Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Biff Loman Quotes
BIFF: Why? You’re making money, aren’t you?
HAPPY [moving about with energy, expressiveness]: All I can do now is wait for the merchandise manager to die. And suppose I get to be merchandise manager? He’s a good friend of mine, and he just built a terrific estate on Long Island. And he lived there about two months and sold it, and now he’s building another one. He can’t enjoy it once it’s finished. And I know that’s just what I’d do. I don’t know what the hell I’m workin’ for. Sometimes I sit in my apartment—all alone. And I think of the rent I’m paying. And it’s crazy. But then, it’s what I always wanted. My own apartment, a car, plenty of women, and still, goddamnit, I’m lonely. (Act 1)
Although he has amassed concrete wealth, it is the intangible aspects of life that Happy craves. Material things and lots of hook-ups with random girls just don't seem to be the kind of success that Happy truly wants.
BIFF: He’s off salary. My God, working on commission!
HAPPY: Well, let’s face it: he’s no hot-shot selling man. Except that sometimes, you have to admit, he’s a sweet personality. (Act 1)
Yep, it looks like Willy's "sweet personality" hasn't really served him that well. He's been demoted at work and is even soon to be fired. Happy's comments may suggest that he is no longer convinced that personality is as central to success as he previously thought. But we wonder: if Willy was actually as popular as he says he is, would it have made a difference?
WILLY [continuing over Happy’s line]: They laugh at me, heh? Go to Filene’s, go to the Hub, go to Slattery’s. Boston. Call out the name Willy Loman and see what happens! Big shot!
BIFF: All right, Pop.
BIFF: All right! (Act 1)
Willy's insistence that he is well-known and well-liked reflects his increasing blindness to reality. To his family, associates, and definitely the audience, the fact that he is unpopular is totally clear by now.