Death of a Salesman Act 1 (complete)

Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman Act 1 (complete) By Arthur Miller

ACT ONE
A melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon. The curtain rises.
Before us is the salesman’s house. We are aware of towering, angular shapes behind it, surrounding it on all sides. Only the blue light of the sky falls upon the house and forestage; the surrounding area shows an angry glow of orange. As more light appears, we see a solid vault of apartment houses around the small, fragile-seeming home. An air of the dream clings to the place, a dream rising out of reality. The kitchen at center seems actual enough, for there is a kitchen table with three chairs, and a refrigerator. But no other fixtures are seen. At the back of the kitchen there is a draped entrance, which leads to the living-room. To the right of the kitchen, on a level raised two feet, is a bedroom furnished only with a brass bedstead and a straight chair. On a shelf over the bed a silver athletic trophy stands. A window opens on to the apartment house at the side.
Behind the kitchen, on a level raised six and a half feet, is the boys’ bedroom, at present barely visible. Two beds are dimly seen, and at the back of the room a dormer window. At the left a stairway curves up to it from the kitchen.
The entire setting is wholly or, in some places, partially trans- parent. The roof-line of the house is one-dimensional; under and over it we see the apartment buildings. Before the house lies an apron, curving beyond the forestage into the orchestra. This forward area serves as the back yard as well as the locale of all Willy’s imaginings and of his city scenes. Whenever the action is in the present the actors observe the imaginary wall-lines, entering the house only through its door at the left. But in the scenes of the past these boundaries are broken, and characters enter or leave a room by stepping ‘‘through’’ a wall on to the forestage.
1

2 DEATH OF A SALESMAN

linda : Willy!
willy: It’s all right. I came back.
linda: Why? What happened? Did some- thing happen, Willy?
willy: No, nothing happened.
linda: You didn’t smash the car, did you?
willy : I said nothing happened.
Didn’t you hear me?
linda: Don’t you feel well?
willy: I’m tired to the death. [The flute has faded away.
He sits on the bed beside her, a little numb.] I couldn’t make it. I just couldn’t make it, Linda.
linda : Where were you all day? You look terrible.

ACT ONE 3
willy: I got as far as a little above Yonkers. I stopped for a cup of coffee. Maybe it was the coffee.
linda: What?
willy : I suddenly couldn’t drive any more. The car kept going off on to the shoulder, y’know?
linda : Oh. Maybe it was the steering again. I don’t think Angelo knows the Studebaker.
willy: No, it’s me, it’s me. Suddenly I realize I’m goin’ sixty miles an hour and I don’t remember the last five minutes. I’m—I can’t seem to—keep my mind to it.
linda: Maybe it’s your glasses. You never went for your new glasses.
willy: No, I see everything. I came back ten miles an hour. It took me nearly four hours from Yonkers.
linda : Well, you’ll just have to take a rest, Willy, you can’t continue this way.
willy: I just got back from Florida.
linda: But you didn’t rest your mind. Your mind is over- active, and the mind is what counts, dear.
willy: I’ll start out in the morning. Maybe I’ll feel better in the morning. These goddam arch supports are killing me.
linda: Take an aspirin. Should I get you an aspirin? It’ll soothe you.
willy : I was driving along, you understand? And I was fine. I was even observing the scenery. You can imagine, me looking at scenery, on the road every week of my life. But it’s so beautiful up there, Linda, the trees are so thick, and the sun is warm. I opened the windshield and just let the warm air bathe over me. And then all of a sudden I’m goin’ off the road! I’m tellin’ ya, I absolutely forgot I was driving. If I’d’ve gone the other way over the white line I might’ve killed somebody. So I went on again—and five minutes later I’m dreamin’ again, and I nearly—[He

4 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
presses two fingers against his eyes.] I have such thoughts, I have such strange thoughts.
linda: Willy, dear. Talk to them again. There’s no reason why you can’t work in New York.
willy: They don’t need me in New York. I’m the New England man. I’m vital in New England.
linda: But you’re sixty years old. They can’t expect you to keep traveling every week.
willy: I’ll have to send a wire to Portland. I’m supposed to see Brown and Morrison tomorrow morning at ten o’clock to show the line. Goddammit, I could sell them!
linda : Why don’t you go down to the place tomorrow and tell Howard you’ve simply got to work in New York? You’re too accommodating, dear.
willy: If old man Wagner was alive I’d a been in charge of New York now! That man was a prince, he was a mas- terful man. But that boy of his, that Howard, he don’t ap- preciate. When I went north the first time, the Wagner Company didn’t know where New England was!
linda: Why don’t you tell those things to Howard, dear?
willy : I will, I definitely will. Is there any cheese?
linda: I’ll make you a sandwich.
willy: No, go to sleep. I’ll take some milk. I’ll be up right away. The boys in?
linda: They’re sleeping. Happy took Biff on a date to- night.
willy : That so?
linda: It was so nice to see them shaving together, one behind the other, in the bathroom. And going out together. You notice? The whole house smells of shaving lotion.
willy: Figure it out. Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there’s nobody to live in it.

ACT ONE 5
linda: Well, dear, life is a casting off. It’s always that way.
willy: No, no, some people—some people accomplish something. Did Biff say anything after I went this morning? linda: You shouldn’t have criticized him, Willy, espe- cially after he just got off the train. You mustn’t lose your
temper with him.
willy: When the hell did I lose my temper? I simply
asked him if he was making any money. Is that a criticism? linda: But, dear, how could he make any money? willy : There’s such an undercurrent
in him. He became a moody man. Did he apologize when I left this morning?
linda: He was crestfallen, Willy. You know how he ad- mires you. I think if he finds himself, then you’ll both be happier and not fight any more.
willy: How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand? In the beginning, when he was young, I thought, well, a young man, it’s good for him to tramp around, take a lot of different jobs. But it’s more than ten years now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week!
linda: He’s finding himself, Willy.
willy: Not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace!
linda: Shh!
willy: The trouble is he’s lazy, goddammit!
linda: Willy, please!
willy: Biff is a lazy bum!
linda: They’re sleeping. Get something to eat. Go on
down.
willy: Why did he come home? I would like to know
what brought him home.
linda: I don’t know. I think he’s still lost, Willy. I think
he’s very lost.

6 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such—personal attractiveness, gets lost. And such a hard worker. There’s one thing about Biff—he’s not lazy.
linda: Never.
willy : I’ll see him in the morning; I’ll have a nice talk with him. I’ll get him a job selling. He could be big in no time. My God! Remember how they used to follow him around in high school? When he smiled at one of them their faces lit up. When he walked down the street . . .
linda : Willy, dear, I got a new kind of American-type cheese today. It’s whipped.
willy: Why do you get American when I like Swiss? linda: I just thought you’d like a change—
willy: I don’t want a change! I want Swiss cheese. Why
am I always being contradicted?
linda : I thought it would be a
surprise.
willy: Why don’t you open a window in here, for God’s
sake?
linda : They’re all open, dear. willy: The way they boxed us in here. Bricks and win-
dows, windows and bricks.
linda: We should’ve bought the land next door. willy: The street is lined with cars. There’s not a breath
of fresh air in the neighborhood. The grass don’t grow any more, you can’t raise a carrot in the back yard. They should’ve had a law against apartment houses. Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When I and Biff hung the swing between them?
linda: Yeah, like being a million miles from the city.
willy: They should’ve arrested the builder for cutting those down. They massacred the neighborhood. More

ACT ONE 7
and more I think of those days, Linda. This time of year it was lilac and wisteria. And then the peonies would come out, and the daffodils. What fragrance in this room!
linda: Well, after all, people had to move somewhere. willy: No, there’s more people now.
linda: I don’t think there’s more people. I think— willy: There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this
country! Population is getting out of control. The compe- tition is maddening! Smell the stink from that apartment house! And another one on the other side . . . How can they whip cheese?
[On willy’s last line, biff and happy raise themselves up
in their beds, listening.]
linda: Go down, try it. And be quiet.
willy : You’re not worried
about me, are you, sweetheart?
biff: What’s the matter?
happy: Listen!
linda: You’ve got too much on the ball to worry about. willy: You’re my foundation and my support, Linda. linda: Just try to relax, dear. You make mountains out
of molehills.
willy: I won’t fight with him any more. If he wants to
go back to Texas, let him go.
linda: He’ll find his way.
willy: Sure. Certain men just don’t get started till later
in life. Like Thomas Edison, I think. Or B. F. Goodrich. One of them was deaf. I’ll put my money on Biff.
linda: And Willy—if it’s warm Sunday we’ll drive in the country. And we’ll open the windshield, and take lunch.
willy: No, the windshields don’t open on the new cars. linda: But you opened it today.
willy: Me? I didn’t. Now isn’t that peculiar!

8 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Isn’t that a remarkable—
linda: What, darling?
willy: That is the most remarkable thing.
linda: What, dear?
willy: I was thinking of the Chevvy. Nine-
teen twenty-eight . . . when I had that red Chevvy— That funny? I coulda sworn I was driving that Chevvy today.
linda: Well, that’s nothing. Something must’ve re- minded you.
willy: Remarkable. Ts. Remember those days? The way Biff used to simonize that car? The dealer refused to believe there was eighty thousand miles on it. Heh! Close your eyes, I’ll be right up.
happy : Jesus, maybe he smashed up the car again!
linda : Be careful on the stairs, dear! The cheese is on the middle shelf !

happy : He’s going to get his licence taken away if he keeps that up. I’m getting nervous about him, y’know, Biff ?

ACT ONE 9
biff: His eyes are going.
happy: No, I’ve driven with him. He sees all right. He just doesn’t keep his mind on it. I drove into the city with him last week. He stops at a green light and then it turns red and he goes.
biff: Maybe he’s color-blind.
happy: Pop? Why, he’s got the finest eye for color in the business. You know that.
biff : I’m going to sleep.
happy: You’re not still sour on Dad, are you, Biff?
biff: He’s all right, I guess.
willy : Yes, sir, eighty
thousand miles—eighty-two thousand!
biff: You smoking?
happy : Want one?
biff : I can never sleep when I smell it. willy: What a simonizing job, heh!
happy : Funny, Biff, y’know? Us
sleeping in here again? The old beds. All the talk that went across those two beds, huh? Our whole lives.
biff: Yeah. Lotta dreams and plans.
happy : About five hun- dred women would like to know what was said in this room.

biff: Remember that big Betsy something—what the hell was her name—over on Bushwick Avenue?
happy : With the collie dog!
biff: That’s the one. I got you in there, remember? happy: Yeah, that was my first time—I think. Boy, there
was a pig! You taught me ev- erything I know about women. Don’t forget that.
biff: I bet you forgot how bashful you used to be. Es- pecially with girls.
happy: Oh, I still am, Biff.

10 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
biff: Oh, go on.
happy: I just control it, that’s all. I think I got less bashful and you got more so. What happened, Biff? Where’s the old humor, the old confidence? What’s the matter?
biff: Why does Dad mock me all the time?
happy: He’s not mocking you, he—
biff: Everything I say there’s a twist of mockery on his
face. I can’t get near him.
happy: He just wants you to make good, that’s all. I
wanted to talk to you about Dad for a long time, Biff. Something’s—happening to him. He—talks to himself.
biff: I noticed that this morning. But he always mumbled.
happy: But not so noticeable. It got so embarrassing I sent him to Florida. And you know something? Most of the time he’s talking to you.
biff: What’s he say about me?
happy: I can’t make it out.
biff: What’s he say about me?
happy: I think the fact that you’re not settled, that you’re
still kind of up in the air . . .
biff: There’s one or two other things depressing him,
Happy.
happy: What do you mean?
biff: Never mind. Just don’t lay it all to me.
happy: But I think if you got started—I mean—is there
any future for you out there?
biff: I tell ya, Hap, I don’t know what the future is. I
don’t know—what I’m supposed to want.
happy: What do you mean?
biff: Well, I spent six or seven years after high school
trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it’s a measly manner of exis- tence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in sum-

ACT ONE 11
mer. To devote your whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two-week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still—that’s how you build a future.
happy: Well, you really enjoy it on a farm? Are you con- tent out there?
biff : Hap, I’ve had twenty or thirty different kinds of job since I left home before the war, and it always turns out the same. I just realized it lately. In Ne- braska when I herded cattle, and the Dakotas, and Arizona, and now in Texas. It’s why I came home now, I guess, because I realized it. This farm I work on, it’s spring there now, see? And they’ve got about fifteen new colts. There’s nothing more inspiring or—beautiful than the sight of a mare and a new colt. And it’s cool there now, see? Texas is cool now, and it’s spring. And whenever spring comes to where I am, I suddenly get the feeling, my God, I’m not gettin’ anywhere! What the hell am I doing, playing around with horses, twenty-eight dollars a week! I’m thirty-four years old, I oughta be makin’ my future. That’s when I come running home. And now, I get here, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve always made a point of not wasting my life, and everytime I come back here I know that all I’ve done is to waste my life.
happy: You’re a poet, you know that, Biff? You’re a— you’re an idealist!
biff: No, I’m mixed up very bad. Maybe I oughta get married. Maybe I oughta get stuck into something. Maybe that’s my trouble. I’m like a boy. I’m not married, I’m not in business, I just—I’m like a boy. Are you content, Hap? You’re a success, aren’t you? Are you content?
happy: Hell, no!

12 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
biff: Why? You’re making money, aren’t you?
happy : All I can do now is wait for the merchandise manager to die. And suppose I get to be merchandise manager? He’s a good friend of mine, and he just built a terrific estate on Long Island. And he lived there about two months and sold it, and now he’s building another one. He can’t enjoy it once it’s fin- ished. And I know that’s just what I would do. I don’t know what the hell I’m workin’ for. Sometimes I sit in my apart- ment—all alone. And I think of the rent I’m paying. And it’s crazy. But then, it’s what I always wanted. My own apartment, a car, and plenty of women. And still, goddam- mit, I’m lonely.
biff : Listen, why don’t you come out West with me?
happy: You and I, heh?
biff: Sure, maybe we could buy a ranch. Raise cattle, use our muscles. Men built like we are should be working out in the open.
happy : The Loman Brothers, heh?
biff : Sure, we’d be known all over the counties!
happy : That’s what I dream about, Biff. Some- times I want to just rip my clothes off in the middle of the store and outbox that goddam merchandise manager. I mean I can outbox, outrun, and outlift anybody in that store, and I have to take orders from those common, petty sons-of- b*t*hes till I can’t stand it any more.
biff: I’m tellin’ you, kid, if you were with me I’d be happy out there.
happy : See, Biff, everybody around me is so false that I’m constantly lowering my ideals . . .
biff: Baby, together we’d stand up for one another, we’d have someone to trust.

ACT ONE 13
happy: If I were around you—
biff: Hap, the trouble is we weren’t brought up to grub for money. I don’t know how to do it.
happy: Neither can I!
biff: Then let’s go!
happy: The only thing is—what can you make out there? biff: But look at your friend. Builds an estate and then
hasn’t the peace of mind to live in it.
happy: Yeah, but when he walks into the store the waves
part in front of him. That’s fifty-two thousand dollars a year coming through the revolving door, and I got more in my pinky finger than he’s got in his head.
biff: Yeah, but you just said—
happy: I gotta show some of those pompous, self- important executives over there that Hap Loman can make the grade. I want to walk into the store the way he walks in. Then I’ll go with you, Biff. We’ll be together yet, I swear. But take those two we had tonight. Now weren’t they gorgeous creatures?
biff: Yeah, yeah, most gorgeous I’ve had in years.
happy: I get that any time I want, Biff. Whenever I feel disgusted. The only trouble is, it gets like bowling or some- thing. I just keep knockin’ them over and it doesn’t mean anything. You still run around a lot?
biff: Naa. I’d like to find a girl—steady, somebody with substance.
happy: That’s what I long for.
biff: Go on! You’d never come home.
happy: I would! Somebody with character, with resis-
tance! Like Mom, y’know? You’re gonna call me a bas- tard when I tell you this. That girl Charlotte I was with tonight is engaged to be married in five weeks.
biff: No kiddin’!

