Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Act Two Quotes
How we cite the quotes:
Citations follow this format: (Act)
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. (Act 2)
The American West is depicted as rife with opportunity and prosperity, an ideal place to pursue the American Dream. In a way, it's a much more basic version of the same dream that Willy is following. In the West, however, the fight is man vs. man and man vs. nature.
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 their 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's characterization of a salesman really applies to all dreamers, to all dreams of finding opportunity and success in America. This speech from Charley seems to help elevate Willy to a truly tragic figure, who represents the many failed dreams that have happened in America.
LINDA: Biff was very changed this morning. His whole attitude seemed to be hopeful. He couldn’t wait to get down town to see Oliver.
WILLY: He’s heading for a change. There’s no question. There simply are certain men who take longer to get solidified. How did he dress? (Act 2)
Linda and Willy cling to even the slightest indication of change as definite proof of a better future to come. It's really sad that all their dream and hopes for themselves and their children have come down to this.