Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Act Two Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
WILLY: 'Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people? Do you know? When he died—and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of New York, New Haven and Hartford, going into Boston—when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral. Things were sad on a lotta trains for months after that. (Act 2)
Willy idolizes Dave Singleman's death because to Willy, being widely known and widely mourned is evidence of a successful life. To Willy, a grand, well-attended funeral is the greatest achievement a person can have. He ultimately seems more concerned about what people think of what he does than what he actually achieves himself.
LINDA: His blue suit. He’s so handsome in that suit. He could be a—anything in that suit! (Act 2)
Linda's fixation on Biff's physical appearance as the source of his success denies the importance of other qualities and virtues. The play seems to suggest that, if Biff's parents had spent more time grooming his character, then he might actually have the respect and reputation needed to make it in the world.
WILLY: Yeah. Sing to me. [Linda hums a soft lullaby]. When that team came out—he was the tallest, remember?
LINDA: Oh, yes. And in gold. (Act 2)
Willy and Linda place great importance on Biff's appearance when he was a high school football star, as if that had something to do with his talent. The very fact that he was so attractive made them positive that he would one day be successful.