14 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
happy: Sure, the guy’s in line for the vice-presidency of the store. I don’t know what gets into me, maybe I just have an overdeveloped sense of competition or something, but I went and ruined her, and furthermore I can’t get rid of her. And he’s the third executive I’ve done that to. Isn’t that a crummy characteristic? And to top it all, I go to their wed- dings! Like I’m not supposed to take bribes. Manufacturers offer me a hundred-dollar bill now and then to throw an order their way. You know how honest I am, but it’s like this girl, see. I hate myself for it. Because I don’t want the girl, and, still, I take it and—I love it!
biff: Let’s go to sleep.
happy: I guess we didn’t settle anything, heh?
biff: I just got one idea that I think I’m going to try. happy: What’s that?
biff: Remember Bill Oliver?
happy: Sure, Oliver is very big now. You want to work
for him again?
biff: No, but when I quit he said something to me. He
put his arm on my shoulder, and he said, ‘‘Biff, if you ever need anything, come to me.’’
happy: I remember that. That sounds good.
biff: I think I’ll go to see him. If I could get ten thousand or even seven or eight thousand dollars I could buy a beau- tiful ranch.
happy: I bet he’d back you. ’Cause he thought highly of you, Biff. I mean, they all do. You’re well liked, Biff. That’s why I say to come back here, and we both have the apart- ment. And I’m tellin’ you, Biff, any babe you want . . .
biff: No, with a ranch I could do the work I like and still be something. I just wonder though. I wonder if Oliver still thinks I stole that carton of basketballs.
happy: Oh, he probably forgot that long ago. It’s almost

ACT ONE 15
ten years. You’re too sensitive. Anyway, he didn’t really fire you.
biff: Well, I think he was going to. I think that’s why I quit. I was never sure whether he knew or not. I know he thought the world of me, though. I was the only one he’d let lock up the place.
willy : You gonna wash the engine, Biff ? happy: Shh!

happy: You hear that?

biff : Doesn’t he know Mom can hear that? willy: Don’t get your sweater dirty, Biff!

happy: Isn’t that terrible? Don’t leave again, will you?
You’ll find a job here. You gotta stick around. I don’t know what to do about him, it’s getting embarrassing.
willy: What a simonizing job!
biff: Mom’s hearing that!
willy: No kiddin’, Biff, you got a date? Wonderful! happy: Go on to sleep. But talk to him in the morning,
will you?
biff : With her in the house.
Brother!
happy : I wish you’d have a good talk
with him.

biff : That selfish, stupid . . .
happy: Sh . . . Sleep, Biff.
[Their light is out. Well before they have finished speaking, willy’s form is dimly seen below in the darkened kitchen. He opens the refrigerator, searches in there, and takes out a bottle of milk. The apartment houses are fading out, and the

16 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
entire house and surroundings become covered with leaves. Music insinuates itself as the leaves appear.]
willy: Just wanna be careful with those girls, Biff, that’s
all. Don’t make any promises. No promises of any kind. Because a girl, y’know, they always believe what you tell ’em, and you’re very young, Biff, you’re too young to be talking seriously to girls.

willy: Too young entirely, Biff. You want to watch your schooling first. Then when you’re all set, there’ll be plenty of girls for a boy like you. That so? The girls pay for you? Boy, you must really be makin’ a hit.
willy: I been wondering why you polish the car so care- ful. Ha! Don’t leave the hubcaps, boys. Get the chamois to the hubcaps. Happy, use newspaper on the windows, it’s the easiest thing. Show him how to do it, Biff ! You see, Happy? Pad it up, use it like a pad. That’s it, that’s it, good work. You’re doin’ all right, Hap. Biff, first thing we gotta do when we get time is clip that big branch over the house. Afraid it’s gonna fall in a storm and hit the roof. Tell you what. We get a rope and sling her around, and then we climb up there with a couple of saws and take her down. Soon as you finish the car, boys, I wanna see ya. I got a
surprise for you, boys.
biff : Whatta ya got, Dad?
willy: No, you finish first. Never leave a job till you’re

ACT ONE 17
finished—remember that. Biff, up in Albany I saw a beautiful hammock. I think I’ll buy it next trip, and we’ll hang it right between those two elms. Wouldn’t that be something? Just swingin’ there under those branches. Boy, that would be . . .

biff : How’s that, Pop, professional?
willy: Terrific. Terrific job, boys. Good work, Biff. happy: Where’s the surprise, Pop?
willy: In the back seat of the car.
happy: Boy!
biff: What is it, Dad? Tell me, what’d you buy?
willy : Never mind, something I want you to have.
biff : What is it, Hap? happy : It’s a punching bag!
biff: Oh, Pop!
willy: It’s got Gene Tunney’s signature on it!
biff: Gee, how’d you know we wanted a punching bag? willy: Well, it’s the finest thing for the timing.
happy : I’m
losing weight, you notice, Pop?
willy : Jumping rope is good too.
biff: Did you see the new football I got?
willy : Where’d you get a new ball? biff: The coach told me to practice my passing.
willy: That so? And he gave you the ball, heh?
biff: Well, I borrowed it from the locker room. [He laughs
confidentially.]

18 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy : I want you to return that.
happy: I told you he wouldn’t like it!
biff : Well, I’m bringing it back!
willy : Sure, he’s
gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he? Coach’ll probably congratulate you on your initiative!
biff: Oh, he keeps congratulating my initiative all the time, Pop.
willy: That’s because he likes you. If somebody else took that ball there’d be an uproar. So what’s the report, boys, what’s the report?
biff: Where’d you go this time, Dad? Gee, we were lone- some for you.
willy : Lonesome, heh?
biff: Missed you every minute.
willy: Don’t say? Tell you a secret, boys. Don’t breathe it to a soul. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more.
happy: Like Uncle Charley, heh?
willy: Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not—liked. He’s liked, but he’s not—well liked.
biff: Where’d you go this time, Dad?
willy: Well, I got on the road, and I went north to Providence. Met the Mayor.
biff: The Mayor of Providence!
willy: He was sitting in the hotel lobby.
biff: What’d he say?
willy: He said, ‘‘Morning!’’ And I said, ‘‘You got a fine
city here, Mayor.’’ And then he had coffee with me. And then I went to Waterbury. Waterbury is a fine city. Big clock city, the famous Waterbury clock. Sold a nice bill there. And then Boston—Boston is the cradle of the Rev-

ACT ONE 19
olution. A fine city. And a couple of other towns in Mass., and on to Portland and Bangor and straight home!
biff: Gee, I’d love to go with you sometime, Dad. willy: Soon as summer comes.
happy: Promise?
willy: You and Hap and I, and I’ll show you all the
towns. America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstand- ing people. And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ’cause one thing, boys: I have friends. I can park my car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own. This summer, heh?
biff and happy : Yeah! You bet!
willy: We’ll take our bathing suits.
happy: We’ll carry your bags, Pop!
willy: Oh, won’t that be something! Me comin’ into the
Boston stores with you boys carryin’ my bags. What a sen- sation!

willy: You nervous, Biff, about the game?
biff: Not if you’re gonna be there.
willy: What do they say about you in school, now that
they made you captain?
happy: There’s a crowd of girls behind him every time
the classes change.
biff : This Saturday, Pop, this Sat-
urday—just for you, I’m going to break through for a touchdown.
happy: You’re supposed to pass.
biff: I’m takin’ one play for Pop. You watch me, Pop, and when I take off my helmet, that means I’m breakin’ out. Then you watch me crash through that line!
willy : Oh, wait’ll I tell this in Boston!

20 DEATH OF A SALESMAN

bernard: Biff, where are you? You’re supposed to study
with me today.
willy: Hey, looka Bernard. What’re you lookin’ so ane-
mic about, Bernard?
bernard: He’s gotta study, Uncle Willy. He’s got Re-
gents next week.
happy : Let’s box,
Bernard!
bernard: Biff ! Listen, Biff, I
heard Mr. Birnbaum say that if you don’t start studyin’ math he’s gonna flunk you, and you won’t graduate. I heard him! willy: You better study with him, Biff. Go ahead now.
bernard: I heard him!
biff: Oh, Pop, you didn’t see my sneakers!
willy: Hey, that’s a beautiful job of printing!
bernard : Just because he printed Uni- versity of Virginia on his sneakers doesn’t mean they’ve got to graduate him, Uncle Willy!
willy : What’re you talking about? With schol- arships to three universities they’re gonna flunk him?
bernard: But I heard Mr. Birnbaum say—
willy: Don’t be a pest, Bernard! What an anemic!
bernard: Okay, I’m waiting for you in my house, Biff.
willy: Bernard is not well liked, is he?
biff: He’s liked, but he’s not well liked.
happy: That’s right, Pop.
willy: That’s just what I mean, Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five times

ACT ONE 21
ahead of him. That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appear- ance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. ‘‘Willy Loman is here!’’ That’s all they have to know, and I go right through.
biff: Did you knock them dead, Pop?
willy: Knocked ’em cold in Providence, slaughtered ’em in Boston.
happy : I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop?

linda : Hello, dear!
willy: Sweetheart!
linda: How’d the Chevvy run?
willy: Chevrolet, Linda, is the greatest car ever built. Since when do you let your mother carry wash up the stairs?
biff: Grab hold there, boy!
happy: Where to, Mom?
linda: Hang them up on the line. And you better go
down to your friends, Biff. The cellar is full of boys. They don’t know what to do with themselves.
biff: Ah, when Pop comes home they can wait!
willy : You better go down and tell them what to do, Biff.
biff: I think I’ll have them sweep out the furnace room. willy: Good work, Biff.
biff [ goes through wall-line of kitchen to doorway at back and
calls down]: Fellas! Everybody sweep out the furnace room! I’ll be right down!
voices: All right! Okay, Biff.

22 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
biff: George and Sam and Frank, come out back! We’re hangin’ up the wash! Come on, Hap, on the double!
linda: The way they obey him!
willy: Well, that’s training, the training. I’m tellin’ you, I was sellin’ thousands and thousands, but I had to come home.
linda: Oh, the whole block’ll be at that game. Did you sell anything?
willy: I did five hundred gross in Providence and seven hundred gross in Boston.
linda: No! Wait a minute, I’ve got a pencil. That makes your com- mission . . . Two hundred—my God! Two hundred and twelve dollars!
willy: Well, I didn’t figure it yet, but . . .
linda: How much did you do?
willy: Well, I—I did—about a hundred and eighty gross
in Providence. Well, no—it came to—roughly two hundred gross on the whole trip.
linda : Two hundred gross. That’s . . .
willy: The trouble was that three of the stores were half closed for inventory in Boston. Otherwise I woulda broke records.
linda: Well, it makes seventy dollars and some pennies. That’s very good.
willy: What do we owe?
linda: Well, on the first there’s sixteen dollars on the refrigerator—
willy: Why sixteen?
linda: Well, the fan belt broke, so it was a dollar eighty. willy: But it’s brand new.
linda: Well, the man said that’s the way it is. Till they
work themselves in, y’know.

ACT ONE 23

willy: I hope we didn’t get stuck on that machine. linda: They got the biggest ads of any of them!
willy: I know, it’s a fine machine. What else?
linda: Well, there’s nine-sixty for the washing machine.
And for the vacuum cleaner there’s three and a half due on the fifteenth. Then the roof, you got twenty-one dollars remaining.
willy: It don’t leak, does it?
linda: No, they did a wonderful job. Then you owe Frank for the carburetor.
willy: I’m not going to pay that man! That god- dam Chevrolet, they ought to prohibit the manufacture of that car!
linda: Well, you owe him three and a half. And odds and ends, comes to around a hundred and twenty dollars by the fifteenth.
willy: A hundred and twenty dollars! My God, if busi- ness don’t pick up I don’t know what I’m gonna do!
linda: Well, next week you’ll do better.
willy: Oh, I’ll knock ’em dead next week. I’ll go to Hartford. I’m very well liked in Hartford. You know, the trouble is, Linda, people don’t seem to take to me.

linda: Oh, don’t be foolish.
willy: I know it when I walk in. They seem to laugh
at me.
linda: Why? Why would they laugh at you? Don’t talk
that way, Willy.

willy: I don’t know the reason for it, but they just pass
me by. I’m not noticed.
linda: But you’re doing wonderful, dear. You’re making
seventy to a hundred dollars a week.

24 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: But I gotta be at it ten, twelve hours a day. Other men—I don’t know—they do it easier. I don’t know why —I can’t stop myself—I talk too much. A man oughta come in with a few words. One thing about Charley. He’s a man of few words, and they respect him.
linda: You don’t talk too much, you’re just lively.
willy : Well, I figure, what the hell, life is short, a couple of jokes. I joke too much!
linda: Why? You’re—
willy: I’m fat. I’m very—foolish to look at, Linda. I didn’t tell you, but Christmas time I happened to be calling on F. H. Stewarts, and a salesman I know, as I was going in to see the buyer I heard him say something about—walrus. And I—I cracked him right across the face. I won’t take that. I simply will not take that. But they do laugh at me. I know that.
linda: Darling . . .
willy: I gotta overcome it. I know I gotta overcome it. I’m not dressing to advantage, maybe.
linda: Willy, darling, you’re the handsomest man in the world—
willy: Oh, no, Linda.
linda: To me you are. The handsomest. linda: And the boys, Willy. Few men are idolized by
their children the way you are.

willy : You’re the best there is, Linda,
you’re a pal, you know that? On the road—on the road I want to grab you sometimes and just kiss the life outa you. [The laughter is loud now, and he moves into a brightening

ACT ONE 25
area at the left, where the woman has come from behind the scrim and is standing, putting on her hat, looking into a ‘‘mirror,’’ and laughing.]
willy: ’Cause I get so lonely—especially when business
is bad and there’s nobody to talk to. I get the feeling that I’ll never sell anything again, that I won’t make a living for you, or a business, a business for the boys. There’s so much I want to make for—
the woman: Me? You didn’t make me, Willy. I picked you.
willy : You picked me?
the woman : I did. I’ve been sitting at that desk watching all the salesmen go by, day in, day out. But you’ve got such a sense of humor, and we do have such a good time together, don’t we?
willy: Sure, sure. Why do you have to go now?
the woman: It’s two o’clock . . .
willy: No, come on in!
the woman: . . . my sisters’ll be scandalized. When’ll
you be back?
willy: Oh, two weeks about. Will you come up again? the woman: Sure thing. You do make me laugh. It’s
good for me. And I think you’re a wonderful man.
willy: You picked me, heh?
the woman: Sure. Because you’re so sweet. And such a kidder.
willy: Well, I’ll see you next time I’m in Boston.
the woman: I’ll put you right through to the buyers. willy : Right. Well, bottoms up! the woman : You just kill me,
Willy. You kill

26 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
me. And thanks for the stockings. I love a lot of stockings. Well, good night.
willy: Good night. And keep your pores open!
the woman: Oh, Willy!

linda: You are, Willy. The handsomest man. You’ve got
no reason to feel that—
willy [coming out of the woman’s dimming area and going
over to linda]: I’ll make it all up to you, Linda, I’ll— linda: There’s nothing to make up, dear. You’re doing
fine, better than—
willy : What’s that?
linda: Just mending my stockings. They’re so ex-
pensive—
willy : I won’t have you
mending stockings in this house! Now throw them out!
bernard : Where is he? If he doesn’t
study!
willy : You’ll
give him the answers!
bernard: I do, but I can’t on a Regents! That’s a state
exam! They’re liable to arrest me!
willy: Where is he? I’ll whip him, I’ll whip him! linda: And he’d better give back that football, Willy, it’s
not nice.
willy: Biff! Where is he? Why is he taking everything? linda: He’s too rough with the girls, Willy. All the
mothers are afraid of him! willy: I’ll whip him!

