Death of a Salesman
Lies and Deceit Quotes Page 4
How we cite our quotes:
WILLY: In 1928 I had a big year. I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in commissions.
HOWARD: Now Willy, you never averaged—
WILLY: I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in the year of 1928! (Act 2)
Willy has himself utterly convinced that he is incredible at his job, despite the obvious reality of his poor salesmanship. Howard doesn't seem to buy any of it, though. Willy's transparently deceitful nature may be part of what costs him his job in this scene.
LINDA: You’re doing well enough, Willy!
BEN [to Linda]: Enough for what, my dear?
LINDA [frightened of Ben and angry at him]: Don’t say those things to him! Enough to be happy right here, right now. [To Willy, while Ben laughs] Why must everybody conquer the world? You’re well liked and the boys love you and someday—[to Ben]—why, old man Wagner told him just the other day that if he keeps it up he’ll be a member of the firm, didn’t he, Willy? (Act 2)
Linda defends Willy by losing herself in an unrealistic characterization of their lives and of Willy's potential at the sales firm. Is she defending her husband here? Or is she trying to keep him from disappearing with Ben?
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.