Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Dreams, Hopes, and Plans Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act)
BIFF: He walked away. I saw him for one minute. I got so mad I could’ve torn the walls down! How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I’d been a salesman for him! And then he gave me one look and—I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been. We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk. (Act 2)
Biff points out that because of excessive dreaming and fantasizing about a better future, he had lost his grounding in reality. When he forces his father to face this reality, it leads to Willy's destruction.
HAPPY: Dad is never so happy as when he’s looking forward to something! (Act 2)
Happy's statement reflects a fundamental understanding of his father's need to dream as a means of escape. Is Willy's family in some ways responsible for furthering his delusions? Or are they only trying to make their father happy?
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.