Study Guide

Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman Summary

Willy Loman, an old salesman, returns early from a business trip. After nearly crashing multiple times, Willy has a moment of enlightenment and realizes he shouldn’t be driving. Seeing that her husband is no longer able to do his job as a traveling salesman, Willy’s wife, Linda, suggests that he ask his boss, Howard, to give him a local office job at the New York headquarters. Willy thinks that getting the new job is a sure thing since he (wrongly) sees himself as a valuable salesman.

We begin to learn some family background and hear about Willy and Linda’s grown sons, Biff and Happy. Biff has just returned home from working as a farmhand in the West. Willy thinks Biff could easily be rich and successful, but is wasting his talents and needs to get on track. Willy thinks Biff is being wish-washy to spite him.

Later that night, Willy starts having flashbacks and talking to imagined images as if they were real people. You guessed it: something is wrong. He’s ranting so loudly that Happy and Biff wake up. The brothers are legitimately worried, as they have never seen their father like this. Biff, feeling as though he should stay close to home and fix his relationship with his dad, decides to talk to a former employer, Bill Oliver, about getting a loan to start a business.

In the middle of the night, Willy’s talking to himself so loudly that everyone wakes up. Linda admits to her sons that she and Willy are struggling financially. Worse, Willy has been attempting suicide. She’s worried and takes it out on her boys, accusing Biff of being the cause of Willy’s unhappiness. Now Willy gets in on the family discussion and the situation goes downhill. He and Biff begin to argue, but Happy interjects that Biff plans to see Oliver the following morning. Willy is overjoyed. Everyone goes to sleep believing that tomorrow will fulfill their dreams: Willy expects to get a local job, and Biff expects to get a business loan.

The next day, of course, everything goes wrong. Willy feels happy and confident as he meets with his boss, Howard. But instead of getting a transfer to the New York office, Willy gets fired. Destroyed by the news, he begins to hallucinate and, yes, once again speak with imaginary people as he heads out to meet his sons at a restaurant.

Waiting for their dad at the restaurant, Biff explains to Happy that Oliver wouldn’t see him and didn’t have the slightest idea who he was. Distressed, spiteful, and something of a kleptomaniac, Biff stole Oliver’s fountain pen. By now, Biff has realized that he was crazy to think he would ever get a loan, and that he and his family have been lying to themselves for basically their entire lives. When Willy comes into the restaurant demanding good news, Biff struggles to explain what happened without letting his father down. Willy, who can’t handle the disappointment, tries to pretend it isn’t true. He starts drifting into the dreamy past again, reliving the moment when Biff discovered his (Willy’s) affair with a woman in Boston. While their dad is busy being detached from reality, Biff and Happy ditch him for two girls.

Biff and Happy return home from their dates to find their mother waiting for them, fuming mad that they left their father at the restaurant. A massive argument erupts. No one wants to listen to Biff, but he manages to get the point across that he can’t live up to his dad’s unrealistic expectations and is basically just a failure. He’s the only one who sees that they’ve been living a lie, and he tells them so.

The night’s fight ends with Willy realizing that Biff, although a "failure," seems to really love him. Unfortunately Willy can’t get past the "failure" bit. He thinks the greatest contribution that he himself can make toward his son’s success is to commit suicide. That way, Biff could use the life insurance money to start a business.

Within a few minutes, there’s a loud crash. Willy has killed himself.

In the final scene, Linda, sobbing, still under the delusion that her husband was a well-liked salesman, wonders why no one came to his funeral. Biff continues to see through his family’s lies and wants to be a better man who is honest with himself. Unfortunately, Happy wants to be just like his dad.

(Click the plot infographic to download.)

