Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Quotes Page 12
WILLY: ‘Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people? Do you know? When he died—and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of New York, New Haven and Hartford, going into Boston—when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral. Things were sad on a lotta trains for months after that. (Act 2)
Willy idolizes Dave Singleman's death because to Willy, being widely known and widely mourned is evidence of a successful life. To Willy, a grand, well-attended funeral is the greatest achievement a person can have. He ultimately seems more concerned about what people think of what he does than what he actually achieves himself.
WILLY: Don’t be so modest. You always started too low. Walk in with a big laugh. Don’t look worried. Start off with a couple of good stories to lighten things up. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it—because personality always wins the day. (Act 1)
Willy, who ironically considers himself an expert on being well liked, believes that personality is what matters most. Once again it's not like this is totally untrue. A good personality is probably a really valuable thing for a salesman to have.
WILLY: [continuing over Happy’s line]: They laugh at me, heh? Go to Filene’s, go to the Hub, go to Slattery’s. Boston. Call out the name Willy Loman and see what happens! Big shot!
BIFF: All right, Pop.
BIFF: All right! (Act 1)
Willy's insistence that he is well known and well liked reflects his increasing blindness to reality. To his family, associates, and definitely the audience, the fact that he is unpopular is totally clear by now.