Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Act Two Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
CHARLEY: I offered you a job. You can make fifty dollars a week. And I won’t send you on the road.
WILLY: I’ve got a job.
CHARLEY: Without pay? What kind of a job is without pay? [He rises] Now look kid, enough is enough. I’m no genius but I know when I’m being insulted.
CHARLEY: Why don’t you want to work for me?
WILLY: What’s the matter with you? I’ve got a job! (Act 2)
Despite the complete absurdity of refusing Charley's job offer (considering his financial circumstances), Willy's pride prevents him from accepting. Willy is determined to pretend like he doesn't need Charley's help even while he's asking for it.
WILLY: I—I just can’t work for you, Charley.
CHARLEY: What’re you, jealous of me?
WILLY: I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why.
CHARLEY [angered, takes out more bills] You been jealous of me all your life, you damned fool. Here, pay your insurance. [He puts the money in Willy’s hand].
WILLY: I’m keeping strict accounts. (Act 2)
Willy's sense of pride irrationally prevents him from accepting a job working for Charley—but allows him to accept loans he will undoubtedly be unable to repay. Charley is an incredibly generous guy, considering how badly Willy treats him.
BIFF: I stole myself out of every good job since high school!
WILLY: And whose fault is that?
BIFF: And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That’s whose fault it is!
WILLY: I hear that!
LINDA: Don’t, Biff! (Act 2)
Biff recognizes that false pride is a barrier to success. The failures of his life have made it impossible for him to ignore the fact that he's just not as cool as his father always tried to make him believe he was. Where is the line between instilling your children with a good self-image and making them too big-headed for their own good?