  • Act One

    • Let’s pretend we’re watching this play. We see a nice little two-bedroom house, probably only one bathroom, but that’s OK.
    • We hear some nice flute-like music and feel like we’re entering Fantasia.
    • Yet instead of dancing hippos, Willy Loman, an old, worn-out salesman, enters. He’s talking to himself, and this just can’t be good.
    • Willy’s back from a trip and carrying some bags. It’s late at night, and he definitely should be in bed.
    • Inside, Linda, Willy’s wife, is surprised to see him—he is supposed to be gone for several days on a business trip.
    • Her husband explains that he kept forgetting he was driving (scary). Since his mind was totally not on the road (and frequently his car wasn’t either), he headed home.
    • Linda, ignoring the fact that Willy has been talking with imaginary people and driving off roads, recommends that he ask his boss to transfer him to a local office job.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • Willy insists that he’s vital as a traveling salesman, but eventually agrees. He’s sure that his boss, Howard, loves him enough to give him the local NY gig.
    • Willy and Linda chat about their grown sons, Biff and Happy, who happen to be sleeping upstairs.
    • Biff has just come home from the West, where he was working as a farmhand.
    • Willy is mad at Biff. The father-and-son duo had yet another fight that morning, primarily because Willy can’t handle the fact that his 34-year-old son isn’t able to hold down a real job, you know, the kind with suits and fluorescent lights.
    • He concludes that Biff must be lazy.
    • Willy then declares his son is hard-working hot stuff (notice how he changed his mind about the lazy part?). He can’t understand why, in the greatest country ever (a.k.a. America), his son can’t get his life together. Clearly (to Willy), Biff is wasting his life in order to spite his old man.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • Willy reminisces, in a rather sad and I-want-to-live-through-you-vicariously kind of way, about what a hotshot Biff was in high school.
    • Willy and Linda get to bickering about cheese and population growth (no, we weren’t aware of any correlation between the two either).
    • Biff and Happy are now awake (upstairs) listening to their dad’s odd mutterings. They’re worried about his sanity. We are, too.
    • The brothers have a heart-to-heart conversation complete with reminiscing about their past. Biff, the sensitive one, tells Happy (the happy one?) that he’s upset about his fight with their dad.
    • Happy thinks Willy is anxious about Biff’s aimlessness; he wants the low-down on what Biff is doing with his life.
    • Biff tells his brother that he’s unhappy, hates the competitive world of business, and thinks farm work is better. (He likes acting strong and being shirtless, which he just can’t do in an office.)
    • AND YET—he can’t keep even a farming job. This guy is having a serious internal battle.
    • Happy’s name turns out not to fit him at all. He’s lonely despite having a decent job and endless women at his disposal.
    • Biff and Happy fantasize about moving to the West together and being real men with a ranch and cattle and sweating in the sun while working with their hands.
    • Biff seems ready to head for a ranch, but Happy won’t let go of his pursuit of wealth.
    • Like so many other brothers, these two start chatting about ladies. Both want to settle down with someone, but Happy is a player and can’t stick to one woman. He’s super-competitive and chases his friends’ girls just for fun.
    • Since the ranch idea is not working out, Biff says he’ll talk to this guy he used to work for named Bill Oliver. Biff was a salesman in Oliver’s sporting goods business way back when and thinks he made a good impression. He’s hoping Oliver will give him a loan so that he and Happy can start a business together.
    • Happy thinks this is the best idea ever. With big dreams in mind, the brothers go back to sleep.
    • Cut to downstairs, where Willy is still chatting with imaginary people.
    • In his head, Willy relives the high school days of his sons.
    • Said high school days go something like this:
    • Biff and Happy are washing their dad’s car, hoping to impress him.
    • The macho boys and their dad sit around and talk about how much everybody loves them and how popular they are.
    • Biff says he’s "borrowed" (clearly stole) a football in order to practice his game (he’s a football star and also, it would seem, a kleptomaniac). Laughing, Willy tells him he should return it (good parenting move). But neither father nor son takes the stealing seriously.
    • The father starts going off about how great America is and how everyone busts out the red carpet in the New England towns where he travels for business.
    • He’s bragging and overdoing it here.
    • Still in the flashback, Linda enters with some laundry, which Willy makes the boys help her with. Biff gets his gang of fawning friends to help out, too.
    • Willy hasn’t had enough of bragging about himself yet, so he starts telling his wife about how "well liked" he is and how he made a killing on his recent trip.
    • Willy, who actually made $70 in commissions, tells Linda it was $212.
    • Sadly, when they add up the math, Linda finds that, even with the self-delusion and imaginary income, they’re still in debt.
    • In a sudden (rare) moment of accurate self-reflection, Willy says people just don’t like him very muchbut he blames his failure on being ugly and fat.
    • Linda assures him that everything will be fine.
    • No, wait, this is a flashback. We already know that "fine" never comes to pass.
    • Now Willy’s mind flashes to a woman who is not Linda by any stretch of the imagination.
    • The woman is putting her clothes on amid some sexually suggestive jokes.
    • Willy has given her some stockings (remember these stockings for a little while longer).
    • Back to the other flashback (with his wife and the boys and the laundry). Willy promises to make everything up to Linda.
    • Linda acts like a loving angel, obviously unaware that her husband is cheating on her.
    • Willy notices Linda mending her stocking. She responds that new ones are too expensive to buy (apparently too expensive to buy for wives, but not for mistresses).
    • Willy is thinking along the same lines as we are, and guiltily snaps at Linda, telling her not to mend the stockings in front of him.
