leave a confused and upset Willy behind in the restaurant. When they later return home, their mother angrily confronts them for abandoning their father while Willy remains outside, talking to himself. Biff tries unsuccessfully to reconcile with Willy, but the discussion quickly escalates into another argument. Biff conveys plainly to his father that he is not meant for anything great, insisting that both of them are simply ordinary men meant to lead ordinary lives.
The theme of Fathers and Sons in Death of a Salesman from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes
The feud reaches an apparent climax with Biff hugging Willy and crying as he tries to get Willy to let go of the unrealistic expectations.
Rather than listen to what Biff actually says, Willy appears to believe his son has forgiven him and will follow in his footsteps, and after Linda goes upstairs to bed despite her urging him to follow herlapses one final time into a hallucination, thinking he sees his long-dead brother Ben, whom Willy idolized.
In Willy's mind, Ben approves of the scheme Willy has dreamed up to kill himself in order to give Biff his insurance policy money. Willy exits the house. Biff and Linda cry out in despair as the sound of Willy's car blares up and fades out.
The final scene takes place at Willy's funeral, which is attended only by his family, Charley and Bernard Bernard says nothing at the funeral, but in the stage directions, he is present. The ambiguities of mixed and unaddressed emotions persist, particularly over whether Willy's choices or circumstances were obsolete.
At the funeral Biff retains his belief that he does not want to become a businessman like his father. Happy, on the other hand, chooses to follow in his father's footsteps, while Linda laments her husband's decision just before her final payment on the house. Themes[ edit ] Reality and Illusion[ edit ] Death of a Salesman uses flashbacks to present Willy's memory during the reality. The more he indulges in the illusion, the harder it is for him to face reality.
Biff is the only one who realizes that the whole family lived in the lies and tries to face the truth. Willy believes that the key to success is being well-liked, and his frequent flashbacks show that he measures happiness in terms of wealth and popularity. Because of this, Willy thought that money would make him happy.
And by God I was rich. Meaning that he can and cannot see at the same time, since his way of seeing or visualizing the future is completely wrong. Willy criticizes Charley and Bernard throughout the play, but it is not because he hates them. Rather, it's argued that he is jealous of the successes they have enjoyed, which is outside his standards. Charley has no time for Willy's theories of business, but he provides for his family and is in a position to offer Willy a do-nothing job to keep him bringing home a salary.
Bloom 51  Reception[ edit ] This section relies largely or entirely on a single source. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please help improve this article by introducing citations to additional sources. London responses were mixed, but mostly favorable. Some people, such as Eric Keown, think of Death of a Salesman as "a potential tragedy deflected from its true course by Marxist sympathies.
The Berlin production was more successful than New York, possibly due to better interpretation. In China[ edit ] Death of a Salesman was welcomed in China.
There, Arthur Miller directed the play himself.
Examine the relationship between Willy and his sons in "Death of a Salesman"
The salesman part is what he does to stay alive. But he could be a peasant, he could be, whatever. The play opened at the Morosco Theatre on February 10,closing on November 18,after performances. The play starred Lee J. Jayne Mansfield performed in a production of the play in DallasTexasin October Her performance in the play attracted Paramount Pictures to hire her for the studio's film productions.
June 26,at the Circle in the Square Theatrerunning for 71 performances.
Scott starred as Willy. March 29,at the Broadhurst Theatrerunning for 97 performances. Dustin Hoffman played Willy. In a return engagement, this production re-opened on September 14,and ran for 88 performances. The production won the Tony Award for: This production was filmed.
Death of a Salesman Quotes
It was also part of the inaugural season of the Guthrie Theater in MinneapolisMinnesota in He wants to know if Ben feels he is teaching his boys, Biff and Happy, how to be men.
In his mind the boys are teenagers and Ben is a younger man also. Ben talks to Willy about his time in Africa, working in the diamond mines. He talks of walking into the jungle and finding the diamonds, which make him a rich man. The jungle can mean a literal jungle or it can mean the jungle of the business world. The jungle of the business world, where a man has to hack his way to the top by being better than all the other employees and willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead.
Willy takes his brothers words to mean he is teaching his boys right and they will be as successful as he hopes they will be. He and his father are still arguing, but he is trying to help his mother cope with the financial and emotional burdens Willy's behavior forces her to endure.
She suddenly tells Biff and Happy about Willy's suicide attempts. They are stunned to find out the car accidents Willy has been having are not accidents, but instead, suicide attempts. She tells them the witness of one of the accidents saw Willy drive purposefully into a bridge railing.
She also talks about a short rubber hose she found in the basement, the hose would attach to the gas pipe leading into the water heater and her supposition is Willy has plans to use it to end his life. The boys now know the true extent of their father's despair. After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.
Before he kept it to himself, but now his friend Charley knows he is thinking about committing suicide. Charley tries to tell him his life is worth more than money, but Willy doesn't see any other way out of his financial difficulties.15 Best Relationship Quotes
He feels that even though he has tried to do his job to the best of his ability, it just isn't enough. He has been demoted to commission wages at work and is having to borrow from Charley to sustain himself and Linda. Even though Charley offers him work, Willy will not give up on his idea of being the great salesman.
And then he gave me one look and I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been! We've been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk.
He thought Bill would overlook the fact that Biff had stolen from him fifteen years ago. He thought he was a salesman for Bill, when the truth was he had been a shipping clerk. Bill would not give Biff a loan to start a business, because he didn't know Biff as anything other than, being the shipping clerk who was fired for stealing from the company. Biff and Willy had, in their minds, raised Biff's importance to Bill and the company.
It is the moment in which Biff realizes his life has been predicated upon a lie, a fantasy of how important he was to Bill and how he should be the man in charge.
Biff also sees his father for who he is, a man whose life is also based on the lie of him being a great salesman. The truth was he was an ordinary salesman, whose sales have been dropping in the past few years. Can't you understand that? There's no spite in it anymore. I'm just what I am, that's all.