Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Linda Loman Quotes
WILLY: That is a one million dollar idea.
BIFF: I’m in great shape as far as that’s concerned!
HAPPY: And the beauty of it is, Biff, it wouldn’t be like a business. We’d be out playin’ ball again…
BIFF [enthused]: Yeah, that’s…
WILLY: Million-dollar! (Act 1)
While Biff and Happy are interested in finding work that is tolerable, Willy is fixated on ensuring that the boys find a lucrative profession likely to lead them down the path to success and greatness. Is Willy so bad for wanting this? Are Biff and Happy so bad for wanting to be… happy?
LINDA: He’ll find his way.
WILLY: Sure. Certain men just don’t get started till later in life. Like Thomas Edison, I think. Or B.F. Goodrich. One of them was deaf. [He starts for the bedroom doorway.] I’ll put my money on Biff. (Act 1)
Willy clings to his hope that Biff will settle down and become a major business success despite the unlikelihood of such an event. This desperate hope is what eventually leads him to commit suicide by the end of the play. He goes to his death with the delusional idea that Biff will one day be a famous businessman.
LINDA: I’m just wondering if Oliver will remember him. You think he might?
WILLY [coming out of the bathroom in his pajamas]: Remember him? What’s the matter with you, you crazy? If he’d stayed with Oliver he’d be on top by now! Wait’ll Oliver gets a look at him. You don’t know the average caliber any more. The average young man today—[he’s getting into bed]—is got a caliber of zero. Greatest thing in the world for him was to bum around. (Act 1)
Willy's comments cross the line from hopefulness about the future to the suggestion that his aspirations are already reality. He clings to the delusional idea that Biff is somehow superior to the average young man.