    • We then get another flashback to the time when Biff is in high school. (If you’re a little confused at all of these flashbacks, just imagine how Willy is feeling.)
    • Bernard, the son of Willy’s neighbor Charley, comes running in, shouting that Biff is going to fail math.
    • Being the model parent that he is, Willy tells Bernard to give Biff the answers to the test and get lost.
    • Linda is worried about her son failing math, but her husband brushes off her concern with assurances that Biff’s charm will carry him through.
    • So that was a crazy trip, and now we’re back to real time.
    • Willy snaps out of his daydream and finds Happy.
    • Willy’s thinking is disjointed. He’s now complaining about how he was an idiot not to go to Alaska with his brother, Ben, when he was a young man. Ben apparently got rich on his adventures.
    • Happy is unable to help his hallucinating father.
    • Charley, the neighbor, comes into the kitchen. He’s heard noises and wants to make sure everything’s OK (remember, it’s still late at night).
    • Charley knows Willy’s financial situation and kindly offers Willy a job. Offended, Willy says he already has a job (big mistake).
    • Charley advises Willy to stop putting so much pressure on Biff. Offended again (as usual), Willy tells Charley to screw off.
    • Ben enters the stage (not the real Ben, though—this is an imaginary Ben that Charley can’t see).
    • Willy talks aloud with imaginary Ben. Charley, still sitting in the kitchen, has no idea what’s going on (and is in all likelihood thinking of retracting the job offer).
    • Now Willy converses with the imaginary Ben and the real Charley at the same time.
    • He informs Charley that Ben recently died.
    • Back in Willy’s mind, Ben is rushing out the door to catch a train. He repeatedly urges Willy to go with him to Alaska.
    • Back in real life, Charley, irritated and confused to no end, storms out.
    • Back in Willy’s mind, Willy asks Ben how he made so much money in Alaska.
    • Linda (an imaginary version of her) enters and greets Ben.
    • Now we get a bit more background on Willy. Turns out, his father abandoned him and Ben when they were kids.
    • So the deal with Alaska was that Ben tried to follow their dad there. Ben’s no genius (or migratory bird) and due to his sketchy sense of geography, ended up in Africa instead.
    • There (in Africa), Ben struck it big in diamonds.
    • Now more craziness ensues when imaginary young Biff and Happy enter. Willy tells the boys that Uncle Ben’s success is proof that great dreams can come true.
    • Imaginary Ben has to go catch his train, but tells Willy and the boys that his father (the boys’ grandfather) used to play the flute. He also used to drive Willy and Ben around the country by wagon and sell his inventions along the way.
    • Predictably, Willy brags to Ben about how well he has raised his sons.
    • Showing off his son, Willy pushes Biff to start a fistfight with his Uncle Ben. This is weird.
    • Ben wins (unfairly), saying that in order to survive, you must cheat in fights with strangers. What a great piece of wisdom.
    • Poor Willy, looking for approval and trying to keep Ben around, starts going off about how even though he’s a city slicker and a salesman, he is still a manly man (think loincloths and hunting). Willy sends his sons to steal lumber (!) so they can show their uncle how manly they are.
    • Here comes more confusion. You just met real Charley, but now enters imaginary Charley.
    • Imaginary Charley enters the kitchen just as young Happy and Biff run off to steal some wood for a building project.
    • Charley warns Willy that he’s got to stop them from stealing or they’ll get in big fat trouble (like jail).
    • Everyone erupts into a shouting match and Willy insults Charley’s manliness.
    • Everyone leaves the stage except Ben and Willy.
    • Willy confesses that he’s scared he’s not raising his boys well and begs Ben to stay and tell him stories about their father. But Ben’s not so nice (if you hadn’t noticed) and he leaves.
    • So Willy’s been chatting and fighting with lots of imaginary figures tonight, but we think that’s just about it for delusions, at least for the time being, because here comes real Linda.
    • Now we’re back in real time. Linda wants to know what on earth is going on.
    • Willy wanders outside, insisting he needs a walk.
    • Real Biff and Happy come into the kitchen, freaked out. Their mom says that Willy’s behavior is worse when Biff is around. She tells Biff to stop drifting and to show his father some respect.
    • Things heat up. Linda tells Biff to stay away from his father. Biff retorts that his father treats her terribly, and calls Willy crazy.
    • Linda, deeply offended, responds that her husband is simply exhausted. (Yes, she’s clearly deluding herself.)
    • Now she admits that Willy’s boss cut his salary and they’re struggling financially. Their dad has been borrowing money from Charley every week to pay the bills.
    • Linda accuses her sons of being ungrateful and oblivious.
    • Biff responds that Willy’s a fake but won’t explain why.
    • To smooth out the situation, Biff tells Linda he’ll get a job and give them half his paycheck.
    • As if things were not bad enough, Linda announces that Willy’s been trying to kill himself in car "accidents." Also, she’s found a short length of rubber pipe attached to the fuse box (it seems he was trying to gas himself).
    • Linda tells Biff that Willy’s life is in his hands, so he must be careful.
    • Biff says he’ll straighten out, but he just wasn’t made to work in the business world.
    • Willy walks in. Almost immediately, he and Biff begin to argue.
    • Happy, the peacemaker, interrupts and says that Biff is going to see Bill Oliver the following morning to get a business loan.
    • Willy is all happy and perky for about two seconds before father and son are at it again.
    • Happy strikes again, trying to make the situation... happy. He tells his dad that he and Biff are thinking of starting a sporting goods line in Florida.
    • Excitedly, Willy starts telling Biff how to behave around Oliver, who is in the sporting goods business. He acts as if they’ve already sealed a million-dollar deal.
    • Somehow angered again, Willy storms upstairs. Linda and the boys follow him. The boys say goodnight and are lectured about their greatness.
    • Biff wanders downstairs alone while Linda desperately tries to sing Willy to sleep.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

