Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Pride Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act)
HOWARD: Where are your sons? Why don’t your sons give you a hand?
WILLY: They’re working on a very big deal.
HOWARD: This is no time for false pride, Willy. You go to your sons and tell them that you’re tired. You’ve got two great boys, haven’t you?
WILLY: Oh, no question, no question, but in the mean time… (Act 2)
Howard recognizes Willy's pride as means of hiding from reality. Though Howard does wash his hands of Willy in this scene, in a way he's trying to help the old salesman. If Willy would only recognize the reality of his situation, he'd be able to get by.
WLLY [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, Charley, 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 exaggerated sense of pride about Biff is an extension of his own fears and insecurities. If Biff turns out to be a failure, then Willy will feel like he's a failure as well. Like many parents, much of Willy's personal pride is based on the success of his children.
CHARLEY: I offered you a job. You can make fifty dollars a week. And I won’t send you on the road.
WILLY: I’ve got a job.
CHARLEY: Without pay? What kind of a job is without pay? [He rises] Now look kid, enough is enough. I’m no genius but I know when I’m being insulted.
CHARLEY: Why don’t you want to work for me?
WILLY: What’s the matter with you? I’ve got a job! (Act 2)
Despite the complete absurdity of refusing Charley's job offer (considering his financial circumstances), Willy's pride prevents him from accepting. Willy is determined to pretend like he doesn't need Charley's help even while he's asking for it.