Death of a salesman/Arthur Miller; with an introduction by. Christopher Bigsby. .. When the stage designer Jo Mielziner received the script, in September ARTHUR MILLER Death of a Salesman, Act I Behind the kitchen, on a level raised six and a half feet, is the boys' bedroom, at present. Some of the longer scripts have been published but he made very little out of them. especially in a play such as Death of a Salesman. a reworking of No Villain .
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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. Death of a Salesman PDF Summary by Arthur Miller is an eye-opening play that explains the difference between happy and miserable life. [The context of this scene is that Willy Loman, a travelling salesman, Assignment -- Arthur Miller "Excerpt from DEATH OF A SALESMAN".
He disturbs his wife Linda. Biff the audience never get to know his real baptismal name. The younger. The sons are disturbed by their father's strange behaviour. He is confused and frightened because he seems to have lost the ability to concentrate on driving his car. There are times when his actions appear to them to be strange or distressing or even frightening. This year-old salesman returns unexpectedly to Brooklyn one night having failed to reach his territory in New England.
It is an interesting fact that there is no character in the play who ever knows all the truth about Willy. If we concentrate on the public story only. Happy says that Willy seems to spend a lot of his time talking to himself and he tells Biff 'most of the time. Harold but always known as Happy.
Only the audience are in a position to understand and to judge Willy Loman at the end of his life. He has a minor managerial job. She persuades him against his will to give up travelling and to ask his boss for a job in the New York office. The Lomans have two sons. Once again. Biff agrees with Happy to try to set up a business venture with backing from Bill Oliver. Willy and Biff once more misunderstand each other and a violent argument develops.
Willy fails to persuade his boss to give him a job in New York and Biff not only fails to make the necessary contact with Bill Oliver but also commits a stupid and pointless theft which prevents him from ever trying again. The family go into the house leaving Willy alone. They all meet up at the end of the day in a restaurant in the city. The play ends with a short scene which Miller calls the Requiem in which Linda. Willy thinks that he ends his life in triumph.
It is decided that they will approach Oliver at his office in New York on the following day and the first act ends on a note of optimism. When the boys return with a shamefaced peace-offering of flowers for Linda she shows them Willy as the ruin he has become. Linda reveals that he has lost his ability as a salesman. His employers have stopped paying his salary and have made him work on commission only. He has not confessed this to Linda but she has found out that he has been borrowing money from their neighbour.
Happy and Charley make a series of stylised comments upon Willy's life and death. Willy's behaviour becomes inexplicable and embarrassing to Biff and Happy. The 'public story' of the second act is a series of disappointments for Willy leading to his final defeat and death. She fears that he might commit suicide since she has reason to believe that he has already attempted it. Biff has constantly refused to tell Linda what the row was about.
He now appears to his family to have become completely insane. He now resolves to end his life in a way that will benefit Biff. The sons are dis- tressed at her news but she rounds on them and points out that neither of them has shown much interest in their father since they grew up. She is particularly upset because Biff and his father have never got along together after a big row between them many years ago.
In order to please his mother by settling down near at hand and also to make some attempt to come to terms with Willy. If any alteration in the setting is required at the change from one sequence to another. Linda is distressed but does not seem to be altogether surprised. Each sequence has been given a number within its act. These are sometimes linked through timeswitches. In fact the general practice today is for there to be no main curtain at all.
Inside Willy's mind the 'private action' takes place in 'remembered time' which is usually round about the year in which Biff failed his mathematics examination and gave up the idea of going to university. She suggests that he must ask his employer for a job in New York so that he will not have to travel any more. Then as the light increases the audience see the salesman's house sur- rounded by towering apartment blocks.
Frightened by this. He kept forgetting that he was driving and found that the car was suddenly going off the road at sixty miles an hour. As he lets himself into the house. He tells her that he is not ill but is 'tired to the death' and was unable to reach his destination in New England because he suddenly lost his ability to keep control of the car. A change from one sequence to the next. Willy demurs at this because of his pride in himself as the 'New England man' but he gives in and agrees to go and see his boss on the following day.