ACT ONE 27
bernard: He’s driving the car without a license!
willy: Shut up!
linda: All the mothers—
willy: Shut up!
bernard : Mr. Birnbaum says he’s stuck up.
willy: Get outa here!
bernard: If he doesn’t buckle down he’ll flunk math!
linda: He’s right, Willy, you’ve gotta—
willy : There’s nothing the matter with him! You want him to be a worm like Bernard? He’s got spirit, personality . . .

willy: Loaded with it. Loaded! What is he stealing? He’s giving it back, isn’t he? Why is he stealing? What did I tell him? I never in my life told him anything but decent things.

happy: Let’s go now, come on.
willy : Huh! Why did she
have to wax the floors herself? Everytime she waxes the floors she keels over. She knows that!
happy: Shh! Take it easy. What brought you back to- night?
willy: I got an awful scare. Nearly hit a kid in Yonkers. God! Why didn’t I go to Alaska with my brother Ben that time! Ben! That man was a genius, that man was success incarnate! What a mistake! He begged me to go.
happy: Well, there’s no use in—

28 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: You guys! There was a man started with the clothes on his back and ended up with diamond mines?
happy: Boy, someday I’d like to know how he did it.
willy: What’s the mystery? The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich! The world is an oyster, but you don’t crack it open on a mattress!
happy: Pop, I told you I’m gonna retire you for life.
willy: You’ll retire me for life on seventy goddam dollars a week? And your women and your car and your apartment, and you’ll retire me for life! Christ’s sake, I couldn’t get past Yonkers today! Where are you guys, where are you? The woods are burning! I can’t drive a car!
charley: Everything all right?
happy: Yeah, Charley, everything’s . . .
willy: What’s the matter?
charley: I heard some noise. I thought something hap-
pened. Can’t we do something about the walls? You sneeze in here, and in my house hats blow off.
happy: Let’s go to bed, Dad. Come on.

willy: You go ahead, I’m not tired at the moment. happy : Take it easy, huh?
willy: What’re you doin’ up?
charley :
Couldn’t sleep good. I had a heartburn.
willy: Well, you don’t know how to eat.
charley: I eat with my mouth.
willy: No, you’re ignorant. You gotta know about vi-
tamins and things like that.

ACT ONE 29
charley: Come on, let’s shoot. Tire you out a little. willy : All right. You got cards?
charley : Yeah, I got them.
Someplace. What is it with those vitamins?
willy : They build up your bones. Chemistry. charley: Yeah, but there’s no bones in a heartburn. willy: What are you talkin’ about? Do you know the
first thing about it?
charley: Don’t get insulted.
willy: Don’t talk about something you don’t know any-
thing about.

charley: What’re you doin’ home?
willy: A little trouble with the car.
charley: Oh. I’d like to take a trip to California. willy: Don’t say.
charley: You want a job?
willy: I got a job, I told you that.
What the hell are you offering me a job for?
charley: Don’t get insulted.
willy: Don’t insult me.
charley: I don’t see no sense in it. You don’t have to
go on this way.
willy: I got a good job. What do you keep
comin’ in here for?
charley: You want me to go?
willy : I can’t understand it. He’s
going back to Texas again. What the hell is that?
charley: Let him go.
willy: I got nothin’ to give him, Charley, I’m clean, I’m
clean.
charley: He won’t starve. None a them starve. Forget
about him.
willy: Then what have I got to remember?

30 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
charley: You take it too hard. To hell with it. When a deposit bottle is broken you don’t get your nickel back.
willy: That’s easy enough for you to say.
charley: That ain’t easy for me to say.
willy: Did you see the ceiling I put up in the living-
room?
charley: Yeah, that’s a piece of work. To put up a ceil-
ing is a mystery to me. How do you do it?
willy: What’s the difference?
charley: Well, talk about it.
willy: You gonna put up a ceiling?
charley: How could I put up a ceiling?
willy: Then what the hell are you bothering me for? charley: You’re insulted again.
willy: A man who can’t handle tools is not a man. You’re disgusting.
charley: Don’t call me disgusting, Willy.

willy: I’m getting awfully tired, Ben.
charley: Good, keep playing; you’ll sleep better. Did
you call me Ben?

willy: That’s funny. For a second there you reminded
me of my brother Ben.
ben: I only have a few minutes. [He strolls, inspecting the
place. willy and charley continue playing.]
charley: You never heard from him again, heh? Since
that time?

ACT ONE 31
willy: Didn’t Linda tell you? Couple of weeks ago we got a letter from his wife in Africa. He died.
charley: That so.
ben : So this is Brooklyn, eh?
charley: Maybe you’re in for some of his money. willy: Naa, he had seven sons. There’s just one oppor-
tunity I had with that man . . .
ben: I must make a train, William. There are several
properties I’m looking at in Alaska.
willy: Sure, sure! If I’d gone with him to Alaska that
time, everything would’ve been totally different.
charley: Go on, you’d froze to death up there.
willy: What’re you talking about?
ben: Opportunity is tremendous in Alaska, William. Sur-
prised you’re not up there.
willy: Sure, tremendous.
charley: Heh?
willy: There was the only man I ever met who knew
the answers.
charley: Who?
ben: How are you all?
willy : Fine, fine.
charley: Pretty sharp tonight.
ben: Is Mother living with you?
willy: No, she died a long time ago.
charley: Who?
ben: That’s too bad. Fine specimen of a lady, Mother. willy : Heh?
ben: I’d hoped to see the old girl.
charley: Who died?
ben: Heard anything from Father, have you?
willy : What do you mean, who died? charley : What’re you talkin’ about? ben : William, it’s half past eight!

32 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy : That’s my build!
charley: I put the ace—
willy: If you don’t know how to play the game I’m not gonna throw my money away on you!
charley : It was my ace, for God’s sake!
willy: I’m through, I’m through!
ben: When did Mother die?
willy: Long ago. Since the beginning you never knew
how to play cards.
charley : All right!
Next time I’ll bring a deck with five aces.
willy: I don’t play that kind of game!
charley : You ought to be ashamed of
yourself !
willy: Yeah?
charley: Yeah!
willy : Ignoramus!
ben [as willy comes toward him through the wall-line of the
kitchen]: So you’re William.
willy : Ben! I’ve been waiting for
you so long! What’s the answer? How did you do it? ben: Oh, there’s a story in that.

linda: Is this Ben?
ben : How do you do, my dear.
linda: Where’ve you been all these years? Willy’s always
wondered why you—
willy : Where is
Dad? Didn’t you follow him? How did you get started? ben: Well, I don’t know how much you remember. willy: Well, I was just a baby, of course, only three or
four years old—
ben: Three years and eleven months.

ACT ONE 33
willy: What a memory, Ben!
ben: I have many enterprises, William, and I have never kept books.
willy: I remember I was sitting under the wagon in— was it Nebraska?
ben: It was South Dakota, and I gave you a bunch of wildflowers.
willy: I remember you walking away down some open road.
ben : I was going to find Father in Alaska. willy: Where is he?
ben: At that age I had a very faulty view of geography,
William. I discovered after a few days that I was heading due south, so instead of Alaska, I ended up in Africa.
linda: Africa!
willy: The Gold Coast!
ben: Principally diamond mines.
linda: Diamond mines!
ben: Yes, my dear. But I’ve only a few minutes— willy: No! Boys! Boys!
Listen to this. This is your Uncle Ben, a great man! Tell my boys, Ben!
ben: Why boys, when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by God I was rich.
willy : You see what I been talking about? The greatest things can happen!
ben : I have an appointment in Ketchikan Tuesday week.
willy: No, Ben! Please tell about Dad. I want my boys to hear. I want them to know the kind of stock they spring from. All I remember is a man with a big beard, and I was in Mamma’s lap, sitting around a fire, and some kind of high music.
ben: His flute. He played the flute.

34 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: Sure, the flute, that’s right!

ben: Father was a very great and a very wild-hearted man.
We would start in Boston, and he’d toss the whole family into the wagon, and then he’d drive the team right across the country; through Ohio, and Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and all the Western states. And we’d stop in the towns and sell the flutes that he’d made on the way. Great inventor, Father. With one gadget he made more in a week than a man like you could make in a lifetime.
willy: That’s just the way I’m bringing them up, Ben— rugged, well liked, all-around.
ben: Yeah? Hit that, boy—hard as you can.
biff: Oh, no, sir!
ben : Come on, get to me!
willy: Go to it, Biff! Go ahead, show him! biff: Okay! linda : Why must he fight, dear? ben : Good boy! Good boy! willy: How’s that, Ben, heh?
happy: Give him the left, Biff!
linda: Why are you fighting?
ben: Good boy! [Suddenly comes in, trips biff, and stands
over him, the point of his umbrella poised over biff’s eye.] linda: Look out, Biff!
biff: Gee!
ben : Never fight fair with a stranger,
boy. You’ll never get out of the jungle that way. It was an honor and a pleasure to meet you, Linda.
linda : Have a nice—trip.

ACT ONE 35
ben : And good luck with your—what do you do?
willy: Selling.
ben: Yes. Well . . . willy: No, Ben, I don’t want you to think . . . [He
takes ben’s arm to show him.] It’s Brooklyn, I know, but we hunt too.
ben: Really, now.
willy: Oh, sure, there’s snakes and rabbits and—that’s why I moved out here. Why, Biff can fell any one of these trees in no time! Boys! Go right over to where they’re build- ing the apartment house and get some sand. We’re gonna rebuild the entire front stoop right now! Watch this, Ben!
biff: Yes, sir! On the double, Hap!
happy : I lost weight, Pop, you notice?

charley: Listen, if they steal any more from that building the watchman’ll put the cops on them!
linda : Don’t let Biff . . .

willy: You shoulda seen the lumber they brought home
last week. At least a dozen six-by-tens worth all kinds a money.
charley: Listen, if that watchman—
willy: I gave them hell, understand. But I got a couple of fearless characters there.
charley: Willy, the jails are full of fearless characters.
ben : And the stock exchange, friend!
willy : Where are the rest of your pants?
charley: My wife bought them.
willy: Now all you need is a golf club and you can go

36 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
upstairs and go to sleep. Great athlete! Between him and his son Bernard they can’t hammer a nail!
bernard : The watchman’s chasing Biff ! willy : Shut up! He’s not stealing anything! linda : Where is he? Biff, dear!

willy : There’s
nothing wrong. What’s the matter with you?
ben: Nervy boy. Good!
willy : Oh, nerves of iron, that Biff ! charley: Don’t know what it is. My New England man
comes back and he’s bleedin’, they murdered him up there. willy: It’s contacts, Charley, I got important contacts! charley : Glad to hear it, Willy. Come in
later, we’ll shoot a little casino. I’ll take some of your Port- land money.
willy : Business is bad, it’s murderous. But not for me, of course.
ben: I’ll stop by on my way back to Africa.
willy : Can’t you stay a few days? You’re just what I need, Ben, because I—I have a fine position here, but I—well, Dad left when I was such a baby and I never had a chance to talk to him and I still feel—kind of tem- porary about myself.
ben: I’ll be late for my train.

willy: Ben, my boys—can’t we talk? They’d go into the
jaws of hell for me, see, but I—
ben: William, you’re being first-rate with your boys.
Outstanding, manly chaps!
willy : Oh, Ben, that’s good to
hear! Because sometimes I’m afraid that I’m not teaching them the right kind of—Ben, how should I teach them?
ben : William, when I walked into the jungle, I was

ACT ONE 37
seventeen. When I walked out I was twenty-one. And, by God, I was rich!
willy: . . . was rich! That’s just the spirit I want to imbue them with! To walk into a jungle! I was right! I was right! I was right!
linda: Willy, dear? Willy?
willy: I was right!
linda: Did you have some cheese? It’s very late, darling. Come to bed, heh?
willy : Gotta break your neck to see a star in this yard.
linda: You coming in?
willy: Whatever happened to that diamond watch fob? Remember? When Ben came from Africa that time? Didn’t he give me a watch fob with a diamond in it?
linda: You pawned it, dear. Twelve, thirteen years ago. For Biff’s radio correspondence course.
willy: Gee, that was a beautiful thing. I’ll take a walk. linda: But you’re in your slippers.
willy : I was right!
I was! What a man! There was a man worth talking to. I was right!
linda : But in your slippers, Willy!
biff: What is he doing out there?
linda: Sh!
biff: God Almighty, Mom, how long has he been doing this?
linda: Don’t, he’ll hear you.

38 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
biff: What the hell is the matter with him?
linda: It’ll pass by morning.
biff: Shouldn’t we do anything?
linda: Oh, my dear, you should do a lot of things, but
there’s nothing to do, so go to sleep.

happy: I never heard him so loud, Mom.
linda: Well, come around more often; you’ll hear him.
biff: Why didn’t you ever write me about this, Mom? linda: How would I write to you? For over three months
you had no address.
biff: I was on the move. But you know I thought of you
all the time. You know that, don’t you, pal?
linda: I know, dear, I know. But he likes to have a letter.
Just to know that there’s still a possibility for better things. biff: He’s not like this all the time, is he?
linda: It’s when you come home he’s always the worst. biff: When I come home?
linda: When you write you’re coming, he’s all smiles, and talks about the future, and—he’s just wonderful. And then the closer you seem to come, the more shaky he gets, and then, by the time you get here, he’s arguing, and he seems angry at you. I think it’s just that maybe he can’t bring himself to—to open up to you. Why are you so hateful to each other? Why is that?
biff : I’m not hateful, Mom.
linda: But you no sooner come in the door than you’re fighting!
biff: I don’t know why. I mean to change. I’m tryin’, Mom, you understand?
linda: Are you home to stay now?
biff: I don’t know. I want to look around, see what’s doin’.

ACT ONE 39
linda: Biff, you can’t look around all your life, can you?
biff: I just can’t take hold, Mom. I can’t take hold of some kind of a life.
linda: Biff, a man is not a bird, to come and go with the springtime.
biff: Your hair . . . Your hair got so gray.
linda: Oh, it’s been gray since you were in high school. I just stopped dyeing it, that’s all.
biff: Dye it again, will ya? I don’t want my pal looking old.
linda: You’re such a boy! You think you can go away for a year and . . . You’ve got to get it into your head now that one day you’ll knock on this door and there’ll be strange people here—
biff: What are you talking about? You’re not even sixty, Mom.
linda: But what about your father?
biff : Well, I meant him too.
happy: He admires Pop.
linda: Biff, dear, if you don’t have any feeling for him,
then you can’t have any feeling for me.
biff: Sure I can, Mom.
linda: No. You can’t just come to see me, because I love
him. He’s the dearest man in the world to me, and I won’t have anyone making him feel unwanted and low and blue. You’ve got to make up your mind now, darling, there’s no leeway any more. Either he’s your father and you pay him that respect, or else you’re not to come here. I know he’s not easy to get along with—nobody knows that better than me—but . . .
willy : Hey, hey, Biffo!
biff : What the hell is the matter with him?
linda: Don’t—don’t go near him!

40 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
biff: Stop making excuses for him! He always, always wiped the floor with you. Never had an ounce of respect for you.
happy: He’s always had respect for—
biff: What the hell do you know about it?
happy : Just don’t call him crazy!
biff: He’s got no character—Charley wouldn’t do this.
Not in his own house—spewing out that vomit from his mind.
happy: Charley never had to cope with what he’s got to.
biff: People are worse off than Willy Loman. Believe me, I’ve seen them!
linda: Then make Charley your father, Biff. You can’t do that, can you? I don’t say he’s a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person. You called him crazy—
biff: I didn’t mean—
linda: No, a lot of people think he’s lost his—balance. But you don’t have to be very smart to know what his trouble is. The man is exhausted.
happy: Sure!
linda: A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. He works for a company thirty-six years this March, opens up unheard-of territories to their trademark, and now in his old age they take his salary away.
happy : I didn’t know that, Mom.
linda: You never asked, my dear! Now that you get your spending money someplace else you don’t trouble your mind with him.
happy: But I gave you money last—

ACT ONE 41
linda: Christmas time, fifty dollars! To fix the hot water it cost ninety-seven fifty! For five weeks he’s been on straight commission, like a beginner, an unknown!
biff: Those ungrateful b*st*rds!
linda: Are they any worse than his sons? When he brought them business, when he was young, they were glad to see him. But now his old friends, the old buyers that loved him so and always found some order to hand him in a pinch—they’re all dead, retired. He used to be able to make six, seven calls a day in Boston. Now he takes his valises out of the car and puts them back and takes them out again and he’s exhausted. Instead of walking he talks now. He drives seven hundred miles, and when he gets there no one knows him any more, no one welcomes him. And what goes through a man’s mind, driving seven hundred miles home without having earned a cent? Why shouldn’t he talk to himself? Why? When he has to go to Charley and bor- row fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it’s his pay? How long can that go on? How long? You see what I’m sitting here and waiting for? And you tell me he has no character? The man who never worked a day but for your benefit? When does he get the medal for that? Is this his reward—to turn around at the age of sixty-three and find his sons, who he loved better than his life, one a philan- dering bum—
happy: Mom!
linda: That’s all you are, my baby! And you! What happened to the love you had for him? You were such pals! How you used to talk to him on the phone every night! How lonely he was till he could come home to you!
biff: All right, Mom. I’ll live here in my room, and I’ll get a job. I’ll keep away from him, that’s all.
linda: No, Biff. You can’t stay here and fight all the time. biff: He threw me out of this house, remember that.

