Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Quotes Page 17
WILLY [sitting down at the kitchen table]: Huh! Why did she have to wax the floors herself? Every time she waxes the floors she keels over. She knows that! (Act 1)
Willy's disgust at Linda waxing the floors herself suggests his false pride about their economic status. They clearly cannot afford to hire someone to wax their floor, yet he constantly wants to pretend that this isn't so.
CHARLEY: You want a job?
WILLY: I got a job, I told you that. [After a slight pause] What the hell are you offering me a job for?
CHARLEY: Don’t get insulted.
WILLY: Don’t insult me. (Act 1)
Willy has always tried to act like he was cooler than Charley. In reality, though, he's always been really jealous of his neighbor. When Charley offers Willy a job, it hurts Willy's pride. If people know that he's working for Charley, then there will be no denying the fact Charley has done better in life – and Willy's delusional pride just won't allow that.
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 pride reflects his increasing blindness to reality. He insists on pretending like he's really successful when it's just not true. In some ways this is really understandable, and it makes Willy seem totally human. It's probably a really hard thing to admit that your entire life has been a total flop.