Act I Sequence 1 Time: Present night Location: Brooklyn Main bedroom Summary The atmosphere of the play is established by music of the flute. Since this occurred seventeen years ago then the year of crisis is The light increases and Willy is seen coming in.
There are plenty of clues within the dialogue of the play as to its chronology see Section 2. The 'public action' takes place through the last twenty-four hours in Willy's life in the year There is no lowering of the main curtain between the sequences. Willy seems to be generally touchy and aggressive. A careful reading of the scene would provide the following list. The atmosphere is partially suggested by the music.
This apparent contradiction is. That is to say. Time of day is established by the general darkness at the beginning of the play and by the fact that all the characters in this scene except Willy are in bed.
The function of setting. Commentary The early scenes of any play must carry the burden of exposition. The name of the principal character The name of his wife The make of car he drives The name of the place where he turned round to come back home The profession of the principal character The name of the company that employs him The name of his present boss The names of his sons The kind of cheese he likes to eat.
His raised voice disturbs the young men sleeping in the next room. Willy is generally dissatisfied with Biff for not settling into a regular job like his brother. In the course of this first short scene. This is an 'overlap' between the two sequences. Linda is very pleased to have them both together on a visit.
Biff and Happy are awake and listening as the lights begin to fade on the main bedroom and come on in theirs. Willy goes downstairs to the kitchen daydreaming about the happy past. Biff and Happy. He tends to be overbearing towards Linda 'I don't want a change! I want Swiss cheese. I'm vital in New England.
He frequently expresses himself violently 'Biff is a lazy bum! It is obvious from the dialogue. He shouts this and then almost immediately. And we'll open the windshield. Although alarmed she is not altogether surprised by his sudden return and seems to be prepared for bad news 'You didn't smash the car.
His expression of love for Linda betrays his insecurity 'You're my foundation and my support. At this stage. One aspect of his behaviour definitely verges on the abnormal. This interview with Howard will not take place until the play is approaching its end. He is proud of his professional skills 'I'm the New England man.
It is also clear that at this moment in their lives. The audience begin to wonder what is wrong so they watch him closely. Yet he seems to love Linda very much 'You're not worried about me. Not all these facts are of equal importance for the understanding of the play. It is not easy for the audience to begin to assess Willy's character at their first sight of him because he is in an unusual state of mind. His inability to concentrate on driving his car may well be symptomatic of a much deeper distress.
This together with her later lines when she begs him to go and ask Howard for a job in New York are examples of the kind of line often written into an opening scene to raise expectation and to point forward to the further development of the story. Towards the end of this sequence the audience are prepared for the use of the timeswitch technique.
Why am I always being contradicted? His behaviour is certainly not quite normal. He breaks off in amazement and fright as the flute is heard distantly. He stops Now isn't that peculiar! Isn't that a remarkable. I have such thoughts. Willy is.. They have been awakened by Willy's speech about the apartment houses. The sound of the flute reminds the audience that Willy is describing a very unusual experience.
The first real timeswitch within the play begins as Willy goes out of the bedroom remembering the red Chevrolet and the way Biff used to Simonize it. I coulda sworn I was driving that Chevvy today. Breaks off That's funny. I have such strange thoughts. But it's so beautiful up there. Slight pause Nineteen twenty-eight. This is a brilliantly economical way of introducing an original technical device.
I was even observing the scenery. The dialogue just quoted has been foreshadowed by an earlier speech: Biff and Happy are already in the action and are beginning to be visible. I opened the windshield and just let the warm air bathe over me. And I was fine. It is at moments like this throughout the play that the realistic and the poetic elements meet and blend.
I didn't. The great irony is that neither of them fully understands what he is talking about.. You can imagine. He presses two fingers against his eyes. Act I Sequence 2 Time: Brooklyn Boys' bedroom Summary This sequence introduces an important component of the plot.