42 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
linda: Why did he do that? I never knew why.
biff: Because I know he’s a fake and he doesn’t like any- body around who knows!
linda: Why a fake? In what way? What do you mean?
biff: Just don’t lay it all at my feet. It’s between me and him—that’s all I have to say. I’ll chip in from now on. He’ll settle for half my pay check. He’ll be all right. I’m going to bed.
linda: He won’t be all right.
biff : I hate this city and I’ll stay here. Now what do you want?
linda: He’s dying, Biff.

biff : Why is he dying?
linda: He’s been trying to kill himself.
biff : How?
linda: I live from day to day.
biff: What’re you talking about?
linda: Remember I wrote you that he smashed up the
car again? In February?
biff: Well?
linda: The insurance inspector came. He said that they
have evidence. That all these accidents in the last year— weren’t—weren’t—accidents.
happy: How can they tell that? That’s a lie.
linda: It seems there’s a woman . . .
biff :}What woman?
linda : . . . and this woman . . . linda: What?
biff: Nothing. Go ahead.
linda: What did you say?
biff: Nothing. I just said what woman?
happy: What about her?

ACT ONE 43
linda: Well, it seems she was walking down the road and saw his car. She says that he wasn’t driving fast at all, and that he didn’t skid. She says he came to that little bridge, and then deliberately smashed into the railing, and it was only the shallowness of the water that saved him.
biff: Oh, no, he probably just fell asleep again.
linda: I don’t think he fell asleep.
biff: Why not?
linda: Last month . . . Oh, boys, it’s
so hard to say a thing like this! He’s just a big stupid man to you, but I tell you there’s more good in him than in many other people. I was looking for a fuse. The lights blew out, and I went down the cellar. And behind the fuse box—it happened to fall out—was a length of rubber pipe—just short.
happy: No kidding?
linda: There’s a little attachment on the end of it. I knew right away. And sure enough, on the bottom of the water heater there’s a new little nipple on the gas pipe.
happy : That—j*rk.
biff: Did you have it taken off?
linda: I’m—I’m ashamed to. How can I mention it to
him? Every day I go down and take away that little rubber pipe. But, when he comes home, I put it back where it was. How can I insult him that way? I don’t know what to do. I live from day to day, boys. I tell you, I know every thought in his mind. It sounds so old-fashioned and silly, but I tell you he put his whole life into you and you’ve turned your backs on him. Biff, I swear to God! Biff, his life is in your hands!
happy : How do you like that damned fool!
biff : All right, pal, all right. It’s all settled now. I’ve been remiss. I know that, Mom. But now I’ll stay, and

44 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
I swear to you, I’ll apply myself. It’s just—you see, Mom, I don’t fit in business. Not that I won’t try. I’ll try, and I’ll make good.
happy: Sure you will. The trouble with you in business was you never tried to please people.
biff: I know, I—
happy: Like when you worked for Harrison’s. Bob Har- rison said you were tops, and then you go and do some damn fool thing like whistling whole songs in the elevator like a comedian.
biff : So what? I like to whistle sometimes.
happy: You don’t raise a guy to a responsible job who whistles in the elevator!
linda: Well, don’t argue about it now.
happy: Like when you’d go off and swim in the middle of the day instead of taking the line around.
biff : Well, don’t you run off? You take off sometimes, don’t you? On a nice summer day?
happy: Yeah, but I cover myself!
linda: Boys!
happy: If I’m going to take a fade the boss can call any
number where I’m supposed to be and they’ll swear to him that I just left. I’ll tell you something that I hate to say, Biff, but in the business world some of them think you’re crazy.
biff : Screw the business world!
happy: All right, screw it! Great, but cover yourself! linda: Hap, Hap!
biff: I don’t care what they think! They’ve laughed at
Dad for years, and you know why? Because we don’t belong in this nuthouse of a city! We should be mixing cement on some open plain, or—or carpenters. A carpenter is allowed to whistle!
willy: Even your grandfather was better than a carpenter.

ACT ONE 45
You never grew up. Bernard does not whistle in the elevator, I assure you.
biff : Yeah, but you do, Pop.
willy: I never in my life whistled in an elevator! And who in the business world thinks I’m crazy?
biff: I didn’t mean it like that, Pop. Now don’t make a whole thing out of it, will ya?
willy: Go back to the West! Be a carpenter, a cowboy, enjoy yourself!
linda: Willy, he was just saying—
willy: I heard what he said!
happy : Hey, Pop, come on now . . . willy : They laugh at me,
heh? Go to Filene’s, go to the Hub, go to Slattery’s, Boston. Call out the name Willy Loman and see what happens! Big shot!
biff: All right, Pop.
willy: Big!
biff: All right!
willy: Why do you always insult me?
biff: I didn’t say a word. Did I say a word? linda: He didn’t say anything, Willy.
willy : All right, good night, good night.
linda: Willy, dear, he just decided . . .
willy : If you get tired hanging around tomor- row, paint the ceiling I put up in the living-room.
biff: I’m leaving early tomorrow.
happy: He’s going to see Bill Oliver, Pop.
willy : Oliver? For what?
biff : He always said he’d
stake me. I’d like to go into business, so maybe I can take him up on it.

46 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
linda: Isn’t that wonderful?
willy: Don’t interrupt. What’s wonderful about it? There’s fifty men in the City of New York who’d stake him. Sporting goods?
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! How much is he giving you?
biff: I don’t know, I didn’t even see him yet, but— willy: Then what’re you talkin’ about?
biff : Well, all I said was I’m gonna see him,
that’s all!
willy : Ah, you’re counting your chickens
again.
biff : Oh, Jesus, I’m going to sleep! willy : Don’t curse in this house!
biff : Since when did you get so clean?
happy : Wait a . . .
willy: Don’t use that language to me! I won’t have it! happy : Wait a minute! I got an idea.
I got a feasible idea. Come here, Biff, let’s talk this over now, let’s talk some sense here. When I was down in Florida last time, I thought of a great idea to sell sporting goods. It just came back to me. You and I, Biff—we have a line, the Loman Line. We train a couple of weeks, and put on a couple of exhibitions, see?
willy: That’s an idea!
happy: Wait! We form two basketball teams, see? Two water-polo teams. We play each other. It’s a million dollars’ worth of publicity. Two brothers, see? The Loman Brothers. Displays in the Royal Palms—all the hotels. And banners over the ring and the basketball court: ‘‘Loman Brothers.’’ Baby, we could sell sporting goods!
willy: That is a one-million-dollar idea!

ACT ONE 47
linda: Marvelous!
biff: I’m in great shape as far as that’s concerned. happy: And the beauty of it is, Biff, it wouldn’t be like
a business. We’d be out playin’ ball again . . .
biff : Yeah, that’s . . .
willy: Million-dollar . . .
happy: And you wouldn’t get fed up with it, Biff. It’d be
the family again. There’d be the old honor, and comrade- ship, and if you wanted to go off for a swim or somethin’ —well you’d do it! Without some smart cooky gettin’ up ahead of you!
willy: Lick the world! You guys together could abso- lutely lick the civilized world.
biff: I’ll see Oliver tomorrow. Hap, if we could work that out . . .
linda: Maybe things are beginning to—
willy : Stop interrupting! But don’t wear sport jacket and slacks when you see Oliver.
biff: No, I’ll—
willy: A business suit, and talk as little as possible, and don’t crack any jokes.
biff: He did like me. Always liked me.
linda: He loved you!
willy : Will you stop! Walk in very
serious. You are not applying for a boy’s job. Money is to pass. Be quiet, fine, and serious. Everybody likes a kidder, but nobody lends him money.
happy: I’ll try to get some myself, Biff. I’m sure I can.
willy: I see great things for you kids, I think your trou- bles are over. But remember, start big and you’ll end big. Ask for fifteen. How much you gonna ask for?
biff: Gee, I don’t know—
willy: And don’t say ‘‘Gee.’’ ‘‘Gee’’ is a boy’s word. A

48 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
man walking in for fifteen thousand dollars does not say ‘‘Gee’’!
biff: Ten, I think, would be top though.
willy: Don’t be so modest. You always started too low. Walk in with a big laugh. Don’t look worried. Start off with a couple of your good stories to lighten things up. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it—because personality al- ways wins the day.
linda: Oliver always thought the highest of him— willy: Will you let me talk?
biff: Don’t yell at her, Pop, will ya?
willy : I was talking, wasn’t I?
biff: I don’t like you yelling at her all the time, and I’m tellin’ you, that’s all.
willy: What’re you, takin’ over this house?
linda: Willy—
willy : Don’t take his side all the time,
goddammit!
biff : Stop yelling at her!
willy [suddenly pulling on his cheek, beaten down, guilt rid-
den]: Give my best to Bill Oliver—he may remember me.
linda : What’d you have to start that for? You see how sweet he was as soon as you talked hopefully? Come up and say good night to him. Don’t let him go to bed that way.
happy: Come on, Biff, let’s buck him up.
linda: Please, dear. Just say good night. It takes so little to make him happy. Come. Your pa- jamas are hanging in the bathroom, Willy!
happy : What a woman! They broke the mold when they made her. You know that, Biff?

ACT ONE 49
biff: He’s off salary. My God, working on commission!
happy: Well, let’s face it: he’s no hot-shot selling man. Except that sometimes, you have to admit, he’s a sweet per- sonality.
biff : Lend me ten bucks, will ya? I want to buy some new ties.
happy: I’ll take you to a place I know. Beautiful stuff. Wear one of my striped shirts tomorrow.
biff: She got gray. Mom got awful old. Gee, I’m gonna go in to Oliver tomorrow and knock him for a—
happy: Come on up. Tell that to Dad. Let’s give him a whirl. Come on.
biff : You know, with ten thousand bucks, boy!
happy : That’s the talk, Biff, that’s the first time I’ve heard the old confidence out of you! You’re gonna live with me, kid, and any babe you want just say the word . . .
linda Can you do anything about the shower? It drips.
willy : All of a sudden everything falls to pieces! Goddam plumbing, oughta be sued, those people. I hardly finished putting it in and the thing . . .
linda: I’m just wondering if Oliver will remember him. You think he might?
willy : Remem- ber him? What’s the matter with you, you crazy? If he’d’ve stayed with Oliver he’d be on top by now! Wait’ll Oli- ver gets a look at him. You don’t know the average caliber any more. The average young man today—[he is getting into

50 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
bed]—is got a caliber of zero. Greatest thing in the world for him was to bum around.

willy : Glad to hear it, boy. happy: He wanted to say good night to you, sport. willy : Yeah. Knock him dead, boy. What’d you
want to tell me?
biff: Just take it easy, Pop. Good night. willy : And if anything falls off the desk
while you’re talking to him—like a package or something —don’t you pick it up. They have office boys for that.
linda: I’ll make a big breakfast—
willy: Will you let me finish? Tell him you were in the business in the West. Not farm work.
biff: All right, Dad.
linda: I think everything—
willy : And don’t undersell
yourself. No less than fifteen thousand dollars.
biff : Okay. Good night, Mom. [He
starts moving.]
willy: Because you got a greatness in you, Biff, remem-
ber that. You got all kinds a greatness . . .
linda : Sleep well, darling!
happy: I’m gonna get married, Mom. I wanted to tell you.
linda: Go to sleep, dear.
happy : I just wanted to tell you.
willy: Keep up the good work. God . . .
remember that Ebbets Field game? The championship of the city?
linda: Just rest. Should I sing to you?
willy: Yeah. Sing to me. When that team came out—he was the tallest, remember?

ACT ONE 51
linda: Oh, yes. And in gold.

willy: Like a young god. Hercules—something like that.
And the sun, the sun all around him. Remember how he waved to me? Right up from the field, with the represen- tatives of three colleges standing by? And the buyers I brought, and the cheers when he came out—Loman, Lo- man, Loman! God Almighty, he’ll be great yet. A star like that, magnificent, can never really fade away!

linda : Willy dear, what has he got against you? willy: I’m so tired. Don’t talk any more.

linda: Will you ask Howard to let you work in New
York?
willy: First thing in the morning. Everything’ll be all
right.

willy : Gee,
look at the moon moving between the buildings!

curtain

ACT TWO
Music is heard, gay and bright. The curtain rises as the music fades away.

willy: Wonderful coffee. Meal in itself.
linda: Can I make you some eggs?
willy: No. Take a breath.
linda: You look so rested, dear.
willy: I slept like a dead one. First time in months. Imag-
ine, sleeping till ten on a Tuesday morning. Boys left nice and early, heh?
linda: They were out of here by eight o’clock.
willy: Good work!
linda: It was so thrilling to see them leaving together. I
can’t get over the shaving lotion in this house!
willy : Mmm—
linda: Biff was very changed this morning. His whole
attitude seemed to be hopeful. He couldn’t wait to get downtown to see Oliver.
willy: He’s heading for a change. There’s no question, there simply are certain men that take longer to get—solid- ified. How did he dress?
linda: His blue suit. He’s so handsome in that suit. He could be a—anything in that suit!

willy: There’s no question, no question at all. Gee, on
the way home tonight I’d like to buy some seeds.
linda : That’d be wonderful. But not enough
sun gets back there. Nothing’ll grow any more.
52

ACT TWO 53
willy: You wait, kid, before it’s all over we’re gonna get a little place out in the country, and I’ll raise some vegeta- bles, a couple of chickens . . .
linda: You’ll do it yet, dear.

willy: And they’ll get married, and come for a weekend.
I’d build a little guest house. ’Cause I got so many fine tools, all I’d need would be a little lumber and some peace of mind.
linda : I sewed the lining . . .
willy: I could build two guest houses, so they’d both come. Did he decide how much he’s going to ask Oliver for?
linda : He didn’t mention it, but I imagine ten or fifteen thousand. You going to talk to Howard today?
willy: Yeah. I’ll put it to him straight and simple. He’ll just have to take me off the road.
linda: And Willy, don’t forget to ask for a little advance, because we’ve got the insurance premium. It’s the grace pe- riod now.
willy: That’s a hundred . . . ?
linda: A hundred and eight, sixty-eight. Because we’re a little short again.
willy: Why are we short?
linda: Well, you had the motor job on the car . . . willy: That goddam Studebaker!
linda: And you got one more payment on the refriger-
ator . . .
willy: But it just broke again!
linda: Well, it’s old, dear.
willy: I told you we should’ve bought a well-advertised
machine. Charley bought a General Electric and it’s twenty years old and it’s still good, that son-of-a-b*t*h.
linda: But, Willy—

54 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: Whoever heard of a Hastings refrigerator? Once in my life I would like to own something outright before it’s broken! I’m always in a race with the junkyard! I just finished paying for the car and it’s on its last legs. The re- frigerator consumes belts like a goddam maniac. They time those things. They time them so when you finally paid for them, they’re used up.
linda : All told, about two hundred dollars would carry us, dear. But that includes the last payment on the mortgage. After this pay- ment, Willy, the house belongs to us.
willy: It’s twenty-five years!
linda: Biff was nine years old when we bought it. willy: Well, that’s a great thing. To weather a twenty-
five-year mortgage is—
linda: It’s an accomplishment.
willy: All the cement, the lumber, the reconstruction I
put in this house! There ain’t a crack to be found in it any more.
linda: Well, it served its purpose.
willy: What purpose? Some stranger’ll come along, move in, and that’s that. If only Biff would take this house, and raise a family . . . Good-bye, I’m late.
linda : Oh, I forgot! You’re sup- posed to meet them for dinner.
willy: Me?
linda: At Frank’s Chop House on Forty-eighth near Sixth Avenue.
willy: Is that so! How about you?
linda: No, just the three of you. They’re gonna blow you to a big meal!
willy: Don’t say! Who thought of that?
linda: Biff came to me this morning, Willy, and he said, ‘‘Tell Dad, we want to blow him to a big meal.’’ Be there

ACT TWO 55
six o’clock. You and your two boys are going to have dinner.
willy: Gee whiz! That’s really somethin’. I’m gonna knock Howard for a loop, kid. I’ll get an advance, and I’ll come home with a New York job. Goddammit, now I’m gonna do it!
linda: Oh, that’s the spirit, Willy!
willy: I will never get behind a wheel the rest of my life!
linda: It’s changing, Willy, I can feel it changing!
willy: Beyond a question. G’bye, I’m late.
linda : You got your glasses?
willy : Yeah, yeah, got my glasses.
linda : And a handkerchief. willy: Yeah, handkerchief.
linda: And your saccharine?
willy: Yeah, my saccharine.
linda: Be careful on the subway stairs.

willy: Will you stop mending stockings? At least while
I’m in the house. It gets me nervous. I can’t tell you. Please.
linda: Remember, Frank’s Chop House.
willy : Maybe beets would grow out there.
linda : But you tried so many times.
willy: Yeah. Well, don’t work hard today.
linda: Be careful!

