Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Quotes
LINDA: You’re doing well enough, Willy!
BEN [to Linda]: Enough for what, my dear?
LINDA [frightened of Ben and angry at him]: Don’t say those things to him! Enough to be happy right here, right now. [To Willy, while Ben laughs] Why must everybody conquer the world? You’re well liked and the boys love you and someday—[to Ben]—why, old man Wagner told him just the other day that if he keeps it up he’ll be a member of the firm, didn’t he, Willy? (Act 2)
Linda expresses concern that Willy's massive aspirations are getting the better of him. She seems afraid that if Willy latches on to his brother's big dreams of success, then she may never see her husband again.
WILLY: [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, 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 hopefulness that the game will turn out well for Biff is based on the belief that Biff has already won the game, performed flawlessly, and is headed for a professional football career. This kind of baseless optimism eventually destroys Willy and seems to seriously damage his sons.
BIFF [crying, broken]: Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?
[. . .]
WILLY: Oh, Biff! [staring wildly] He cried! Cried to me. [He is chocking with his love, and now cries out his promise] That boy—that boy is going to be magnificent! (Act 2)
Despite Biff's admission that he is a failure, Willy convinces himself that Biff will still make it big. Willy follows this delusion to his death, killing himself in order to help his son. Does this death bring some sympathy for Willy? Does he die a hero of some sort? Or is it just the logical end to a life of deception?