I think I got less bashful and. Their attitude to the opposite sex. I still am. He seems to be very sorry for Linda but dismisses Willy as 'selfish and stupid'. BIFF Oh. Biff tells his brother that although he enjoys working on the ranches of the West every spring he gets the feeling that he is wasting his time doing so when he should be building a secure future for himself. BIFF I bet you forgot how bashful you used to be. BIFF That's the one.
They laugh. Bill Oliver. Happy is a moderately successful business man who has moved out from the Loman family home into his own bachelor apartment where he leads a pleasure-loving existence. The playwright is establishing a group of related themes- to be developed later in the play. You taught me everything I know about women.
I think. Commentary It is significant that the audience first see the Loman brothers apart from their parents in their own bedroom. This gives them the chance to discuss their father quite frankly and to talk about their relationships with women more openly than they could in Linda's presence.
The sons discuss what is happening to their father. This project becomes modified later in the play. Biff's reaction to overhearing Willy muttering as he goes downstairs past the bedroom is not one of pity but of contemptuous anger. I got you in there. The following piece of dialogue is typical in that it introduces a general theme sexual relationships and follows it immediately by applying it to one particular character.
Happy expresses concern about Willy. Especially with girls. The rest of the scene serves to outline the contrasting characters of the two sons. Don't forget that. He shakes Biffs knee.
A sour note is struck by Bernard. He now imagines himself to be back in the Brooklyn he knew in the happy past. Willy supports him and tells the boys that Bernard. In the kitchen. Where's the old humour. Biff gets up and moves restlessly about the room. Another minor but significant component of the plot is being established: Biff refuses Bernard's help and seems to expect to be able to graduate on personality alone. What's the matter? This establishes the closeness and mutual affection between the brothers.
In this. He has become bashful with women while Happy has become more brash. Act I Sequence 3 Time: Past day Location: Brooklyn house and garden Summary Willy has just returned. It is also implied that the change in Biff may be connected with his altered relationship with Willy. Upstairs in their bed- room. Their relation- ship with Bill Oliver is not yet made clear. The transition into the next sequence is slow and with considerable overlap.
Bernard resembles his father. The apartment blocks disappear. Willy is heard talking in the kitchen. What happened. Biff has just been made football captain and is basking in the glory of the admiration of his classmates. He sees his sons as high school boys busily cleaning his car. The next timeswitch is the first to bring about a change of location. Willy is heard warning Biff against taking too much interest in girls while he is still quite young.
This is ironic both in the light of the conversation be- tween the grown-up brothers and also of what is soon to be revealed. Commentary This is another economical scene establishing just what is necessary and no more. There is no grand passion about the relationship and she is in no way a rival to Linda. Any attempt to deepen the character of the Woman would have been a mistake.
Willy and Linda begin to calculate how much Willy has earned and to set it against the amount they owe. In this sequence.
Linda tells Willy that he is doing very well. Commentary During the transition from the previous sequence. It becomes obvious that they are not very prosperous and cannot always meet every debt. Willy's next speech leads into the following sequence through a timeswitch. To encourage him she tells him that he is the handsomest man in the world and that he is idolised by his children. She is fond of him and shares his slightly vulgar sense of humour.
She is 'quite proper looking' and of Willy's age. Exposition of time and place is developed in greater detail by reference to the Chevrolet car and the way in which the boys were expected to polish it until it shone. She is not even given a name. Although he is scornful of the hard-working and intelligent Bernard and teaches his sons to take the same attitude.
The sequence is inserted in the play at this particular moment to give the. Act I Sequence 4 Time: Past night Location: Boston hotel bedroom Summary This sequence establishes that Willy is carrying on an affair with the Woman who works for one of his customers in Boston.
The important Regents examination is getting uncomfortably near.. Act I Sequence 5 Time: Brooklyn kitchen Summary The return to Brooklyn is brought about by the Woman disappearing into darkness as Willy remembers his guilt and covers it by going into a rage over Linda mending stockings. Linda is worried about Biff's future but Willy defends him 'You want him to be a worm like Bernard?