56 DEATH OF A SALESMAN

linda: Hello? Oh, Biff ! I’m so glad you called, I just . . .
Yes, sure, I just told him. Yes, he’ll be there for dinner at six o’clock, I didn’t forget. Listen, I was just dying to tell you. You know that little rubber pipe I told you about? That he connected to the gas heater? I finally decided to go down the cellar this morning and take it away and destroy it. But it’s gone! Imagine? He took it away himself, it isn’t there! When? Oh, then you took it. Oh—nothing, it’s just that I’d hoped he’d taken it away himself. Oh, I’m not worried, darling, because this morning he left in such high spirits, it was like the old days! I’m not afraid any more. Did Mr. Oliver see you? . . . Well, you wait there then. And make a nice impression on him, darling. Just don’t per- spire too much before you see him. And have a nice time with Dad. He may have big news too! . . . That’s right, a New York job. And be sweet to him tonight, dear. Be lov- ing to him. Because he’s only a little boat looking for a harbor. Oh, that’s won- derful, Biff, you’ll save his life. Thanks, darling. Just put your arm around him when he comes into the restaurant. Give him a smile. That’s the boy . . . Good-bye, dear . . . You got your comb? . . . That’s fine. Good-bye, Biff dear.

willy: Pst! Pst!
howard: Hello, Willy, come in.
willy: Like to have a little talk with you, Howard.

ACT TWO 57
howard: Sorry to keep you waiting. I’ll be with you in a minute.
willy: What’s that, Howard?
howard: Didn’t you ever see one of these? Wire re- corder.
willy: Oh. Can we talk a minute?
howard: Records things. Just got delivery yesterday. Been driving me crazy, the most terrific machine I ever saw in my life. I was up all night with it.
willy: What do you do with it?
howard: I bought it for dictation, but you can do any- thing with it. Listen to this. I had it home last night. Listen to what I picked up. The first one is my daughter. Get this. Listen to that kid whistle.
willy: That is lifelike, isn’t it?
howard: Seven years old. Get that tone.
willy: Ts, ts. Like to ask a little favor if you . . .

his daughter: ‘‘Now you, Daddy.’’
howard: She’s crazy for me! [Again the same song is whis-
tled.] That’s me! Ha!
willy: You’re very good!
[The whistling breaks off again. The machine runs silent for
a moment.]
howard: Sh! Get this now, this is my son.
his son: ‘‘The capital of Alabama is Montgomery; the
capital of Arizona is Phoenix; the capital of Arkansas is Little Rock; the capital of California is Sacramento . . .’’
howard : Five years old, Willy! willy: He’ll make an announcer some day!
his son : ‘‘The capital . . .’’

58 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
howard: Get that—alphabetical order! Wait a minute. The maid kicked the plug out.
willy: It certainly is a—
howard: Sh, for God’s sake!
his son: ‘‘It’s nine o’clock, Bulova watch time. So I have
to go to sleep.’’
willy: That really is—
howard: Wait a minute! The next is my wife.

howard’s voice: ‘‘Go on, say something.’’
‘‘Well, you gonna talk?’’
his wife: ‘‘I can’t think of anything.’’
howard’s voice: ‘‘Well, talk—it’s turning.’’
his wife : ‘‘Hello.’’ ‘‘Oh, Howard,
I can’t talk into this . . .’’
howard : That was my wife. willy: That is a wonderful machine. Can we— howard: I tell you, Willy, I’m gonna take my camera,
and my bandsaw, and all my hobbies, and out they go. This is the most fascinating relaxation I ever found.
willy: I think I’ll get one myself.
howard: Sure, they’re only a hundred and a half. You can’t do without it. Supposing you wanna hear Jack Benny, see? But you can’t be at home at that hour. So you tell the maid to turn the radio on when Jack Benny comes on, and this automatically goes on with the radio . . .
willy: And when you come home you . . .
howard: You can come home twelve o’clock, one o’clock, any time you like, and you get yourself a Coke and sit yourself down, throw the switch, and there’s Jack Benny’s program in the middle of the night!
willy: I’m definitely going to get one. Because lots of time I’m on the road, and I think to myself, what I must be missing on the radio!

ACT TWO 59
howard: Don’t you have a radio in the car?
willy: Well, yeah, but who ever thinks of turning it on? howard: Say, aren’t you supposed to be in Boston? willy: That’s what I want to talk to you about, Howard.
You got a minute? howard: What happened? What’re you doing here? willy: Well . . .
howard: You didn’t crack up again, did you? willy: Oh, no. No . . .
howard: Geez, you had me worried there for a minute. What’s the trouble?
willy: Well, tell you the truth, Howard. I’ve come to the decision that I’d rather not travel any more.
howard: Not travel! Well, what’ll you do?
willy: Remember, Christmas time, when you had the party here? You said you’d try to think of some spot for me here in town.
howard: With us?
willy: Well, sure.
howard: Oh, yeah, yeah. I remember. Well, I couldn’t
think of anything for you, Willy.
willy: I tell ya, Howard. The kids are all grown up,
y’know. I don’t need much any more. If I could take home—well, sixty-five dollars a week, I could swing it.
howard: Yeah, but Willy, see I—
willy: I tell ya why, Howard. Speaking frankly and be- tween the two of us, y’know—I’m just a little tired.
howard: Oh, I could understand that, Willy. But you’re a road man, Willy, and we do a road business. We’ve only got a half-dozen salesmen on the floor here.
willy: God knows, Howard, I never asked a favor of any man. But I was with the firm when your father used to carry you in here in his arms.
howard: I know that, Willy, but—
willy: Your father came to me the day you were born

60 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
and asked me what I thought of the name of Howard, may he rest in peace.
howard: I appreciate that, Willy, but there just is no spot here for you. If I had a spot I’d slam you right in, but I just don’t have a single solitary spot.
[He looks for his lighter. willy has picked it up and gives
it to him. Pause.]
willy : Howard, all I need to set my
table is fifty dollars a week.
howard: But where am I going to put you, kid? willy: Look, it isn’t a question of whether I can sell
merchandise, is it?
howard: No, but it’s a business, kid, and everybody’s
gotta pull his own weight.
willy : Just let me tell you a story, How-
ard—
howard: ’Cause you gotta admit, business is business. willy : Business is definitely business, but just lis-
ten for a minute. You don’t understand this. When I was a boy—eighteen, nineteen—I was already on the road. And there was a question in my mind as to whether selling had a future for me. Because in those days I had a yearning to go to Alaska. See, there were three gold strikes in one month in Alaska, and I felt like going out. Just for the ride, you might say.
howard : Don’t say.
willy: Oh, yeah, my father lived many years in Alaska. He was an adventurous man. We’ve got quite a little streak of self-reliance in our family. I thought I’d go out with my older brother and try to locate him, and maybe settle in the North with the old man. And I was almost decided to go, when I met a salesman in the Parker House. His name was Dave Singleman. And he was eighty-four years old, and he’d drummed merchandise in thirty-one states. And old Dave,

ACT TWO 61
he’d go up to his room, y’understand, put on his green vel- vet slippers—I’ll never forget—and pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, he made his living. And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want. ’Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty dif- ferent cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people? Do you know? when he died—and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of the New York, New Haven, and Hartford, going into Boston —when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral. Things were sad on a lotta trains for months after that. In those days there was personality in it, Howard. There was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in it. Today, it’s all cut and dried, and there’s no chance for bringing friendship to bear —or personality. You see what I mean? They don’t know me any more.
howard : That’s just the thing, Willy.
willy: If I had forty dollars a week—that’s all I’d need. Forty dollars, Howard.
howard: Kid, I can’t take blood from a stone, I—
willy : Howard, the year Al Smith was nominated, your father came to me and—
howard : I’ve got to see some peo- ple, kid.
willy : I’m talking about your father! There were promises made across this desk! You mustn’t tell me you’ve got people to see—I put thirty-four years into this firm, Howard, and now I can’t pay my insurance! You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away—a man is not a

62 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
piece of fruit! Now pay attention. Your father—in 1928 I had a big year. I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in commissions.
howard : Now, Willy, you never aver- aged—
willy : I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in the year of 1928! And your father came to me—or rather, I was in the office here— it was right over this desk—and he put his hand on my shoulder—
howard : You’ll have to excuse me, Willy, I gotta see some people. Pull yourself together. I’ll be back in a little while.

willy: Pull myself together! What the hell did I say to
him? My God, I was yelling at him! How could I! Frank, Frank, don’t you remember what you told me that time? How you put your hand on my shoulder, and Frank . . .
howard’s son: ‘‘. . . of New York is Albany. The capital of Ohio is Cincinnati, the capital of Rhode Island is . . .’’
willy : Ha! Howard! Howard! Howard!
howard : What happened?
willy : Shut it off! Shut it off!
howard : Look, Willy . . .
willy : I gotta get myself some coffee. I’ll get some coffee . . .

ACT TWO 63
howard : Willy, look . . . willy: I’ll go to Boston.
howard: Willy, you can’t go to Boston for us. willy: Why can’t I go?
howard: I don’t want you to represent us. I’ve been meaning to tell you for a long time now.
willy: Howard, are you firing me?
howard: I think you need a good long rest, Willy. willy: Howard—
howard: And when you feel better, come back, and
we’ll see if we can work something out.
willy: But I gotta earn money, Howard. I’m in no po-
sition to—
howard: Where are your sons? Why don’t your sons
give you a hand?
willy: They’re working on a very big deal.
howard: This is no time for false pride, Willy. You go
to your sons and you tell them that you’re tired. You’ve got two great boys, haven’t you?
willy: Oh, no question, no question, but in the mean- time . . .
howard: Then that’s that, heh?
willy: All right, I’ll go to Boston tomorrow.
howard: No, no.
willy: I can’t throw myself on my sons. I’m not a cripple! howard: Look, kid, I’m busy this morning.
willy : Howard, you’ve got to
let me go to Boston!
howard : I’ve got a line
of people to see this morning. Sit down, take five minutes, and pull yourself together, and then go home, will ya? I need the office, Willy. Oh, yeah. When-

64 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
ever you can this week, stop by and drop off the samples. You’ll feel better, Willy, and then come back and we’ll talk. Pull yourself together, kid, there’s people outside.

willy: Oh, Ben, how did you do it? What is the answer?
Did you wind up the Alaska deal already?
ben: Doesn’t take much time if you know what you’re
doing. Just a short business trip. Boarding ship in an hour. Wanted to say good-bye.
willy: Ben, I’ve got to talk to you.
ben : Haven’t the time, William. willy : Ben, nothing’s working
out. I don’t know what to do.
ben: Now, look here, William. I’ve bought timberland
in Alaska and I need a man to look after things for me. willy: God, timberland! Me and my boys in those grand
outdoors!
ben: You’ve a new continent at your doorstep, William.
Get out of these cities, they’re full of talk and time payments and courts of law. Screw on your fists and you can fight for a fortune up there.
willy: Yes, yes! Linda, Linda!

linda: Oh, you’re back?
ben: I haven’t much time.
willy: No, wait! Linda, he’s got a proposition for me in
Alaska.
linda: But you’ve got— He’s got a beautiful
job here.
willy: But in Alaska, kid, I could— linda: You’re doing well enough, Willy!

ACT TWO 65
ben : Enough for what, my dear?
linda : Don’t say those things to him! Enough to be happy right here, right now. Why must everybody conquer the world? You’re well liked, and the boys love you, and someday——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?
willy: Sure, sure. I am building something with this firm, Ben, and if a man is building something he must be on the right track, mustn’t he?
ben: What are you building? Lay your hand on it. Where is it?
willy : That’s true, Linda, there’s nothing.
linda: Why? There’s a man eighty-four years old—
willy: That’s right, Ben, that’s right. When I look at that man I say, what is there to worry about?
ben: Bah!
willy: It’s true, Ben. All he has to do is go into any city, pick up the phone, and he’s making his living and you know why?
ben : I’ve got to go.
willy : Look at this boy!

willy: Without a penny to his name, three great uni-
versities are begging for him, and from there the sky’s the limit, because it’s not what you do, Ben. It’s who you know and the smile on your face! It’s contacts, Ben, contacts! The whole wealth of Alaska passes over the lunch table at the Commodore Hotel, and that’s the wonder, the wonder of this country, that a man can end with diamonds here on the

66 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
basis of being liked! And that’s why when you get out on that field today it’s important. Because thousands of people will be rooting for you and loving you. And Ben! when he walks into a business office his name will sound out like a bell and all the doors will open to him! I’ve seen it, Ben, I’ve seen it a thousand times! You can’t feel it with your hand like timber, but it’s there!
ben: Good-bye, William.
willy: Ben, am I right? Don’t you think I’m right? I value your advice.
ben: There’s a new continent at your doorstep, William. You could walk out rich. Rich!
willy: We’ll do it here, Ben! You hear me? We’re gonna do it here!

bernard: Oh, gee, I was afraid you left already! willy: Why? What time is it?
bernard: It’s half-past one!
willy: Well, come on, everybody! Ebbets Field next stop! Where’s the pennants?
linda : Did you pack fresh underwear? biff : I want to go! bernard: Biff, I’m carrying your helmet, ain’t I? happy: No, I’m carrying the helmet.
bernard: Oh, Biff, you promised me.
happy: I’m carrying the helmet.
bernard: How am I going to get in the locker room? linda: Let him carry the shoulder guards. [She puts her
coat and hat on in the kitchen.]
bernard: Can I, Biff ? ’Cause I told everybody I’m going
to be in the locker room.

ACT TWO 67
happy: In Ebbets Field it’s the clubhouse.
bernard: I meant the clubhouse. Biff!
happy: Biff!
biff : Let him carry the shoul-
der guards.
happy : Stay close
to us now.

willy : Everybody wave when Biff
comes out on the field. You set now, boy?

biff: Ready to go, Pop. Every muscle is ready.
willy : You realize what this
means?
biff: That’s right, Pop.
willy : You’re comin’ home this
afternoon captain of the All-Scholastic Championship Team of the City of New York.
biff: I got it, Pop. And remember, pal, when I take off my helmet, that touchdown is for you.
willy: Let’s go! I got no room for you, Charley.
charley: Room? For what?
willy: In the car.
charley: You goin’ for a ride? I wanted to shoot some
casino.
willy : Casino! Don’t you realize
what today is?
linda: Oh, he knows, Willy. He’s just kidding you. willy: That’s nothing to kid about!
charley: No. Linda, what’s goin’ on?
linda: He’s playing in Ebbets Field.

