Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Quotes
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.
WILLY: Don’t say? Tell you a secret, boys. Don’t breathe it to a soul. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more.
HAPPY: Like Uncle Charley, heh?
WILLY: Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not liked. He’s liked, but he’s not—well liked. (Act 1)
Amidst his preoccupation with financial survival, Willy insists he will make it big some day and have the home life that he wants. Almost more important to him than actual successful business deals is being liked. Over the course of the play, however, we learn that Willy isn't particularly well liked at all. This is just another one of his delusions.
WILLY: Like a young god. Hercules—something like that. And the sun, the sun all around him. Remember how he waved to me? Right up from the field with the representatives of three colleges standing by? And the buyers I brought, and the cheers when he came out—Loman, Loman, Loman! God Almighty, he’ll be great yet. A star like that, magnificent, can never really fade away. (Act 1)
Willy clings to memories of the distant past to find hope for the future. What's interesting is that we see and hear of these past events through Willy's distorted lens. There's really no telling if anything was ever as wonderful as he paints it.