He's got spirit. He always gives the Woman stockings as a present. He remains offstage throughout the play. I picked you. The Woman's laughter blends with Linda's. Mr Birnbaum. It has its maximum dramatic effect because Willy guiltily remembers his mistress at the very moment in which he feels affection towards his wife. Willy's memory has only lasted long enough for Linda to finish her sentence and to start mending her stockings.
Biff is causing Willy mounting anxiety by neglecting to study for an approaching examination which he must pass if he is to graduate. There is an ironic echo in the transition to Sequence 5.
He is getting out of hand generally. Commentary On the return to Brooklyn after the timeswitch it appears that there has been no break in the continuity but the speeches given to Bernard and Linda suggest that time is passing.
Finishing his sentence for him she says. There is also an ambivalent phrase in the dialogue. Willy is beginning to feel worried about him. You didn't make me. Willy tells Linda. Act I Sequence 6 Time: Brooklyn kitchen Summary Willy tells Happy he regrets that he did not go to Alaska with his brother Ben who subsequently made a fortune in diamonds. The sequence is very short and the dialogue moves quickly and becomes less realistic.
He brings a note of normality with him and compliments Willy on the skill he has shown in putting up a new ceiling in the house. Willy shouts. The audience learn that Willy has practical skills but does not seem to be willing to talk about them.
Happy offers to support Willy in retirement but Willy points out that he might be reluctant to sacrifice his own expensive lifestyle. He tries to live in both worlds at once as he plays cards with Charley while carrying on a conversation with the ghost of his elder brother Ben. They are joined by Charley who signals Happy to leave them alone. The action returns to the present as Linda and Bernard go off.
The adult Happy comes downstairs in his pyjamas to persuade Willy to return to bed. Act I Sequence 7 Time: Brooklyn kitchen Summary For the first time in the play. The slight tendency towards melo- drama in this scene is offset by the comedy of Charley's growing bewilderment and irritation. Commentary This sequence is short but the general tempo is reduced by the entrance of the slow-speaking.
The lights change and the leaves fade away. At one point the Woman's laughter is heard when both Linda and Bernard are pressing Willy to do something about Biff. He has been disturbed by Willy's return and has come round to offer help if needed. The watchman chases the boys away much to Willy's amusement. Left alone with Ben at the end of the sequence.
Ben is an important character. She disapproves of him. The next sequence begins when Willy walks through this line into the past to meet Ben on the day that he paid his visit to Brooklyn. Ben's answer is typical. Both Ben and Willy are descendants of a remarkable man who combined many talents. Willy sends the boys to steal building equipment from the adjacent site where the apartment blocks are being erected.
On the exit of Ben a light change leads into the last sequence of Act 1. The exposition is now almost complete in that all the principal characters are clearly outlined and the unusual narration technique the timeswitch has been established. Ben is the last major character to be presented to the audience and he brings a strange atmosphere with him whenever he appears. That has to wait until the second act.
Having appeared. They have developed differently. Linda is both suspicious and frightened of Ben. Act I Sequence 8 Time: Brooklyn garden and house Summary Willy proudly introduces his elder brother to his wife and family. He and Ben exchange memories of their father. I was seventeen. I was rich! The stage direction at the beginning of this sequence suggests that Willy 'conjures up' Ben simply by speaking to him.
Ben simply laughs and says that he is teaching Biff 'never to fight fair with a stranger'. When I walked out I was twenty-one. Willy asks his advice on the upbringing of Biff and Happy.
She reveals to them that Willy is now exhausted and unable to find new business for the firm. Biff is shocked at this and tells Linda that. Linda then tells them that Willy has been trying to kill himself and is still likely to do so. Brooklyn garden and house Summary Linda comes downstairs to the kitchen in her dressing-gown.
Apart from the revelations made by Linda and the elaboration of the idea to be sold to Bill Oliver. The first act ends quietly with Linda humming a lullaby to Willy as he tries to go to sleep. This is not for a ranch. She tries to persuade him to return to bed.
