(Wikipedia Creative Commons)
Willy Loman returns home exhausted after a cancelled business trip. Worried over Willy's state of mind and recent car "crashes," his wife Linda suggests that he asks his boss Howard Wagner to allow him to work in his home city so he will not have to travel.... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
(Wikipedia Creative Commons)
Willy Loman returns home exhausted after a cancelled business trip. Worried over Willy's state of mind and recent car "crashes," his wife Linda suggests that he asks his boss Howard Wagner to allow him to work in his home city so he will not have to travel. Willy complains to Linda that their son, Biff, has yet to make good on his life. Despite Biff's promise as an athlete in high school, he flunked senior year math and never went to college.
Biff and his brother, Happy, who is also visiting, reminisce about their childhood together. They discuss their father's mental degeneration, which they have witnessed by his constant vacillations and talking to himself. When Willy walks in, angry that the two boys have never amounted to anything, Biff and Happy tell Willy that Biff plans to make a business proposition the next day in an effort to pacify their father.
The next day, Willy goes to ask his boss for a job in town while Biff goes to make a business proposition, but neither is successful. Willy gets angry and ends up getting fired when the boss tells him he needs a rest and can no longer represent the company. Biff waits hours to see a former employer who does not remember him and turns him down. Biff impulsively steals a fountain pen. Willy then goes to the office of his neighbor Charley, where he runs into Charley's son Bernard (now a successful lawyer); Bernard tells him that Biff originally wanted to do well in summer school, but something happened in Boston when Biff went to visit Willy that changed his mind.
Happy, Biff, and Willy meet for dinner at a restaurant, but Willy refuses to hear bad news from Biff. 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 in a hotel on a sales trip with a young woman when Biff arrived. From that moment, Biff's view 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 talking to himself outside. Biff goes outside to try to reconcile with Willy. The discussion quickly escalates into another argument, at which point Biff forcefully tries to convey to his father that he is not meant for anything great, that he is simply ordinary, insisting that they both are. The feud culminates with Biff hugging Willy and crying as he tries to get him to let go of the unrealistic dreams he still carries for Biff and wants instead for Willy to accept him for who he really is. He tells his father he loves him.
Rather than listen to what Biff actually says, Willy realizes his son has forgiven him and thinks Biff will now pursue a career as a businessman. Willy kills himself intentionally crashing his car so that Biff can use the life insurance money to start his business. However, at the funeral Biff retains his belief that he does not want to become a businessman. Happy, on the other hand, chooses to follow in his father's footsteps.
“Yeah. He was a happy man with a batch of cement.”Charley
“Nobody dast blame this man. You don't understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock-bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back--that's an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.”Charley
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.Highlighted by 99 Kindle customers
Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there’s nobody to live in it.Highlighted by 86 Kindle customers
The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that.Highlighted by 79 Kindle customers
You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away—a man is not a piece of fruit!Highlighted by 71 Kindle customers
Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you’re finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.Highlighted by 68 Kindle customers
Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such—personal attractiveness, gets lost. And such a hard worker. There’s one thing about Biff—he’s not lazy.Highlighted by 67 Kindle customers
When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing.Highlighted by 56 Kindle customers
BIFF is two years older than his brother, HAPPY, well built, but in these days bears a worn air and seems less self-assured. He has succeeded less, and his dreams are stronger and less acceptable than HAPPY’S. HAPPY is tall, powerfully made. Sexuality is like a visible color on him, or a scent that many women have discovered. He, like his brother, is lost, but in a different way, for he has never allowed himself to turn his face toward defeat and is thus more confused and hard-skinned, although seemingly more content.]Highlighted by 43 Kindle customers
His problem is that he has so completely internalized the values of his society that he judges himself by standards rooted in social myths rather than human necessities.Highlighted by 42 Kindle customers
If personal meaning, in this cheer leader society, lies in success, then failure must threaten identity itself.Highlighted by 36 Kindle customers
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