  • Act Two

    • Linda and Willy have breakfast in the kitchen. Biff and Happy have left early, and Willy and Linda discuss their sons’ potential.
    • Willy says he wants to buy seeds and grow something. Hmm…
    • Linda, blind to Willy’s work situation, asks her husband to have Howard give him an advance payment. Today is also the day Willy is going to ask Howard for a local, non-traveling job.
    • Linda lets her hubby know that Happy and Biff want to take him to dinner that evening—they’re already planning on celebrating their successes.
    • Now the scene shifts to Howard’s office. Willy tries desperately to start a conversation with him, but Howard insists on demonstrating his new wire recorder and bragging about his wife and kids.
    • Acting subserviently, Willy asks his boss if there’s a place for him in the New York office.
    • Howard tells Willy there’s simply no job for him. Willy literally begs him, and at length, explaining that he’d held Howard in his arms when Howard was a newborn. (Howard’s dad was Willy’s old boss; Howard inherited the company from his father.)
    • Now we get some insight into Willy’s dreams when he tells Howard (who is totally bored) about Dave Singleman, a fantastic salesman. This salesman was so well-liked that when he died, his clients and coworkers mourned him for months. Willy wants to be like Singleman, but can’t seem to get people to like him. He wants Howard to give him another chance.
    • Howard refuses.
    • Willy breaks down.
    • Howard says it would be better if Willy left the firm since he isn’t earning his keep. Willy begs to be allowed to keep his traveling job, offering himself at lower and lower pay rates.
    • Howard refuses and walks out on Willy.
    • Basically, Willy is fired.
    • This situation is so distressing that Willy goes back into his imaginary world.
    • He’s talking with Ben again, asking Ben how he made it big. Ben asks Willy to join him in Alaska.
    • Willy tries to convince imaginary Linda of the scheme, but she insists Willy’s job and life are good enough as they are. Willy feels lost.
    • High school-aged Biff and Happy enter and Willy starts boasting to Ben about how his kids can succeed solely on the basis of being attractive and well-liked.
    • Struck by another wave of self-doubt, Willy begs Ben to stay and help him raise the boys. He feels unsure of himself.
    • More imaginary people enter.
    • Bernard runs onstage as Ben leaves. He wants to carry Biff’s shoulder pads into the clubhouse at Ebbets Fields where Biff, a star football player, is preparing for a game.
    • Willy acts like Biff has just won the Super Bowl, and Charley teases Willy about his enthusiasm. Willy overreacts and tells Charley to shut up.
    • Enough football, we’re back to the real world. We hope you enjoyed the trip.
    • Willy is now outside of Charley’s office, arguing wildly with the people in his mind.
    • Charley’s secretary asks Bernard, who is now a respectable, grown man, to deal with Willy.
    • Bernard starts chatting with Willy. Bernard tells Willy that he’s about to catch a train to Washington D.C. for a case he has. Willy wants to learn more about Bernard’s case, but Bernard avoids telling him what he’s up to.
    • Bernard asks about Biff. Willy vaguely says that Biff’s up to big things.
    • Now Willy cracks. He asks Bernard what the secret to his success is and confesses that Biff isn’t accomplishing anything with his life.
    • Bernard recalls that Biff flunked math his senior year of high school, but intended to take the summer course to make up his credits and go to college on a football scholarship.
    • Before starting summer school, Biff went to visit Willy in Boston, and was completely changed when he came back. Biff burned his favorite shoes (a major sign of angst, we gather), and had a huge fistfight with Bernard.
    • Bernard wants to know what the deal was with all that.
    • Willy is nervous and angry. He defensively says that nothing happened between him and Biff.
    • Charley comes in and tells his son Bernard to hurry to catch his train.
    • Charley tells Willy that Bernard is heading off to argue a case before the Supreme Court. Willy is astounded that Bernard didn’t mention this huge accomplishment himself. Could it be that some people don’t need to talk endlessly about themselves?
