Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller

1671 words - 7 pages

Nobody believes more in the American Dream than Willy, yet the dream has somehow passed him by. Now he is sixty years old, a beaten and discouraged traveling salesman, with nothing to show for a lifetime of hard work but a small house on a crowded street where grass doesn't grow anymore and apartment houses block his view.Rustling about upstairs are Willy's grown sons, Happy and Biff, home for a visit. Their presence in the house causes Willy to daydream on happier times; times when their growing strength and athletic feats - especially Biff's - were a source of pride and joy to him; times when it seemed certain that his kids would go out and conquer the world. In this heightened and reflective state ' Willy speaks aloud to his boys as if the two youngsters he fondly remembers from the past had materialized in the room.WILLY: That's just what I mean. Bernard [the son of Willy's friend] can get the best marks in school, you understand, but when he gets out in the business world, you understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. I tell you this because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want.Willy's feels it hasn't worked for him, or for his favorite son, Biff. Ever since graduation from high school when he ignored a very good scholarship offer to play football for the University of Virginia, Biff had acted like a restless homeless person, moving from one place and one job to another, unable to get a hold on life. He had also had a run-in with the police stealing, they said.Willy paces the kitchen floor and strolls around the yard, trying to understand - how could a boy with such promise has gone so wrong? However, the father is never quite able to admit any responsibility for Biff's problems. "I never told him anything but decent things," he says.During the boys' visit, Willy can not help but argue with Biff. His son's dreams are simply unacceptable. Biff's latest scheme is to own a ranch somewhere in the West. He figures that Bill Oliver, a man he used to work for, will loan him the ten thousand dollars to buy it.Later that evening, Biff and Happy bound down the stairs to talk with their mother, Linda. Willy comes in from the garden just in time to hear Biff mention his plans to go see Oliver: "He always said he would stake me. I would like to go into business, so maybe I can take him up on it." Then, seeing Willy, and anxious to please his father, Biff stammers on, emphasizing that it is a "business" he wants, not necessarily a ranch.Retiring to bed that night, Willy is convinced that Biff is off to a new start. "God Almighty, he will be great yet," he says to Linda. "A star that magnificent can never really fade away!"When Willy awakes the next morning, Biff and Happy are gone. Happy left for his job, Biff to speak with Bill Oliver. Willy, still feeling the optimism of the night before, is now determined to also make his...

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