She looks for Willy and finds him in the garden. Linda is joined first by Biff and then by Happy and she is very angry with them both for neglecting their father in his time of need. Because he is not getting results his salary has been stopped so that he is now working for commission only. Although Willy has not told her. Sometimes he travels a long way and works hard and still earns nothing at all. That revelation will be kept until later. Commentary This final sequence serves to tie Act 1 together.
When Willy returns there is immediate friction between him and Biff which lasts until he is told of the boys' plan to go to New York to ask for financial backing for Bill Oliver. Biff say that Willy is a fake but refuses to tell her why he thinks so. There is one moment when the truth about Willy's relationship with the Woman seems about to slip out. In spite of being in his slippers he insists on going for a walk.
This ideas pleases and excites Willy. Even at this moment of hope. Act II Sequence 1 Time: Present day Location: Brooklyn kitchen Summary Willy and Linda are at breakfast. She tells him that Willy has just left home in high spirits and she asks Biff to be kind to his father when they meet. The atmosphere is brisk and hopeful. The lights cross-fade from the kitchen to left forestage which becomes Howard's office. He begins to think of planning and building two guest houses for them to stay in when they visit.
During this speech Howard Wagner enters wheeling the table with the recorder on it. As Willy is going. Commentary For all the rapid tempo and superficial hopefulness of this sequence.
Willy assures Linda that everything will be all right and gazes up at the moon between the apartment blocks as the lights fade for the end of the first act. He tells Linda that he is at Bill Oliver's office but has not yet been able to see him. The first sequence is linked to the next through a telephone call which is from Biff in New York. Willy even begins to plan for a future in which both the sons will have married and moved away.
Linda tells him that the boys have invited him to join them for a meal at a restaurant in New York that evening. The language is realistic with constant reference to domestic details. Willy and Linda both appear to be confident that Biff will be able to persuade Bill Oliver to back his project and that Willy himself will succeed in getting his job in New York with the Wagner company.
Willy is reminded of his unfaithfulness when Linda kisses him goodbye. There is the reference to the life insurance and the final payment on the mortgage. Biff accepts responsibility for his father by removing the rubber tube which Willy has fitted as a suicide device to the gas heater. When Willy points out that he has been working for the Wagner company since before Howard was born. Frank never speaks to Willy and never completely materialises. Howard remains unimpressed and Willy becomes desperate and begins to shout at him so that Howard decides to leave him alone for a while so that he can recover himself.
Willy's very brief speech to Frank Wagner can scarcely be classified as a timeswitch.
When Willy finally gets his attention. From now on. Howard replies that while he appreciates Willy's long service there is simply no place for him. Commentary The plot is beginning to unfold and the pace increases. The obvious reason for this is that it would be pointless to employ an actor for so short an appearance!
Howard is deeply absorbed in listening to the voices of his family from his tape recorder so that he does not notice Willy's arrival.
The long-heralded interview between Willy and his boss might have been expected to be very dramatic. He leans over to speak to him and inadvertently switches on the recorder and does not know how to stop it.
Willy imagines that he can see Frank Wagner. Howard appears to be a well-meaning. The high point of the scene is Willy's long speech about Dave Singleman. Willy panics and calls for Howard who. Willy then tells Howard how he refused a chance to go to Alaska at the time of the gold rush. Ben immediately offers him the job of managing his new property in Alaska.
Linda has always believed what he told her. Willy and his sons. It has become obvious in the previous sequence that Willy consist- ently exaggerated his success with the Wagner company.
Ben becomes impatient and is about to depart. Willy fiercely resents his belittlement of the occasion and challenges him to a fist fight. He even pretends not to know the difference between baseball and football.
Commentary The timeswitch is established very simply by Howard's exit and reinforced by the use of Ben's music. When Ben challenges Willy to explain exactly what he thinks he is building with the Wagner company.
He tells Willy that he is just looking in on his way back from Alaska. Brooklyn garden and house Summary Howard goes off. Willy stands still. Ben himself appears and takes up the same position that he held on his first entrance.