    • Charley offers Willy fifty dollars. Willy is appreciative, but asks for more.
    • Now Charley gets down to business. He again offers Willy a job that will pay fifty dollars a week and require no travel. But Willy insists he has a good job. (Meaning he’s really proud and actually has no job at all.)
    • These guys never seem to understand each other. Charley interprets Willy’s pride as a personal insult and Willy takes Charley’s job offer as an attack. The men shout back and forth until Willy breaks down and Charley gives him some more money.
    • Now it’s the end of the day. Remember how everyone was planning on having so much to celebrate? And how the boys were going to take their dad out to dinner? Good.
    • So we’re now at Frank’s Chop House.
    • Happy chats with a waiter named Stanley. They spot a beautiful girl coming into the restaurant and give her the up-down.
    • Happy (the ladies’ man, remember?) shamelessly flirts with her, lying through his teeth about himself and Biff. Apparently, Happy now goes to West Point and Biff plays for the NFL.
    • Biff shows up and wants to talk to Happy. Happy is distracted by a girl; he’s convincing her to bring a friend for a double-date with him and Biff.
    • The girl agrees and leaves to call one of her girlfriends.
    • Biff tells his brother what happened with Oliver: Biff waited six hours to see the man, and when he finally did, Oliver had no idea who Biff was.
    • Biff realized that he’d been living in a fantasy world, imagining (with the help of his dad) that he’d been a salesman for Oliver. In fact, he had only been a no-name shipping clerk.
    • In a fit of rage over the whole (short) meeting, Biff stole Oliver’s fancy fountain pen and ran out of the building.
    • Biff wants to tell Willy about the meeting and make his dad face reality. Happy thinks that’s an awful idea because their dad should only hear good news.
    • Willy then shows up at the restaurantexpecting to hear good news.
    • Biff tries telling his honest story, but is consistently interrupted by Willy's and Happy’s hopeful insistence that everything went wonderfully with Oliver.
    • Biff repeatedly begins to lie like a Loman, but consciously stops himself.
    • Too lateWilly’s back in his visions again, where high school-aged Bernard rushes in to inform Linda that Biff flunked math.
    • Back to reality. Willy hears enough of Biff’s story to realize that Biff stole Oliver’s fountain pen, which was clearly the most exciting bit of the tale.
    • Poor Willy loses it. He keeps repeating, "I’m not here" aloud, imagining that a telephone operator is trying to track him down.
    • Confused and horrified by his father’s behavior, Biff promises to do better.
    • Happy tries to lie on Biff’s behalf and say that everything went well with Oliver. At the same time, Biff tries desperately to hold onto the truth.
    • The hot chick that Happy had been flirting with returns with her friend.
    • Willy continues to have vivid flashbacks, hearing the voices of an operator and a woman.
    • The scene shifts fully into Willy’s flashback. He is dressing and chatting with a woman in a black slip. Yes, that’s the same woman we saw him with before in the stockings episode.
    • As they chat, it becomes evident that she thinks Willy is the cat’s meow. She’s been stroking his ego.
    • We hear repeated knocking on the lovers’ hotel room door.
    • Willy finally agrees to get the door and insists that the woman hide in the bathroom.
    • He opens the door and finds Biff. Extremely worried, Biff explains that he failed math and begs Willy to talk to his teacher.
    • Guilty Willy tries frantically to usher Biff out of the room, but the woman walks out of the bathroom and Biff sees her.
    • Willy’s desperate attempts at a cover-up aren’t working on Biff. Biff may have failed math, but he’s not dumb. He realizes his dad is having an affair and breaks down, screaming at Willy for giving the woman his mom’s stockings.
    • Willy’s mind is now back in reality. But his sons bailed on him, preferring a double-date to their suffering father.
    • Willy pulls himself together and urgently asks Stanley (the waiter) where the nearest seed store is (remember how he wanted to plant things earlier that morning?).