68 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
charley: Baseball in this weather?
willy: Don’t talk to him. Come on, come on!
charley: Wait a minute, didn’t you hear the news? willy: What?
charley: Don’t you listen to the radio? Ebbets Field just
blew up.
willy: You go to hell!
Come on, come on! We’re late.
charley : Knock a homer, Biff, knock a
homer!
willy : 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, Charley,
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.
charley : Is that so?
willy: Yeah, that’s so.
charley: Well, then, I’m sorry, Willy. But tell me some-
thing.
willy: What?
charley: Who is Red Grange?
willy: Put up your hands. Goddam you, put up your
hands!

willy: Who the hell do you think you are, better than
everybody else? You don’t know everything, you big, ig- norant, stupid . . . Put up your hands!
[Light rises, on the right side of the forestage, on a small table in the reception room of charley’s office. Traffic sounds are

ACT TWO 69
heard. bernard, now mature, sits whistling to himself. A pair of tennis rackets and an overnight bag are on the floor beside him.]
willy : What are you walking away for? Don’t
walk away! If you’re going to say something say it to my face! I know you laugh at me behind my back. You’ll laugh out of the other side of your goddam face after this game. Touchdown! Touchdown! Eighty thousand people! Touch- down! Right between the goal posts.

jenny : Say, Bernard, will you go out in the hall?
bernard: What is that noise? Who is it?
jenny: Mr. Loman. He just got off the elevator. bernard : Who’s he arguing with?
jenny: Nobody. There’s nobody with him. I can’t deal
with him any more, and your father gets all upset everytime he comes. I’ve got a lot of typing to do, and your father’s waiting to sign it. Will you see him?
willy : Touchdown! Touch— Jenny, Jenny, good to see you. How’re ya? Workin’? Or still honest?
jenny: Fine. How’ve you been feeling?
willy: Not much any more, Jenny. Ha, ha!
bernard: Hello, Uncle Willy.
willy : Bernard! Well, look who’s here!
bernard: How are you? Good to see you.
willy: What are you doing here?

70 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
bernard: Oh, just stopped by to see Pop. Get off my feet till my train leaves. I’m going to Washington in a few minutes.
willy: Is he in?
bernard: Yes, he’s in his office with the accountant. Sit down.
willy : What’re you going to do in Wash- ington?
bernard: Oh, just a case I’ve got there, Willy.
willy: That so? You going to play tennis there?
bernard: I’m staying with a friend who’s got a court.
willy: Don’t say. His own tennis court. Must be fine people, I bet.
bernard: They are, very nice. Dad tells me Biff’s in town.
willy : Yeah, Biff ’s in. Working on a very big deal, Bernard.
bernard: What’s Biff doing?
willy: Well, he’s been doing very big things in the West. But he decided to establish himself here. Very big. We’re having dinner. Did I hear your wife had a boy?
bernard: That’s right. Our second.
willy: Two boys! What do you know!
bernard: What kind of a deal has Biff got?
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?
willy : I’m—I’m overjoyed to see how you made the grade, Bernard, overjoyed. It’s an encouraging thing to see a young man really—really—Looks very good for Biff—very— Bernard—

ACT TWO 71
bernard: What is it, Willy?
willy : 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 : 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.
bernard: He never trained himself for anything.
willy: But he did, he did. After high school he took so many correspondence courses. Radio mechanics; television; God knows what, and never made the slightest mark.
bernard : Willy, do you want to talk candidly?
willy : I regard you as a very bril- liant man, Bernard. I value your advice.
bernard: Oh, the hell with the advice, Willy. I couldn’t advise you. There’s just one thing I’ve always wanted to ask you. When he was supposed to graduate, and the math teacher flunked him—
willy: Oh, that son-of-a-b*t*h ruined his life.
bernard: Yeah, but, Willy, all he had to do was to go to summer school and make up that subject.
willy: That’s right, that’s right.
bernard: Did you tell him not to go to summer school? willy: Me? I begged him to go. I ordered him to go! bernard: Then why wouldn’t he go?
willy: Why? Why! Bernard, that question has been trail-
ing me like a ghost for the last fifteen years. He flunked the subject, and laid down and died like a hammer hit him!
bernard: Take it easy, kid.
willy: Let me talk to you—I got nobody to talk to. Bernard, Bernard, was it my fault? Y’see? It keeps going

72 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
around in my mind, maybe I did something to him. I got nothing to give him.
bernard: Don’t take it so hard.
willy: Why did he lay down? What is the story there? You were his friend!
bernard: Willy, I remember, it was June, and our grades came out. And he’d flunked math.
willy: That son-of-a-b*t*h!
bernard: No, it wasn’t right then. Biff just got very an- gry, I remember, and he was ready to enroll in summer school.
willy : He was?
bernard: He wasn’t beaten by it at all. But then, Willy, he disappeared from the block for almost a month. And I got the idea that he’d gone up to New England to see you. Did he have a talk with you then?

bernard: Willy?
willy : Yeah,
he came to Boston. What about it?
bernard: Well, just that when he came back—I’ll never
forget this, it always mystifies me. Because I’d thought so well of Biff, even though he’d always taken advantage of me. I loved him, Willy, y’know? And he came back after that month and took his sneakers—remember those sneakers with ‘‘University of Virginia’’ printed on them? He was so proud of those, wore them every day. And he took them down in the cellar, and burned them up in the furnace. We had a fist fight. It lasted at least half an hour. Just the two of us, punching each other down the cellar, and crying right through it. I’ve often thought of how strange it was that I knew he’d given up his life. What happened in Boston, Willy?

ACT TWO 73
bernard: I just bring it up because you asked me.
willy : Nothing. What do you mean, ‘‘What happened?’’ What’s that got to do with anything?
bernard: Well, don’t get sore.
willy: What are you trying to do, blame it on me? If a boy lays down is that my fault?
bernard: Now, Willy, don’t get—
willy: Well, don’t—don’t talk to me that way! What does that mean, ‘‘What happened?’’
[charley enters. He is in his vest, and he carries a bottle
of bourbon.]
charley: Hey, you’re going to miss that train. [He waves
the bottle.]
bernard: Yeah, I’m going. Thanks,
Pop. Good-bye, Willy, and don’t worry about it. You know, ‘‘If at first you don’t suc- ceed . . .’’
willy: Yes, I believe in that.
bernard: But sometimes, Willy, it’s better for a man just to walk away.
willy: Walk away?
bernard: That’s right.
willy: But if you can’t walk away?
bernard : I guess that’s when it’s
tough.
Good-bye, Willy.
willy : Good-bye, boy. charley : How do you
like this kid? Gonna argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.
bernard : Pop!
willy : No! The Su- preme Court!
bernard: I gotta run. ’Bye, Dad!

74 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
charley: Knock ’em dead, Bernard!

willy : The Supreme
Court! And he didn’t even mention it!
charley : He don’t have
to—he’s gonna do it.
willy: And you never told him what to do, did you?
You never took any interest in him.
charley: My salvation is that I never took any interest
in anything. There’s some money—fifty dollars. I got an accountant inside.
willy: Charley, look . . . I got my in- surance to pay. If you can manage it—I need a hundred and ten dollars.

willy: I’d draw it from my bank but Linda would know, and I . . .
charley: Sit down, Willy.
willy : I’m keeping an account of everything, remember. I’ll pay every penny back.
charley: Now listen to me, Willy.
willy: I want you to know I appreciate . . .
charley : Willy, what’re you
doin’? What the hell is goin’ on in your head?
willy: Why? I’m simply . . .
charley: I offered you a job. You can make fifty dollars
a week. And I won’t send you on the road.
willy: I’ve got a job.
charley: Without pay? What kind of a job is a job with-
out pay? Now, look, kid, enough is enough. I’m no genius but I know when I’m being insulted.
willy: Insulted!
charley: Why don’t you want to work for me? willy: What’s the matter with you? I’ve got a job.

ACT TWO 75
charley: Then what’re you walkin’ in here every week for?
willy : Well, if you don’t want me to walk in here—
charley: I am offering you a job.
willy: I don’t want your goddam job!
charley: When the hell are you going to grow up? willy : You big ignoramus, if you say that to
me again I’ll rap you one! I don’t care how big you are!

charley : How much do you need, Willy?
willy: Charley, I’m strapped, I’m strapped. I don’t know what to do. I was just fired.
charley: Howard fired you?
willy: That snotnose. Imagine that? I named him. I named him Howard.
charley: Willy, when’re you gonna realize that them things don’t mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can’t sell that. The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you’re a salesman, and you don’t know that.
willy: I’ve always tried to think otherwise, I guess. I always felt that if a man was impressive, and well liked, that nothing—
charley: Why must everybody like you? Who liked J. P. Morgan? Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he’d look like a butcher. But with his pockets on he was very well liked. Now listen, Willy, I know you don’t like me, and nobody can say I’m in love with you, but I’ll give you a job because—just for the hell of it, put it that way. Now what do you say?
willy: I—I just can’t work for you, Charley.

76 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
charley: What’re you, jealous of me?
willy: I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why. charley : You been jealous
of me all your life, you damned fool! Here, pay your insur- ance.
willy: I’m keeping strict accounts.
charley: I’ve got some work to do. Take care of your- self. And pay your insurance.
willy : Funny, y’know? After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.
charley: Willy, nobody’s worth nothin’ dead. Did you hear what I said?

charley: Willy!
willy: Apologize to Bernard for me when you see him.
I didn’t mean to argue with him. He’s a fine boy. They’re all fine boys, and they’ll end up big—all of them. Someday they’ll all play tennis together. Wish me luck, Charley. He saw Bill Oliver today.
charley: Good luck.
willy : Charley, you’re the only friend I got. Isn’t that a remarkable thing?
charley: Jesus!

stanley : That’s all right, Mr. Lo-
man, I can handle it myself.
happy : Oh, this is better.
stanley: Sure, in the front there you’re in the middle of

ACT TWO 77
all kinds a noise. Whenever you got a party, Mr. Loman, you just tell me and I’ll put you back here. Y’know, there’s a lotta people they don’t like it private, because when they go out they like to see a lotta action around them because they’re sick and tired to stay in the house by theirself. But I know you, you ain’t from Hackensack. You know what I mean?
happy : So how’s it coming, Stanley?
stanley: Ah, it’s a dog’s life. I only wish during the war they’d a took me in the Army. I coulda been dead by now.
happy: My brother’s back, Stanley.
stanley: Oh, he come back, heh? From the Far West. happy: Yeah, big cattle man, my brother, so treat him
right. And my father’s coming too.
stanley: Oh, your father too!
happy: You got a couple of nice lobsters?
stanley: Hundred percent, big.
happy: I want them with the claws.
stanley: Don’t worry, I don’t give you no mice. [happy
laughs.] How about some wine? It’ll put a head on the meal. happy: No. You remember, Stanley, that recipe I brought
you from overseas? With the champagne in it?
stanley: Oh, yeah, sure. I still got it tacked up yet in the kitchen. But that’ll have to cost a buck apiece anyways.
happy: That’s all right.
stanley: What’d you, hit a number or somethin’? happy: No, it’s a little celebration. My brother is—I think
he pulled off a big deal today. I think we’re going into busi- ness together.
stanley: Great! That’s the best for you. Because a family business, you know what I mean?—that’s the best.
happy: That’s what I think.
stanley: ’Cause what’s the difference? Somebody steals? It’s in the family. Know what I mean? Like this

78 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
bartender here. The boss is goin’ crazy what kinda leak he’s got in the cash register. You put it in but it don’t come out.
happy : Sh!
stanley: What?
happy: You notice I wasn’t lookin’ right or left, was I? stanley: No.
happy: And my eyes are closed.
stanley: So what’s the—?
happy: Strudel’s comin’.
stanley : Ah, no, there’s no— [He breaks off as a furred, lavishly dressed girl enters and sits
at the next table. Both follow her with their eyes.]
stanley: Geez, how’d ya know?
happy: I got radar or something. [Staring directly at her
profile] Oooooooo . . . Stanley.
stanley: I think that’s for you, Mr. Loman.
happy: Look at that mouth. Oh, God. And the binoc-
ulars.
stanley: Geez, you got a life, Mr. Loman.
happy: Wait on her.
stanley : Would you like a menu,
ma’am?
girl: I’m expecting someone, but I’d like a—
happy: Why don’t you bring her—excuse me, miss, do
you mind? I sell champagne, and I’d like you to try my brand. Bring her a champagne, Stanley.
girl: That’s awfully nice of you.
happy: Don’t mention it. It’s all company money.
girl: That’s a charming product to be selling, isn’t it?
happy: Oh, gets to be like everything else. Selling is sell- ing, y’know.
girl: I suppose.
happy: You don’t happen to sell, do you?

ACT TWO 79
girl: No, I don’t sell.
happy: Would you object to a compliment from a stranger? You ought to be on a magazine cover.
girl : I have been.

happy: What’d I say before, Stanley? You see? She’s a
cover girl.
stanley: Oh, I could see, I could see.
happy : What magazine?
girl: Oh, a lot of them. Thank you. happy: You know what they say in France, don’t you?
‘‘Champagne is the drink of the complexion’’—Hya, Biff!
biff: Hello, kid. Sorry I’m late.
happy: I just got here. Uh, Miss—?
girl: Forsythe.
happy: Miss Forsythe, this is my brother.
biff: Is Dad here?
happy: His name is Biff. You might’ve heard of him.
Great football player.
girl: Really? What team?
happy: Are you familiar with football?
girl: No, I’m afraid I’m not.
happy: Biff is quarterback with the New York Giants. girl: Well, that is nice, isn’t it?
happy: Good health.
girl: I’m happy to meet you.
happy: That’s my name. Hap. It’s really Harold, but at
West Point they called me Happy.
girl : Oh, I see. How do you do?

biff: Isn’t Dad coming?
happy: You want her?
biff: Oh, I could never make that.

80 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
happy: I remember the time that idea would never come into your head. Where’s the old confidence, Biff ?
biff: I just saw Oliver—
happy: Wait a minute. I’ve got to see that old confidence again. Do you want her? She’s on call.
biff: Oh, no.
happy: I’m telling you. Watch this. Honey? Are you busy?
girl: Well, I am . . . but I could make a phone call.
happy: Do that, will you, honey? And see if you can get a friend. We’ll be here for a while. Biff is one of the greatest football players in the country.
girl : Well, I’m certainly happy to meet you. happy: Come back soon.
girl: I’ll try.
happy: Don’t try, honey, try hard.

happy: Isn’t that a shame now? A beautiful girl like that?
That’s why I can’t get married. There’s not a good woman in a thousand. New York is loaded with them, kid!
biff: Hap, look—
happy: I told you she was on call!
biff : Cut it out, will ya? I want to say
something to you.
happy: Did you see Oliver?
biff: I saw him all right. Now look, I want to tell Dad a
couple of things and I want you to help me.
happy: What? Is he going to back you?
biff: Are you crazy? You’re out of your goddam head,
you know that?
happy: Why? What happened?
biff : I did a terrible thing today, Hap. It’s
been the strangest day I ever went through. I’m all numb, I swear.

ACT TWO 81
happy: You mean he wouldn’t see you?
biff: Well, I waited six hours for him, see? All day. Kept sending my name in. Even tried to date his secretary so she’d get me to him, but no soap.
happy: Because you’re not showin’ the old confidence, Biff. He remembered you, didn’t he?
biff : Finally, about five o’clock, he comes out. Didn’t remember who I was or any- thing. I felt like such an idiot, Hap.
happy: Did you tell him my Florida idea?
biff: He walked away. I saw him for one minute. I got so mad I could’ve torn the walls down! How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I’d been a salesman for him! And then he gave me one look and—I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been. We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk.
happy: What’d you do?
biff : Well, he left, see. And the secretary went out. I was all alone in the waiting-room. I don’t know what came over me, Hap. The next thing I know I’m in his office—paneled walls, everything. I can’t explain it. I—Hap, I took his fountain pen.
happy: Geez, did he catch you?
biff: I ran out. I ran down all eleven flights. I ran and ran and ran.
happy: That was an awful dumb—what’d you do that for?
biff : I don’t know, I just—wanted to take something, I don’t know. You gotta help me, Hap, I’m gonna tell Pop.
happy: You crazy? What for?
biff: Hap, he’s got to understand that I’m not the man somebody lends that kind of money to. He thinks I’ve been spiting him all these years and it’s eating him up.

82 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
happy: That’s just it. You tell him something nice.
biff: I can’t.
happy: Say you got a lunch date with Oliver tomorrow. biff: So what do I do tomorrow?
happy: You leave the house tomorrow and come back at night and say Oliver is thinking it over. And he thinks it over for a couple of weeks, and gradually it fades away and nobody’s the worse.
biff: But it’ll go on for ever!
happy: Dad is never so happy as when he’s looking for- ward to something!

happy: Hello, scout!
willy: Gee, I haven’t been here in years!

happy: Stanley!

biff : Sit down,
Pop. You want a drink?
willy: Sure, I don’t mind.
biff: Let’s get a load on.
willy: You look worried.
biff: N-no. Scotch all around. Make it
doubles.
stanley: Doubles, right.
willy: You had a couple already, didn’t you?
biff: Just a couple, yeah.
willy: Well, what happened, boy? [Nodding affirmatively,
with a smile] Everything go all right?
biff [takes a breath, then reaches out and grasps willy’s
hand]: Pal . . . I had an experience today.
happy: Terrific, Pop.