He recalls his crucial and. The action of the sequence is made up from the contrasting memories that fill Willy's mind on his way to Charley's office on the afternoon of the last day of his life. He hears Ben's music approaching. The audience are now given a different view of the circumstances surrounding that decision.
Willy confesses that he is very unhappy about the future. She tells Ben that Willy is doing so well in New England for the Wagner company that Wagner senior has offered to make him a member of the firm.
Willy has no answer until Linda reminds him of his own story about Dave Singleman. Willy is ready to accept this but Linda immediately opposes the idea. Happy immediately turns his charm on her and persuades her not only to join them but to call.
Throughout the entire interview Willy is offensive. While he is doing so. Willy becomes angry and refuses to discuss the matter further. Happy is enjoying the task of ordering a meal for his father and brother. He arrives at Charley's office in an aggressive mood which will persist when he comes out of timeswitch into the present. Act II Sequence 5 Time: Present evening Location: New York restaurant Summary The sequences are linked by a sudden blackout and raucous music.
Willy asks Charley for another loan. Act II Sequence 4 Time: New York Charley's office Summary Bernard is waiting to see his father before going to Washington where. Commentary The dream of success has been followed by the realisation of failure. After Bernard has gone. Charley offers Willy a regular job which he refuses. He asks Willy to tell him how it was that Biff never went to university.
Miss Forsythe. Willy knows that now that he has no job. Behind all this. This memory turns sour as he remembers how Charley made unfeeling jokes on what to him was an occasion of solemn splendour. Once more. The fact that Bernard is a family man is hurtful to Willy in the light of his dreams for his sons at the beginning of the act. He knows that Biff went to Boston to see Willy and he wonders what happened there.
Biff tells Happy that he waited for six hours to see Bill Oliver who. A simple adjustment of light is enough to bring the action out of the timeswitch. Willy comes in. Willy takes charge of the conversation. He cannot understand why he committed this pointless theft and he wants Happy to help him to explain the affair to Willy.
He does not realise that Willy. While Miss Forsythe is out making the phone call. Willy announces that he has been fired by Howard and is relying on Biff to give him some good news to tell Linda. He tells her that Biff has failed his final mathematics examination and that Mr Birnbaum is refusing to graduate him. Happy thinks that this will be difficult and suggests that they concoct a story for Willy which will please him for the time being.
Biff tells Happy he has realised that he has been deceiving himself into believing that he was a salesman for Oliver. Linda is very sorry for Biff but hopes that Willy will return and talk to Mr Birnbaum. Biff has been trying to explain exactly what happened in Bill Oliver's office. Biff turns to Happy and exclaims.
Commentary This short. Before Biff can prepare Willy to hear the truth. This places Biff at a disadvantage because Happy is quite prepared to invent good news for Willy's benefit to keep the peace for the time being.
Biff is forced to consent to a lie. He also tells her that Biff has gone to Boston to find Willy to see if he can help him. Worse than that. While they are discussing this. Act II Sequence 6 Time: Brooklyn exterior of house Summary The young Bernard rushes in knocking at the door and calling urgently for Linda. It reminds him of the fateful night when the young Biff came to him in Boston having failed maths. There is a single jarring trumpet note and the house behind them lights up with the green leaves establishing the past.
There follows a brief but fierce argument between Biff and Happy. Willy agrees to return with Biff immediately but the Woman emerges from the bathroom. The audience are by now willing to accept the use of the timeswitch in a variety of ways.
This is in fact addressed to the Woman in Boston. Biff goes out in a rage but Happy is unconcerned. Now completely confused as to his whereabouts. Happy manages to separate the two men just as Miss Forsythe returns with her friend. Willy tries to make Biff accept a rather thin cover story but Biff is angry and hurt. Failing to understand what it is that Biff is trying to tell him. New York restaurant Summary Willy's mind continues to fluctuate between past and present.
It has been very carefully prepared for. Even as he accuses Biff. For the first time in his life he calls his father a 'phoney little. He almost persuades him to join them in a drink. He calmly and cheerfully takes the girls out to catch up with Biff with the intention of spending the rest of the evening together. Willy comes to the conclusion that Biff is trying to spite him. Biff controls himself and introduces Willy.
