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Death of a Salesman - plot summary

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Death of a salesman Willy a sixty something year old successful man, or that is what he thinks. Willy starts of as a 'normal' salesman but he slowly starts to degenerate into a gibbering wreck. We are told, "his exhaustion is apparent" Willy lives in New York as he has moved their after rejecting the offer to go to Alaska, instead he became a New York salesman, to follow the 'American dream' So he had hoped he could go into New York with nothing and leave 'rich' This formed part of the 'phoney American dream' Biff is an unemployed, thirty-four year old failure, but that is not what his father Willy thinks. Willy feels very proud of biff, and that he has achieved a lot in his life. But really he has achieved very little. Biff also lacks self-assurance because of the uncertainty about his father's attitude towards him, and his doubts about his own life and future. As Biff says "Why does dad mock me all the time?" Linda is very caring for Willy and "she more than loves him" and she is very loyal and supportive of him. She doesn't understand what is going on between Willy and Biff and why there is tension, Happy is like Willy and he is lost in his own life, but he cannot come to face towards defeat. ...read more.


On page 82 Biff finally faces up to the truth himself and realises that his whole life has been a failure "I realised what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been. We've been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk" Biff has realised that he has been a failure for fifteen years and all that was said about the cattle ranching and all the other job's was a lie so that he could get attention. When Biff had decided to go and see Bill Oliver to borrow some money to start a business it all went wrong "Hap, I took his fountain pen" Biff had stolen Bill's fountain pen and ran out with it, and he said he did it because "I just - wanted to take something" Biff decides that he is going to tell Willy the truth, but Happy knows this will hurt him. Happy says, "Dad is never so happy as when he's looking forward to something!" Biff wants to tell the truth but Happy wants to keep deceiving his father so that he will remain happy and not break down. Biff tries to tell Willy the truth but Willy only 'hears what he wants to hear' and he also keeps changing the subject, so in the end Biff deceives him again "I did. ...read more.


Biff - he likes me!" He then starts to say how magnificent Biff is going to be when he grows up. Willy has to be convinced that he is loved by Biff because he thinks that he doesn't love him as he walked out of the restaurant, and he saw him with The Woman. Now he knows that Biff loves him he has decided that he is going to kill himself for Biff so that he can have all of the money. Willy then goes on to say that he knew that himself and Biff would always make it "Oh, Ben, I always knew one way or another we were gonna make it, Biff and I!" Biff has learnt from his father's death, he has learnt that Willy was not as popular as he was saying he was, and he was just living in the 'phoney American dream' Happy does not seem to understand this and he is still very defensive of things said about him. "[infuriated]: Don't say that!" Happy also says that he is going to prove that his father did not die in vein but we all know that he did. "Willy Loman did not die in vein" Biff talks about leaving the city but happy wants to stay "I'm staying right in this city, and I'm gonna beat this racket!" but then he says "The Loman Brothers!" but he can't be part of the team as he rejected the offer to move away. ...read more.

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