Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Act Two Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
WILLY: He’s heading for a change. There’s no question, there simply are certain men that take longer to get—solidified. How did he dress?
LINDA: His blue suit. He’s so handsome in that suit. He could be a—anything in that suit! (Act 2)
Once again we see that Linda and Willy's fixation on Biff's physical appearance as the source of his success denies the importance of other qualities and virtues. They seem to have completely forgotten that Biff once stole from Oliver and that that might matter more than the fact that he's now wearing a nice suit.
HOWARD: Where are your sons? Why don’t your sons give you a hand?
WILLY: They’re working on a very big deal.
HOWARD: This is no time for false pride, Willy. You go to your sons and tell them that you’re tired. You’ve got two great boys, haven’t you?
WILLY: Oh, no question, no question, but in the mean time… (Act 2)
Howard recognizes Willy's pride as means of hiding from reality. Though Howard does wash his hands of Willy in this scene, in a way he's trying to help the old salesman. If Willy would only recognize the reality of his situation, he'd be able to get by.
WLLY [the last to leave, turning to Charley]: I don’t think that was funny, Charley. This is the greatest day of his life.
CHARLEY: Willy, when are you going to grow up?
WILLY: Yeah, heh? When this game is over, Charley, you’ll be laughing out of the other side of your face. They’ll be calling him another Red Grange. Twenty-five thousand a year. (Act 2)
Willy's exaggerated sense of pride about Biff is an extension of his own fears and insecurities. If Biff turns out to be a failure, then Willy will feel like he's a failure as well. Like many parents, much of Willy's personal pride is based on the success of his children.