Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Happy Loman Quotes
HAPPY: No, it’s a little celebration. My brother is—I think he pulled off a big deal today. I think we’re going into business together.
STANLEY: Great! That’s the best for you. Because a family business, you know what I mean?—that’s the best. (Act 2)
Happy deceives himself into thinking that he and Biff already have a major success to celebrate. Much like his father, he chooses to exaggerate and bend the truth to try to impress people.
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.
WILLY: Don’t say? Tell you a secret, boys. Don’t breathe it to a soul. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more.
HAPPY: Like Uncle Charley, heh?
WILLYL Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not—liked. He’s liked, but he’s not–-well liked. (Act 1)
Willy indicates his belief that being well-liked is the most important quality to achieving success. He thinks it's impossible for someone to succeed without a gang of friends around them. We have to wonder if Charley, whom Willy criticizes in the quote above, is really as unpopular as Willy makes him out to be.