Act II Sequence 8 Time: Boston hotel bedroom Summary Willy and the Woman are together in the hotel bedroom when they are disturbed by the young Biff. One of the girls asks about Willy. Willy strikes Biff. It is a prelude to the revelation which will occur in the following sequence. Almost simultaneously he hears his telephone ring in Boston and the page calling his name as the young Biff tries to find him. He's just a guy. Willy sends the Woman into the bathroom and admits Biff.
All these serve to heighten the tension and to increase the feeling of approaching disaster. In the social drama of Ibsen the fact of Willy's relationship with the Woman would have been treated as a 'family secret' and its revelation might well have been the climax of the play. In this play the true climax comes later when Willy finally decides to die for Biff's sake.
Willy shouts to Biff 'I gave you an order' but he finds himself back in the restaurant shouting at Stanley the waiter. Stanley assisted by another waiter. Willy asks him where he can download seeds. At this point. Act II Sequence 9 Time: New York restaurant Summary Stanley. The revelation itself when it comes is scarcely surprising.
Mr Loman! Commentary This very short sequence maintains the emotional tension very well because of the unsolicited kindness of the young waiter and Willy's blind instinctive urge to plant seeds for the future. Willy's phone bell ringing in Boston and the voice of the Woman.
Stanley tells him and Willy goes out. The light fades on the empty stage and there is a long pause with the sound of the flute. Biff goes out rapidly although Willy tries to order him to come back. Strangely enough. In the nineteenth century such a confrontation between a guilty father and his son would have been made into a moment of high drama. These serve to heighten the real pathos and the extra shock for Biff when he discovers that the Woman has been given the stockings that he thinks should be Linda's.
The audience are prepared for the revelation of Willy's guilty secret by a series of warning sounds. She calls their attention to Willy who is in the garden by himself planting his seeds. When Ben says that Biff will still call Willy a coward and continue to hate him in spite of all this. Ben expresses doubts. He also says that suicide is considered to be the act of a coward. They have brought a present of flowers for their mother. He points out that the company may repudiate the policy.
Above all Willy wants Biff to stop hating and despising him. He is preoccupied with thoughts of suicide. For the last time in his life. These have been in his mind for a long time but he is still uncertain as to whether it will work out in the way he hopes.
Linda is blazing with anger. It is tangible and powerful 'like a diamond'. Willy becomes desperate and expresses. Act II Sequence 11 Time: Brooklyn garden Summary Willy comes into view. After an almost comic beginning when the boys enter almost stealthily with their ridiculous bunch of flowers. Commentary This sequence is short but very powerful. From their point of view.
Act II Sequence 10 Time: Brooklyn house and garden Summary Biff and Happy return home still slightly under the influence of drink and the excitement of the evening out but also feeling increasingly guilty. He is quite unaware that his behaviour might seem strange to his family. He believes that his funeral will be very impressive. In the previous sequence there has been the powerful confrontation between Linda and her sons.
Willy realises at last that Biff loves him. Willy refuses to accept any blame. Ben asks for time to think about the proposition and retires into the darkness. The solution is to use the character of Ben. Biff produces the hose from the gas heater to prove to Willy that he knows about Willy's intention to kill himself. It also arises from the fact that Willy's seed. This means that the audience can be fully informed about Willy's motives for suicide.
The writer's problem is to find a way for the audience to know what Willy is thinking about as he plants his seeds. Willy is off-stage. It is ironical that Willy's last act before killing himself should be to plant seeds in an overshadowed garden where nothing will grow any more. He also confesses that he is a thief and has been in jail.
Willy persists in saying that Biff is taking this attitude simply out of spite. The sequence is filled with ironies. His anger. Act II Sequence 12 Time: Brooklyn garden Summary Biff makes his last effort to persuade Willy to admit the truth about himself and his family. Ben appears. Commentary This compressed and intense sequence brilliantly solves the technical problem facing the playwright at this point.