ACT TWO 83
willy: That so? What happened?
biff : I’m going to tell you everything from first to last. It’s been a strange day. I had to wait quite a while for him, and—
willy: Oliver?
biff: Yeah, Oliver. All day, as a matter of cold fact. And a lot of—instances—facts, Pop, facts about my life came back to me. Who was it, Pop? Who ever said I was a sales- man with Oliver?
willy: Well, you were.
biff: No, Dad, I was a shipping clerk.
willy: But you were practically—
biff : Dad, I don’t know who said it
first, but I was never a salesman for Bill Oliver.
willy: What’re you talking about?
biff: Let’s hold on to the facts tonight, Pop. We’re not
going to get anywhere bullin’ around. I was a shipping clerk. willy : All right, now listen to me—
biff: Why don’t you let me finish?
willy: I’m not interested in stories about the past or any
crap of that kind because the woods are burning, boys, you understand? There’s a big blaze going on all around. I was fired today.
biff : How could you be?
willy: I was fired, and I’m looking for a little good news to tell your mother, because the woman has waited and the woman has suffered. The gist of it is that I haven’t got a story left in my head, Biff. So don’t give me a lecture about facts and aspects. I am not interested. Now what’ve you got to say to me?

84 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: Did you see Oliver?
biff: Jesus, Dad!
willy: You mean you didn’t go up there?
happy: Sure he went up there.
biff: I did. I—saw him. How could they fire you? willy : What kind of a welcome
did he give you?
biff: He won’t even let you work on commission? willy: I’m out! So tell me, he gave you a warm
welcome?
happy: Sure, Pop, sure!
biff : Well, it was kind of—
willy: I was wondering if he’d remember you. [To
happy] Imagine, man doesn’t see him for ten, twelve years and gives him that kind of a welcome!
happy: Damn right!
biff : Pop, look—
willy: You know why he remembered you, don’t you?
Because you impressed him in those days.
biff: Let’s talk quietly and get this down to the facts, huh? willy : Well, what
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 : What’d he say? Betcha he threw his arm around you.
biff: Well, he kinda—
willy: He’s a fine man. Very hard man to see, y’know.
happy : Oh, I know.
willy : Is that where you had the drinks?
biff: Yeah, he gave me a couple of—no, no!
happy : He told him my Florida idea.
willy: Don’t interrupt. How’d he react to the
Florida idea?

ACT TWO 85
biff: Dad, will you give me a minute to explain?
willy: I’ve been waiting for you to explain since I sat down here! What happened? He took you into his office and what?
biff: Well—I talked. And—and he listened, see.
willy: Famous for the way he listens, y’know. What was his answer?
biff: His answer was— Dad, you’re not letting me tell you what I want to tell you!
willy : You didn’t see him, did you? biff: I did see him!
willy: What’d you insult him or something? You in-
sulted him, didn’t you?
biff: Listen, will you let me out of it, will you just let me
out of it!
happy: What the hell!
willy: Tell me what happened!
biff : I can’t talk to him!

young bernard : Mrs. Loman, Mrs. Loman! happy: Tell him what happened!
biff : Shut up and leave me alone!
willy: No, no! You had to go and flunk math!
biff: What math? What’re you talking about?
young bernard: Mrs. Loman, Mrs. Loman!

willy : Math, math, math!
biff: Take it easy, Pop!
young bernard: Mrs. Loman!
willy : If you hadn’t flunked you’d’ve been set
by now!

86 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
biff: Now, look, I’m gonna tell you what happened, and you’re going to listen to me.
young bernard: Mrs. Loman!
biff: I waited six hours—
happy: What the hell are you saying?
biff: I kept sending in my name but he wouldn’t see me.
So finally he . . .
young bernard: Biff flunked math!
linda: No!
young bernard: Birnbaum flunked him! They won’t
graduate him!
linda: But they have to. He’s gotta go to the university.
Where is he? Biff! Biff!
young bernard: No, he left. He went to Grand Central. linda: Grand—You mean he went to Boston!
young bernard: Is Uncle Willy in Boston?
linda: Oh, maybe Willy can talk to the teacher. Oh, the
poor, poor boy!

biff :
. . . so I’m washed up with Oliver, you understand? Are you listening to me?
willy : Yeah, sure. If you hadn’t flunked— biff: Flunked what? What’re you talking about?
willy: Don’t blame everything on me! I didn’t flunk
math—you did! What pen?
happy: That was awful dumb, Biff, a pen like that is
worth—
willy : You took Oli-
ver’s pen?
biff : Dad, I just explained it to you.
willy: You stole Bill Oliver’s fountain pen!
biff: I didn’t exactly steal it! That’s just what I’ve been
explaining to you!

ACT TWO 87
happy: He had it in his hand and just then Oliver walked in, so he got nervous and stuck it in his pocket!
willy: My God, Biff!
biff: I never intended to do it, Dad!
operator’s voice: Standish Arms, good evening!
willy : I’m not in my room!
biff : Dad, what’s the matter? [He and happy
stand up.]
operator: Ringing Mr. Loman for you!
willy: I’m not there, stop it!
biff : Dad, I’ll
make good, I’ll make good. Sit down now.
willy: No, you’re no good, you’re no good for anything.
biff: I am, Dad, I’ll find something else, you understand? Now don’t worry about anything. Talk to me, Dad.
operator: Mr. Loman does not answer. Shall I page him?
willy : No, no, no!
happy: He’ll strike something, Pop.
willy: No, no . . .
biff : Pop, listen! Listen to
me! I’m telling you something good. Oliver talked to his partner about the Florida idea. You listening? He—he talked to his partner, and he came to me . . . I’m going to be all right, you hear? Dad, listen to me, he said it was just a question of the amount!
willy: Then you . . . got it?
happy: He’s gonna be terrific, Pop!
willy : Then you got it, haven’t you? You
got it! You got it!
biff : No, no. Look, Pop. I’m
supposed to have lunch with them tomorrow. I’m just telling you this so you’ll know that I can still make an impression,

88 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
Pop. And I’ll make good somewhere, but I can’t go to- morrow, see?
willy: Why not? You simply—
biff: But the pen, Pop!
willy: You give it to him and tell him it was an
oversight!
happy: Sure, have lunch tomorrow!
biff: I can’t say that—
willy: You were doing a crossword puzzle and acciden-
tally used his pen!
biff: Listen, kid, I took those balls years ago, now I walk
in with his fountain pen? That clinches it, don’t you see? I can’t face him like that! I’ll try elsewhere.
page’s voice: Paging Mr. Loman!
willy: Don’t you want to be anything?
biff: Pop, how can I go back?
willy: You don’t want to be anything, is that what’s
behind it?
biff :
Don’t take it that way! You think it was easy walking into that office after what I’d done to him? A team of horses couldn’t have dragged me back to Bill Oliver!
willy: Then why’d you go?
biff: Why did I go? Why did I go! Look at you! Look at what’s become of you!

willy: Biff, you’re going to go to that lunch tomor- row, or—
biff: I can’t go. I’ve got no appointment!
happy: Biff, for . . . !
willy: Are you spiting me?
biff: Don’t take it that way! Goddammit!
willy : You rot-
ten little louse! Are you spiting me?

ACT TWO 89
the woman: Someone’s at the door, Willy!
biff: I’m no good, can’t you see what I am?
happy : Hey, you’re in a restaurant! Now
cut it out, both of you! Hello, girls, sit down.
miss forsythe: I guess we might as well. This is Letta. the woman: Willy, are you going to wake up?
biff : How’re ya, miss, sit down. What do you drink?
miss forsythe: Letta might not be able to stay long.
letta: I gotta get up very early tomorrow. I got jury duty. I’m so excited! Were you fellows ever on a jury?
biff: No, but I been in front of them! This is my father.
letta: Isn’t he cute? Sit down with us, Pop.
happy: Sit him down, Biff!
biff : Come on, slugger, drink us under the
table. To hell with it! Come on, sit down, pal.

the woman : Willy, are you going to an-
swer the door!

biff: Hey, where are you going?
willy: Open the door.
biff: The door?
willy: The washroom . . . the door . . . where’s the
door?
biff : Just go straight down.
the woman: Willy, Willy, are you going to get up,
get up, get up, get up?

letta: I think it’s sweet you bring your daddy along.

90 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
miss forsythe: Oh, he isn’t really your father!
biff : Miss Forsythe, you’ve just seen a prince walk by. A fine, troubled prince. A hard- working, unappreciated prince. A pal, you understand? A good companion. Always for his boys.
letta: That’s so sweet.
happy: Well, girls, what’s the program? We’re wasting time. Come on, Biff. Gather round. Where would you like to go?
biff: Why don’t you do something for him?
happy: Me!
biff: Don’t you give a damn for him, Hap?
happy: What’re you talking about? I’m the one who— biff: I sense it, you don’t give a good goddam about him.
Look what I found in the cellar, for Christ’s sake. How can you bear to let it go on?
happy: Me? Who goes away? Who runs off and—
biff: Yeah, but he doesn’t mean anything to you. You could help him—I can’t. Don’t you understand what I’m talking about? He’s going to kill himself, don’t you know that?
happy: Don’t I know it! Me!
biff: Hap, help him! Jesus . . . help him . . . Help me, help me, I can’t bear to look at his face!
happy : Where are you going?
miss forsythe: What’s he so mad about?
happy: Come on, girls, we’ll catch up with him.
miss forsythe : Say, I don’t like
that temper of his!
happy: He’s just a little overstrung, he’ll be all right! willy : Don’t answer!
Don’t answer!

ACT TWO 91
letta: Don’t you want to tell your father—
happy: No, that’s not my father. He’s just a guy. Come on, we’ll catch Biff, and, honey, we’re going to paint this town! Stanley, where’s the check! Hey, Stanley!

stanley : Mr. Loman! Mr. Loman!

willy: Will you stop laughing? Will you stop?
the woman: Aren’t you going to answer the door? He’ll wake the whole hotel.
willy: I’m not expecting anybody.
the woman: Whyn’t you have another drink, honey, and stop being so damn self-centered?
willy: I’m so lonely.
the woman: You know you ruined me, Willy? From now on, whenever you come to the office, I’ll see that you go right through to the buyers. No waiting at my desk any more, Willy. You ruined me.
willy: That’s nice of you to say that.
the woman: Gee, you are self-centered! Why so sad? You are the saddest, self-centeredest soul I ever did see-saw. Come on inside, drummer boy. It’s silly to be dressing in the middle of the night. Aren’t you going to answer the door?
willy: They’re knocking on the wrong door.
the woman: But I felt the knocking. And he heard us talking in here. Maybe the hotel’s on fire!
willy : It’s a mistake. the woman: Then tell him to go away! willy: There’s nobody there.

92 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
the woman: It’s getting on my nerves, Willy. There’s somebody standing out there and it’s getting on my nerves! willy : All right, stay in the bathroom here, and don’t come out. I think there’s a law in Massachusetts about it, so don’t come out. It may be that new room clerk. He looked very mean. So don’t come out.
It’s a mistake, there’s no fire.

biff: Why didn’t you answer?
willy: Biff! What are you doing in Boston?
biff: Why didn’t you answer? I’ve been knocking for five
minutes, I called you on the phone—
willy: I just heard you. I was in the bathroom and had
the door shut. Did anything happen home? biff: Dad—I let you down.
willy: What do you mean?
biff: Dad . . .
willy: Biffo, what’s this about? Come on, let’s go downstairs and get you a malted.
biff: Dad, I flunked math.
willy: Not for the term?
biff: The term. I haven’t got enough credits to graduate. willy: You mean to say Bernard wouldn’t give you the
answers?
biff: He did, he tried, but I only got a sixty-one. willy: And they wouldn’t give you four points?
biff: Birnbaum refused absolutely. I begged him, Pop, but
he won’t give me those points. You gotta talk to him before they close the school. Because if he saw the kind of man you are, and you just talked to him in your way, I’m sure he’d come through for me. The class came right before prac-

ACT TWO 93
tice, see, and I didn’t go enough. Would you talk to him? He’d like you, Pop. You know the way you could talk.
willy: You’re on. We’ll drive right back.
biff: Oh, Dad, good work! I’m sure he’ll change it for you!
willy: Go downstairs and tell the clerk I’m checkin’ out. Go right down.
biff: Yes, sir! See, the reason he hates me, Pop—one day he was late for class so I got up at the blackboard and imi- tated him. I crossed my eyes and talked with a lithp.
willy : You did? The kids like it?
biff: They nearly died laughing!
willy: Yeah? What’d you do?
biff: The thquare root of thixthy twee is . . . [willy bursts
out laughing; biff joins him.] And in the middle of it he walked in!
willy : Hurry downstairs and— biff: Somebody in there?
willy: No, that was next door.

biff: Somebody got in your bathroom!
willy: No, it’s the next room, there’s a party—
the woman : Can I come
in? There’s something in the bathtub, Willy, and it’s moving!
willy: Ah—you better go back to your room. They
must be finished painting by now. They’re painting her room so I let her take a shower here. Go back, go back . . .
the woman : But I’ve got to get dressed, Willy, I can’t—
willy: Get out of here! Go back, go back . . . [Suddenly

94 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
striving for the ordinary] This is Miss Francis, Biff, she’s a buyer. They’re painting her room. Go back, Miss Francis, go back . . .
the woman: But my clothes, I can’t go out naked in the hall!
willy : Get outa here! Go back, go back!

the woman: Where’s my stockings? You promised me
stockings, Willy!
willy: I have no stockings here!
the woman: You had two boxes of size nine sheers for
me, and I want them!
willy: Here, for God’s sake, will you get outa here! the woman : I just hope
there’s nobody in the hall. That’s all I hope. Are you football or baseball?
biff: Football.
the woman : That’s me too. G’night.
willy : Well, better get going. I want to get to the school first thing in the morning. Get my suits out of the closet. I’ll get my valise. What’s the matter? She’s a buyer. Buys for J. H. Simmons. She lives down the hall— they’re painting. You don’t imagine— Now listen, pal, she’s just a buyer. She sees merchan- dise in her room and they have to keep it looking just so . . . All right, get my suits. Now stop crying and do as I say. I gave you an order. Biff, I gave you an order! Is that what you do when I give you an order? How dare you cry? Now look, Biff, when you grow up you’ll

ACT TWO 95
understand about these things. You mustn’t—you mustn’t overemphasize a thing like this. I’ll see Birnbaum first thing in the morning.
biff: Never mind.
willy : Never mind! He’s going to give you those points. I’ll see to it.
biff: He wouldn’t listen to you.
willy: He certainly will listen to me. You need those points for the U. of Virginia.
biff: I’m not going there.
willy: Heh? If I can’t get him to change that mark you’ll make it up in summer school. You’ve got all summer to—
biff : Dad . . .
willy : Oh, my boy . . .
biff: Dad . . .
willy: She’s nothing to me, Biff. I was lonely, I was
terribly lonely.
biff: You—you gave her Mama’s stockings! [His tears
break through and he rises to go.]
willy : I gave you an order!
biff: Don’t touch me, you—liar!
willy: Apologize for that!
biff: You fake! You phony little fake! You fake! [Overcome,
he turns quickly and weeping fully goes out with his suitcase. willy is left on the floor on his knees.]
willy: I gave you an order! Biff, come back here or I’ll beat you! Come back here! I’ll whip you!
[stanley comes quickly in from the right and stands in front
of willy.]
willy : I gave you an order . . . stanley: Hey, let’s pick it up, pick it up, Mr. Loman.
Your boys left with the chippies. They said they’ll see you home.

