Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Quotes
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.
WILLY: I—I just can’t work for you, Charley.
CHARLEY: What’re you, jealous of me?
WILLY: I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why.
CHARLEY [angered, takes out more bills] You been jealous of me all your life, you damned fool. Here, pay your insurance. [He puts the money in Willy’s hand].
WILLY: I’m keeping strict accounts. (Act 2)
Willy's sense of pride irrationally prevents him from accepting a job working for Charley—but allows him to accept loans he will undoubtedly be unable to repay. Charley is an incredibly generous guy, considering how badly Willy treats him.