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Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman


by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman Willy Loman Quotes

Linda Loman

Quote 22

LINDA: I’m just wondering if Oliver will remember him. You think he might?

WILLY [coming out of the bathroom in his pajamas]: Remember him? What’s the matter with you, you crazy? If he’d stayed with Oliver he’d be on top by now! Wait’ll Oliver gets a look at him. You don’t know the average caliber any more. The average young man today—[he’s getting into bed]—is got a caliber of zero. Greatest thing in the world for him was to bum around. (Act 1)

Willy's statements function only to boost his and Linda's morale as they completely deny the reality that Biff was merely a shipping clerk when he worked for Oliver. Do you think Linda buys this? Is she as immersed in Willy's self-deception as she appears?

Biff Loman

Quote 23

BIFF: I guess so. I know something about it and— 

WILLY: He knows something about it! You know sporting goods better than Spalding for God’s sake! (Act 1)

Willy is deceiving himself yet again. You're probably not surprised. Here, he is attempting to convince Biff that, because Biff was a high school football star, he knows more about sporting goods than professionals in the industry. Umm, not so much, Willy.

Willy Loman > Ben

Quote 24

WILLY [turning to Ben]: Business is bad, it’s murderous. But not for me, of course. (Act 1)

Willy continually lies outright in order to try and impress Ben and make himself feel better. We wonder if Ben believes any of this— probably not. We're guessing that part of the reason that Willy isn't all that well-liked is because most people can see right through him.