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • After their night on the town, Biff and Happy return home to their angry mother.
    • Linda shouts at Biff and Happy for ditching Willy at the restaurant for some stupid girls. Biff demands to see Willy, but she won’t let him.
    • Biff finds his dad out back on his hands and knees planting seeds. He’s talking aloud to himself.
    • Back in Willy’s tormented mind, Willy is having a conversation with Ben. Willy still wants Biff to make it big. Because there is no financial support from Oliver, Willy feels killing himself is the only option. That way, Biff can have the $20,000 life insurance payout. He’s sure his son could use that money to set up a successful business.
    • Ben tells Willy it’s a cowardly idea.
    • Imagining his own funeral with a horde of mourners, Willy tells Ben it will teach Biff once and for all how well-known and liked Willy is.
    • The scene shifts back to reality. Things are not looking so good.
    • Biff stands over his father, says good-bye, announces he’s leaving for good, and openly takes the blame for his own inability to make something of himself.
    • Biff and Willy enter the kitchen, where Linda is waiting. Unwilling to react to Biff’s attempts to say good-bye, Willy keeps asking about Oliver (which is just about the worst possible topic).
    • Now the emotions really come out. Willy accuses Biff of being spiteful; they argue aggressively.
    • Biff whips out the piping that his father tried to kill himself with. Willy denies the suicide attempt while Biff accuses him of trying to be a martyr.
    • Biff lays all of his feelings out in the open. He says that the family is always lying to themselves. Sick of lying, Biff screams that he’s stolen from every employer since high school and has even served jail time.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

    • Biff has had some serious epiphanies: he says that Willy taught him to be so arrogant that he could never take direction from an employer. He adds that he’s finished with trying to be something (something = business man) he never wanted to be in the first place.
    • No longer willing to pretend, Biff demands that Willy stop expecting him to accomplish the impossible.
    • Biff is by now sobbing. (Who wouldn’t be?)
    • Willy, astounded at Biff’s emotional explosion, finally realizes that Biff loves him and wants his approval.
    • Yay, everything is great!
    • No, wait, everything is not great. Love, it turns out, is not all. Willy still hears Ben (in his mind), urging him to come find diamonds.
    • With diamonds (diamonds = life insurance policy) on the brain, Willy refuses to come up to bed and remains absorbed in his visions and love for his son.
    • Willy understands that his son loves him, but can’t stop dreaming about Biff making it big.
    • He converses again with Ben, who this time tells him that "the jungle is dark but full of diamonds."
    • He jumps up and runs out of the house.
    • Linda and Biff shout after him, realizing that he has sped off in the car.
    • They hear the car crash.
    • Willy has killed himself.

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)

  • Requiem

    • Looking at her husband’s grave, Linda wonders why all of Willy’s friends and co-workers, by whom he was so well-liked, didn’t come to the funeral.
    • Biff says that Willy had the wrong dreams, that he never knew who he was.
    • Charley and Bernard are at the funeral as well. Charley, still the good man, defends his dead friend, saying that part of being a salesman is about having a dream.
    • Happy is mad and defensive. He embraces his father’s dream (the one Biff has rejected), and is determined to "come out number-one man."
    • Linda can’t understand why Willy killed himself. She declares she had finally made the last payment on their house that day—they really own it now.
    • She cries over the grave, repeatedly sobbing, "we’re free."

    (Click the summary infographic to download.)