96 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: But we were supposed to have dinner together.
stanley: Can you make it?
willy: I’ll—sure, I can make it. [Suddenly concerned about
his clothes.] Do I—I look all right?
stanley: Sure, you look all right. [He flicks a speck off
willy’s lapel.]
willy: Here—here’s a dollar.
stanley: Oh, your son paid me. It’s all right.
willy : No, take it. You’re
a good boy.
stanley: Oh, no, you don’t have to . . .
willy: Here—here’s some more. I don’t need it any
more. Tell me—is there a seed store in the neighborhood?
stanley: Seeds? You mean like to plant?

willy: Yes. Carrots, peas . . .
stanley: Well, there’s hardware stores on Sixth Avenue,
but it may be too late now.
willy : Oh, I’d better hurry. I’ve got to get
some seeds. I’ve got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground.

stanley : Well, whatta you looking at? [The waiter picks up the chairs and moves off right. stanley takes the table and follows him. The light fades on this area. There is a long pause, the sound of the flute coming over. The light gradually rises on the kitchen, which is empty. happy appears at the door of the house, followed by biff.

ACT TWO 97
happy is carrying a large bunch of long-stemmed roses. He enters the kitchen, looks around for linda. Not seeing her, he turns to biff, who is just outside the house door, and makes a gesture with his hands, indicating ‘‘Not here, I guess.’’ He looks into the living-room and freezes. Inside, linda, unseen, is seated, willy’s coat on her lap. She rises ominously and quietly and moves toward happy, who backs up into the kitchen, afraid.]
happy: Hey, what’re you doing up? Where’s Pop? Is he sleeping?
linda: Where were you?
happy : We met two girls, Mom, very fine types. Here, we brought you some flowers. Put them in your room, Ma.

happy: Now what’d you do that for? Mom, I want you
to have some flowers—
linda : Don’t you care
whether he lives or dies?
happy : Come upstairs, Biff.
biff : Go away from me!
What do you mean, lives or dies? Nobody’s dy- ing around here, pal.
linda: Get out of my sight! Get out of here!
biff: I wanna see the boss.
linda: You’re not going near him!
biff: Where is he? [He moves into the living-room and linda
follows.]
linda : You invite him to dinner. He
looks forward to it all day—[biff appears in his parents’ bed-

98 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
room, looks around, and exits]—and then you desert him there. There’s no stranger you’d do that to!
happy: Why? He had a swell time with us. Listen, when I——desert him I hope I don’t outlive the day!
linda: Get out of here!
happy: Now look, Mom . . .
linda: Did you have to go to women tonight? You and
your lousy rotten whores!

happy: Mom, all we did was follow Biff around trying to
cheer him up! Boy, what a night you gave me! linda: Get out of here, both of you, and don’t come back! I don’t want you tormenting him any more. Go on now, get your things together! You can sleep in his apartment. Pick up this stuff, I’m not your maid any more. Pick it up,
you bum, you!
linda: You’re a pair of animals! Not one, not another
living soul would have had the cruelty to walk out on that man in a restaurant!
biff : Is that what he said?
linda: He didn’t have to say anything. He was so hu- miliated he nearly limped when he came in.
happy: But, Mom, he had a great time with us—
biff : Shut up!

linda: You! You didn’t even go in to see if he was all
right!
biff [still on the floor in front of linda, the flowers in his hand;
with self-loathing]: No. Didn’t. Didn’t do a damned thing. How do you like that, heh? Left him babbling in a toilet.

ACT TWO 99
linda: You louse. You . . .
biff: Now you hit it on the nose! The sc*m of the earth, and you’re looking at him!
linda: Get out of here!
biff: I gotta talk to the boss, Mom. Where is he? linda: You’re not going near him. Get out of this house! biff : No. We’re
gonna have an abrupt conversation, him and me.
linda: You’re not talking to him!

linda : Will you please leave him alone? biff: What’s he doing out there?
linda: He’s planting the garden!
biff : Now? Oh, my God!

willy: Carrots . . . quarter-inch apart. Rows . . . one- foot rows. One foot. Beets. Lettuce. One foot— What a proposition, ts, ts. Terrific, terrific. ’Cause she’s suffered, Ben, the woman has suffered. You understand me? A man can’t go out the way he came in, Ben, a man has got to add up to something. You can’t, you can’t— You

100 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
gotta consider, now. Don’t answer so quick. Remember, it’s a guaranteed twenty-thousand-dollar proposition. Now look, Ben, I want you to go through the ins and outs of this thing with me. I’ve got nobody to talk to, Ben, and the woman has suffered, you hear me?
ben : What’s the proposition?
willy: It’s twenty thousand dollars on the barrelhead. Guaranteed, gilt-edged, you understand?
ben: You don’t want to make a fool of yourself. They might not honor the policy.
willy: How can they dare refuse? Didn’t I work like a coolie to meet every premium on the nose? And now they don’t pay off ? Impossible!
ben: It’s called a cowardly thing, William.
willy: Why? Does it take more guts to stand here the rest of my life ringing up a zero?
ben : That’s a point, William. And twenty thousand—that is something one can feel with the hand, it is there.
willy : Oh, Ben, that’s the whole beauty of it! I see it like a diamond, shining in the dark, hard and rough, that I can pick up and touch in my hand. Not like—like an appointment! This would not be another damned-fool appointment, Ben, and it changes all the aspects. Because he thinks I’m nothing, see, and so he spites me. But the funeral— Ben, that fu- neral will be massive! They’ll come from Maine, Massachu- setts, Vermont, New Hampshire! All the old-timers with the strange license plates—that boy will be thunderstruck, Ben, because he never realized—I am known! Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey—I am known, Ben, and he’ll see it with his eyes once and for all. He’ll see what I am, Ben! He’s in for a shock, that boy!
ben : He’ll call you a coward.

ACT TWO 101
willy : No, that would be terrible.
ben: Yes. And a damned fool.
willy: No, no, he mustn’t, I won’t have that! [He is
broken and desperate.]
ben: He’ll hate you, William.

willy: Oh, Ben, how do we get back to all the great
times? Used to be so full of light, and comradeship, the sleigh-riding in winter, and the ruddiness on his cheeks. And always some kind of good news coming up, always some- thing nice coming up ahead. And never even let me carry the valises in the house, and simonizing, simonizing that little red car! Why, why can’t I give him something and not have him hate me?
ben: Let me think about it. I still have a little time. Remarkable proposition, but you’ve got to be sure you’re not making a fool of yourself.

willy [suddenly conscious of biff, turns and looks up at him,
then begins picking up the packages of seeds in confusion]: Where the hell is that seed? You can’t see nothing out here! They boxed in the whole goddam neighborhood!
biff: There are people all around here. Don’t you realize that?
willy: I’m busy. Don’t bother me.
biff : I’m saying good-bye to you, Pop. I’m not coming back any more.
willy: You’re not going to see Oliver tomorrow?
biff: I’ve got no appointment, Dad.
willy: He put his arm around you, and you’ve got no
appointment?
biff: Pop, get this now, will you? Everytime I’ve left it’s
been a fight that sent me out of here. Today I realized some-

102 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
thing about myself and I tried to explain it to you and I— I think I’m just not smart enough to make any sense out of it for you. To hell with whose fault it is or anything like that. Let’s just wrap it up, heh? Come on in, we’ll tell Mom.
willy : No, I don’t want to see her.
biff: Come on!
willy : No, no, I don’t want to see her.
biff : Why don’t you want to see her?
willy : Don’t bother me, will you?
biff: What do you mean, you don’t want to see her? You don’t want them calling you yellow, do you? This isn’t your fault; it’s me, I’m a bum. Now come inside! Did you hear what I said to you?

linda : Did you plant, dear?
biff : All right, we had it out. I’m
going and I’m not writing any more.
linda : I think that’s the
best way, dear. ’Cause there’s no use drawing it out, you’ll just never get along.

biff: People ask where I am and what I’m doing, you don’t know, and you don’t care. That way it’ll be off your mind and you can start brightening up again. All right? That clears it, doesn’t it? You gonna wish me luck, scout? What do you say?
linda: Shake his hand, Willy.

ACT TWO 103
willy : There’s no ne- cessity to mention the pen at all, y’know.
biff : I’ve got no appointment, Dad.
willy : He put his arm around . . . ? biff: Dad, you’re never going to see what I am, so what’s
the use of arguing? If I strike oil I’ll send you a check. Mean- time forget I’m alive.
willy : Spite, see?
biff: Shake hands, Dad.
willy: Not my hand.
biff: I was hoping not to go this way.
willy: Well, this is the way you’re going. Good-bye.
willy : May you rot in hell if you leave this house!
biff : Exactly what is it that you want from me?
willy: I want you to know, on the train, in the moun- tains, in the valleys, wherever you go, that you cut down your life for spite!
biff: No, no.
willy: Spite, spite, is the word of your undoing! And when you’re down and out, remember what did it. When you’re rotting somewhere beside the railroad tracks, remem- ber, and don’t you dare blame it on me!
biff: I’m not blaming it on you!
willy: I won’t take the rap for this, you hear?

biff: That’s just what I’m telling you!
willy :
You’re trying to put a knife in me—don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing!
biff: All right, phony! Then let’s lay it on the line. [He

104 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
whips the rubber tube out of his pocket and puts it on the table.] happy: You crazy—
linda: Biff! [She moves to grab the hose, but biff holds it
down with his hand.]
biff: Leave it there! Don’t move it!
willy : What is that?
biff: You know goddam well what that is.
willy : I never saw that.
biff: You saw it. The mice didn’t bring it into the cellar!
What is this supposed to do, make a hero out of you? This supposed to make me sorry for you?
willy: Never heard of it.
biff: There’ll be no pity for you, you hear it? No pity! willy : You hear the spite!
biff: No, you’re going to hear the truth—what you are
and what I am!
linda: Stop it!
willy: Spite!
happy : You cut it now!
biff : The man don’t know who we are! The
man is gonna know! We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!
happy: We always told the truth!
biff : You big blow, are you the assistant buyer? You’re one of the two assistants to the assistant, aren’t you?
happy: Well, I’m practically—
biff: You’re practically full of it! We all are! And I’m through with it. Now hear this, Willy, this is me.
willy: I know you!
biff: You know why I had no address for three months? I stole a suit in Kansas City and I was in jail. Stop crying. I’m through with it.

ACT TWO 105
willy: I suppose that’s my fault!
biff: I stole myself out of every good job since high school!
willy: And whose fault is that?
biff: And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from any- body! That’s whose fault it is!
willy: I hear that!
linda: Don’t, Biff!
biff: It’s goddam time you heard that! I had to be boss
big shot in two weeks, and I’m through with it!
willy: Then hang yourself! For spite, hang yourself! biff: No! Nobody’s hanging himself, Willy! I ran down
eleven flights with a pen in my hand today. And suddenly I stopped, you hear me? And in the middle of that office building, do you hear this? I stopped in the middle of that building and I saw—the sky. I saw the things that I love in this world. The work and the food and time to sit and smoke. And I looked at the pen and said to myself, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am! Why can’t I say that, Willy?
willy : The door of your life is wide open!
biff: Pop! I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you!
willy : I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!

biff: I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are

106 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash can like all the rest of them! I’m one dollar an hour, Willy! I tried seven states and couldn’t raise it. A buck an hour! Do you gather my meaning? I’m not bringing home any prizes any more, and you’re going to stop waiting for me to bring them home!
willy : You vengeful, spiteful mut!

biff : Pop, I’m nothing! I’m nothing,
Pop. Can’t you understand that? There’s no spite in it any more. I’m just what I am, that’s all.
willy : What’re you doing? What’re you do-
ing? Why is he crying?
biff : Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake?
Will you take that phony dream and burn it before some- thing happens? I’ll go in the morning. Put him—put him to bed.
willy : Isn’t that— isn’t that remarkable? Biff—he likes me!
linda: He loves you, Willy!
happy : Always did, Pop.
willy: Oh, Biff! He cried! Cried to me.
That boy—that boy is going to be magnificent!

ben: Yes, outstanding, with twenty thousand behind him. linda : Now
come to bed, Willy. It’s all settled now.
willy : Yes,
we’ll sleep. Come on. Go to sleep, Hap.

ACT TWO 107
ben: And it does take a great kind of a man to crack the jungle.

happy : I’m getting married, Pop, don’t forget it. I’m changing everything. I’m gonna run that department before the year is up. You’ll see, Mom.
ben: The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy.
linda: Be good. You’re both good boys, just act that
way, that’s all.
happy: ’Night, Pop.
linda : Come, dear.
ben : One must go in to fetch a dia-
mond out.
willy [to linda, as he moves slowly along the edge of the
kitchen, toward the door]: I just want to get settled down, Linda. Let me sit alone for a little.
linda : I want you upstairs.
willy : In a few minutes, Linda. I couldn’t sleep right now. Go on, you look awful tired.
ben: Not like an appointment at all. A diamond is rough and hard to the touch.
willy: Go on now. I’ll be right up.
linda: I think this is the only way, Willy.
willy: Sure, it’s the best thing.
ben: Best thing!
willy: The only way. Everything is gonna be—go on,
kid, get to bed. You look so tired.
linda: Come right up.
willy: Two minutes.

108 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
willy: Loves me. Always loved me. Isn’t that a remarkable thing? Ben, he’ll worship me for it!
ben : It’s dark there, but full of diamonds.
willy: Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket?
linda : Willy! Come up!
willy : Yes! Yes. Coming! It’s very smart, you realize that, don’t you, sweetheart? Even Ben sees it. I gotta go, baby. ’Bye! ’Bye! Imagine? When the mail comes he’ll be ahead of Bernard again!
ben: A perfect proposition all around.
willy: Did you see how he cried to me? Oh, if I could kiss him, Ben!
ben: Time, William, time!
willy: Oh, Ben, I always knew one way or another we were gonna make it, Biff and I!
ben : The boat. We’ll be late.
willy : Now when you kick off, boy, I want a seventy-yard boot, and get right down the field under the ball, and when you hit, hit low and hit hard, because it’s important, boy. There’s all kinds of important people in the stands, and the first thing you know . . . Ben! Ben, where do I . . . ? Ben, how do I . . . ?
linda : Willy, you coming up?
willy : Sh! Shhh!

ACT TWO 109
linda: Willy?

linda : Willy, answer me! Willy!

linda: No!
biff : Pop!

REQUIEM
charley: It’s getting dark, Linda.

biff: How about it, Mom? Better get some rest, heh?
They’ll be closing the gate soon.

happy : He had no right to do that. There
was no necessity for it. We would’ve helped him. charley : Hmmm.
biff: Come along, Mom.
linda: Why didn’t anybody come?
charley: It was a very nice funeral.
linda: But where are all the people he knew? Maybe they blame him.
charley: Naa. It’s a rough world, Linda. They wouldn’t blame him.
linda: I can’t understand it. At this time especially. First time in thirty-five years we were just about free and clear. He only needed a little salary. He was even finished with the dentist.
charley: No man only needs a little salary.
linda: I can’t understand it.
biff: There were a lot of nice days. When he’d come
home from a trip; or on Sundays, making the stoop; finishing the cellar; putting on the new porch; when he built the extra bathroom; and put up the garage. You know something, Charley, there’s more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made.
charley: Yeah. He was a happy man with a batch of cement.
linda: He was so wonderful with his hands.
110

REQUIEM 111
biff: He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong.
happy : Don’t say that!
biff: He never knew who he was.
charley :
Nobody dast blame this man. You don’t understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back—that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you’re fin- ished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.
biff: Charley, the man didn’t know who he was.
happy : Don’t say that!
biff: Why don’t you come with me, Happy?
happy: I’m not licked that easily. I’m staying right in this
city, and I’m gonna beat this racket! The Loman Brothers!
biff: I know who I am, kid.
happy: All right, boy. I’m gonna show you and every- body else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. It’s the only dream you can have—to come out number-one man. He fought it out here, and this is where I’m gonna win it for him.
biff : Let’s go, Mom.
linda: I’ll be with you in a minute. Go on, Charley. I want to, just for a minute. I never had a chance to say good-bye.

112 DEATH OF A SALESMAN
linda: Forgive me, dear. I can’t cry. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t cry. I don’t understand it. Why did you ever do that? Help me, Willy, I can’t cry. It seems to me that you’re just on another trip. I keep expecting you. Willy, dear, I can’t cry. Why did you do it? I search and search and I search, and I can’t understand it, Willy. I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there’ll be nobody home. We’re free and clear. We’re free. We’re free . . . We’re free . . .

curtain



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