Even when Biff tells him that he is leaving Brooklyn for good. Biff is heard approaching. Behind that is the symbolic irony in the fact that most of Willy's working life had been spent in 'spreading seed upon stony ground'. There is even further irony in that the terminology of business negotiation is used to help a man to decide to kill himself. This gives the leading actor a short but useful rest between the complex emotional demands of the restaurant scenes and the intensity of the final sequences.
During this. Willy goes back into the garden again to listen to the voice of Ben, who is leading him towards his death with strange cryptic promises 'The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy. Linda calls fearfully to him, but Willy goes quickly out.
There is the sound of a car starting and moving away at full speed. Commentary This final sequence combines and resolves the various themes within the play, bringing it towards a powerful ending through a double climax. The last bitter confrontation between Willy and Biff is dramatically very effective because it follows a pattern of family crisis that is recognisable to most audiences.
The tension which has been growing between father and son over many years erupts into a fierce quarrel, in spite of Biff's desperate attempt to avoid it. He is prepared to leave the family home for ever but wishes to part friends with Willy. This precipitates the first climax when Biff finds that his enduring love for Willy prevents him from hurting him any more.
Like a surgeon unable to use his knife on a loved one, he breaks down and goes into the house. At this point, a 'happy ending' would still be possible if Willy would only admit his failings and so release the family from his impossible dreams. If he could do this, then he could go into the house and come to a practical understanding with them, and, after cool discussion, he could agree to go on living modestly but in touch with reality for the remainder of his life.
But he is still under the influence of Ben, who is tempting him towards suicide. It is now Linda's turn to take up the struggle to save Willy, but she faces an invisible enemy, deeply hidden 'inside Willy's head'. Even though Willy now realises that Biff loves him, he can only respond to this love by killing himself because he is obsessed with the notion that wealth is essential for greatness. This is the final crowning irony in a play full of irony. The dialogue becomes less realistic as the end approaches and as Willy's mind begins to lose touch with reality for the last time.
His final speech is spoken elegiacally, as a comment on his own death and begins a timeswitch back to the moment of Biff's triumph at the football game.
The rest of the story is told mainly through music and other sounds which lead straight into the Requiem. Summary The sound of Willy's car blends with the music, which changes mood and finally becomes a funeral march, during which Charley and.
He is not able to concentrate on his driving anymore. This causes him to make mistakes such as crossing the dividing line between the lanes on the road and stopping for green traffic lights and going on red lights.
He has to drive to Boston and Portland in order to make his sales pitches. The stress of all this driving on the sixty-three year old man is becoming too much for him to bear. He is starting to have hallucinations about his life, before it began to fall apart. He thinks of his boys, Biff and Happy, as teenage boys.
He is proud of Biff's achievements in sports and his popularity in high school. He is not as proud of Happy, but he is still proud of him. He has such high hopes for his sons, especially Biff. Biff is recruited by three colleges to play sports for them, but Biff's grades are so poor he is in danger of not graduating. Happy spends his time trying to garner some attention from his father, by telling him he has lost weight. All Willy does is to tell Happy other ways in which he can lose even more weight.
Willy, while he is living in the past, talks out loud to himself. He disturbs his neighbor Charley, who comes over to play cards with Willy. While they are playing cards, Willy again goes into his own world and he sees his brother Ben, who has passed away. He is begging Ben to find the time to talk with him, to tell him about their father, who left when Willy was about three years old.
He is playing cards with Charley and talking to Ben at the same time. Eventually, Willy and Charley argue about the card game, causing Charley to leave. Willy continues to talk to Ben and even has his teenage sons in his hallucination. He needs Ben to tell him he is proud of him and impressed by Biff and Happy. He also wants Ben to tell him how he made his fortune in Africa.
All Ben will tell him, is he walked into the jungle in Africa, at age seventeen and walked out rich, at twenty-one. He made his money working in the diamond mines in Africa.
Ben leaves, even though Willy begs him to stay with him for a while.