Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Act Two Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
BIFF [crying, broken]: Will you let me go for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens? (Act 2)
Biff attributes the tension and distress in his family to the irreconcilable gap between Willy's absurd dreams and reality. He longs to be released from Willy's dreams, so that he can create his own—ones that are based on the reality of his situation.
BIFF: He had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong.
HAPPY [almost ready to fight Biff]: Don’t say that!
BIFF: He never knew who he was. (Act 2)
Dreaming is so central an aspect of Willy's character that Happy nearly fights Biff to defend it. Unlike his brother, Happy still wants to believe in Willy.
CHARLEY: Nobody dast blame this man. You don’t understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there’s 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 spots on your hat and your finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream boy, it comes with the territory. (Act 2)
Charley insists that, being a salesman with an unsure future, Willy could not have avoided dreaming his absurd dreams. Do you think this is true? Is it impossible to be a salesman and not be totally delusional?