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12
Quote #1

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.

Quote #2

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?

Quote #3

WILLY: [the last to leave, turning to Charley]: I don’t think that was funny, Charley. This is the greatest day of his life.

CHARLEY: Willy, when are you going to grow up?

WILLY: Yeah, heh? When this game is over, you’ll be laughing out of the other side of your face. They’ll be calling him another Red Grange. Twenty-five thousand a year. (Act 2)

Willy's detachment from reality causes him to massively exaggerate the significance of Biff's high school football career. He feels the need to take any small success and blow it up into epic proportions.

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