Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Act Two Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
BEN: You’ve got a new continent at your doorstep, William. Get out of these cities, they’re full of talk and time payments and courts of law. Screw on your fists and you can fight for a fortune up there.
WILLY: Yes, yes! Linda, Linda! (Act 2)
The American West is depicted as free of confinements and thus ripe with opportunity and prosperity. How realistic is this depiction? Is this reality, or just another dream?
WILLY [suddenly conscious of Biff, turns and looks up at him, then begins pocking up the packages of seeds in confusion]: Where the hell is that seed? [indignantly] You can’t see nothing out here! They boxed in the whole goddamn neighborhood!
BIFF: There are people all around here. Don’t you realize that?
WILLY: I’m busy. Don’t bother me. (Act 2)
Willy's frustration at feeling trapped in his own home only shortly before his suicide reflects his profound desire for freedom and escape. Does his suicide provide that escape, or is it just the biggest trap of all?
WILLY: Charley, I’m strapped. I’m strapped. I don’t know what to do. I was just fired.
CHARLEY: Howard fired you?
WILLY: That snotnose. Imagine that? I named him. I named him Howard.
CHARLEY: Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can’t sell that. 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. (Act 2)
Charley questions Willy's insistence that Howard's actions were a betrayal. He tries to get Willy to understand the harsh realities of capitalism.