Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Quotes
HAPPY: What the hell!
WILLY: Tell me what happened!
Biff [to Happy]: I can’t talk to him!
[A single trumpet note jars the ear. The light of green leaves stains the house, which holds the air of night and a dream. Young Bernard enters and knocks on the door of the house.] (Act 2)
Willy is only able to cope with the reality the Biff lays before him by escaping entirely into his delusions. The increasing harshness of his life is causing him to sink deeper and deeper into his own dream world.
BIFF: Let’s talk quietly and get down to the facts, huh?
WILLY [as though Biff had been interrupting]: Well, what’s happened? It’s great news, Biff. Did he take you into his office or’d you talk in the waiting room?
BIFF: Well he came in, see, and—
WILLY [with a big smile]: What’d he say? Betcha he threw his arm around you.
BIFF: Well, he kinda—
WILLY: He’s a fine man. [To Happy] Very hard man to see, y’know.
HAPPY [agreeing]: Oh, I know.
WILLY [to Biff]: Is that where you had the drinks?
BIFF: Yeah, he gave me a couple of—no, no!
HAPPY [cutting in]: He told him my Florida idea. (Act 2)
Between Willy's ceaseless interjections and Happy's lies on his behalf, Biff begins to fall back into the family's cycle of deception. Before long, though, reality is bound to break through.
WILLY: Well, Bill Oliver—very big sporting-goods man—he wants Biff very badly. Called him in from the West, Long distance, carte blanche, special deliveries. Your friends have their own private tennis court?
BERNARD: You still with the old firm, Willy?
BERNARD: What is it Willy?
WILLY [small and alone]: What-what’s the secret?
BERNARD: What secret?
WILLY: How—how did you? Why didn’t he ever catch on?
BERNARD: I wouldn’t know that, Willy.
WILLY [confidentially, desperately]: You were his friend, his boyhood friend. There’s something I don’t understand about it. His life ended after that Ebbets Field game. From the age of seventeen nothing good ever happened to him. (Act 2)
To impress Bernard, Willy attempts to present Biff as a successful man. Bernard knows Willy and Biff too well, though. He doesn't really seem to buy any of Willy's deceptions.