Arthur Asher Miller foi um dramaturgo norte-americano. Ele escreveu diversas peças teatrais e ficou conhecido por ser o autor de “Death of a Salesman” (Morte de um Caixeiro Viajante) e de “The Crucible”, além do fato de ter sido casado com a atriz Marilyn Monroe em 1956. Nasceu em outubro de 1915 e faleceu em fevereiro de 2005, aos 90 anos. Em suas obras, retratou críticas contundentes à sociedade de seu país e também se destacou por protestar contra a falta de liberdade de expressão e a perseguição a comunistas no período do macarthismo.
Para comemorarmos o mês deste grande escritor selecionamos uma análise da obra “Death of a Salesman” e também um exemplar de sua obra para os amantes de peças teatrais!
AS DUAS FACES DE WILLY LOMAN
Por: Kamila do Nascimento Lopes
Escrito por Arthur Miller, para retratar as mudanças da sociedade americana em meados dos anos 30 e 40, “Death of a Salesman”, representa em suas páginas a decadência do sonho americano.
“The American economy in the late 1940s was dominated not by the Howards of the world, but by large corporations whose charismatic founders, the ‘robber barons’, were long dead. Instead of clear-cut enemies, then, there were vast, confusing hierarchies, and, to his credit, Miller was one of the first writers to comprehend this change. For late capitalism is depicted in his play as having become impersonal and bureaucratic; instead of class struggle, there is simple anomie.” (CARDULLO, 2011)
Willy Loman, o personagem principal da peça de teatro, é um velho caixeiro viajante, que já não consegue mais aceitar seu status atual, e está sempre em busca de melhorias financeiras que hoje já não consegue mais “suportar”. Sua fuga da realidade se encontra em seus momentos de lapsos e em suas tentativas de suicídio sem sucesso. Seus valores e visão correspondem ao famoso “American Dream”. O “American Dream” é “the belief that through the pioneer virtues of hard work, perseverance, ingenuity, and fortitude, one might find happiness through wealth” (Death of a Salesman apud Sibbit, 2006).
Inserido nesta sociedade citada por Cardullo, que já não o “aceita” como antigamente, Loman, é incapaz de se convencer de sua decadência, para ele sua escolha deveria ter sido a melhor, obter seu sucesso profissional como vendedor deveria ser certo. Sem conseguir atingir seus próprios sonhos, grande parte de suas expectativas são depositadas em seu filho Biff, que não corresponde ao sonho do pai. Existe na peça de teatro uma grande exposição com a relação à Biff, percebe-se grande desigualdade no tratamento entre seus filhos Biff e Happy, porém algo é certo:
“His career as a salesman did give him and his family the normal success people would want. Willy wanted more, and since he saw he didn’t accomplish it, he taught his kids into his way of seeing life, hoping they would have followed his path and accomplish the dream he had for himself.” (SIBBIT, 2006)
Na tentativa de transmitir seus valores aos seus filhos, Loman se vê neles. Cria-se um espelho, Biff e Happy são as duas facetas existentes em Willy Loman, cada qual representando a sua parte. Os valores que eram corretos para Willy foi de forma eficiente transpassada a seus filhos, uma visão de que apenas o dinheiro trazia a felicidade. Contudo, na própria narrativa temos a comprovação de que nada disso era verdade, uma vez que Happy tinha todo o dinheiro que precisava para manter seus caprichos e ainda assim não era feliz.
Ao analisarmos separadamente cada um desses personagens, Biff e Happy, encontraremos um grande vácuo entre ambos, ao mesmo tempo em que são completamente diferentes, eles se encontram, se unem, e formam um: Willy Loman.
A similaridade existente entre os três já fica transparente quando damos um olhar mais geral para eles. Willy, sendo uma pessoa que podemos julgar que conseguiu tudo o que queria, mas que é infeliz, tem seus momentos de fuga da realidade, quando fala com Ben, ou fala consigo mesmo. Biff tem essa mesma característica, porém é muito mais exaltada do que a de seu pai, sua vida inteira é uma fuga da realidade, a partir do momento em que este resolve largar tudo para traz e se dedicar ao trabalho no campo. E Happy que como seu irmão e seu pai, também não consegue viver completamente no real, busca “fugir” em seus encontros com as diversas mulheres que têm.
A dúvida de Loman com relação à educação de seus filhos se faz clara quando ele pergunta a seu irmão Ben: I’m afraid that I’m not teaching them the right kind of — Ben, how should I teach them? (Death of a Salesman, 1949). Porém talvez essa dúvida seja apenas o questionamento correto que Loman deveria estar se fazendo. Ensinar seus filhos seus valores não era o correto e acredito que com o citado acima, Loman sabia no fundo o que era certo, porém esse seu conceito de sonho americano já estava tão impregnado nele que as coisas já não faziam mais sentido e nem diferença.
“Part of this tragedy is that what he has taught them does not look to him like what he wanted them to have learned. Miller drops suggestions into the first part of the play that while Biff is a charismatic young man, he has also the makings of an amoral punk”. (FIELD, 21)
Seu ensinamento foi parte aprendido, parte ignorado e neste caso conseguimos nomear respectivamente, Happy e Biff. Happy sempre mostrou grande interesse em seguir os ensinamentos de seu pai se submetendo a um trabalho que não o fazia feliz, no entanto ele se afasta de sua família e decide morar sozinho, pois ainda assim não consegue conviver com a grande adoração que Loman tinha por Biff, mesmo sendo Happy quem seguiu suas palavras. Há vários trechos na peça em que Happy tenta insatisfatoriamente chamar a atenção de seu pai para a sua magreza, entretanto nada do que ele faça irá um dia se comparar com o menor feito de Biff. Porém é Biff que passa o enredo inteiro tentando fazer com que seu pai aprenda os valores corretos, e não apenas seu pai, mas toda a sua família, e mesmo assim é sempre o mais julgado pela sua mãe, para não dizer culpado por causar a loucura de seu pai.
Ao fazer o contrário das expectativas de seu pai, Biff representa a liberdade. Ele não se importa com o que a vida irá trazer, na verdade, Biff é totalmente desapegado financeiramente, uma vez que prefere o trabalho na fazenda (não tão lucrativo) do que seguir o caminho de seu pai como vendedor. Característica essa que vemos presente em Willy no momento em que ele se dá conta de que nada mais vale a pena, e como não consegue ganhar seu próprio dinheiro, começa a pedir emprestado a Charlie, mesmo sabendo que nunca irá pagar, contudo, tal característica se faz mais clara, quando o próprio Willy pega o dinheiro e o dá para o garçom: “WILLY: Here — here’s a dollar. / WILLY: Here — here’s some more, I don’t need it any more.” (Death of a Salesman, 88/89, Grifos meus). A diferença entre eles está no momento da decepção (destruição do sonho), ou seja, Biff possui todo esse desapego material, pois quando criança percebeu através dos atos de seu pai que a vida não se resumia simplesmente a dinheiro, e Willy só idealiza isso em seu momento de abandono (cena do jantar no bar), pois nada do que ele faça vai trazer de volta o respeito de seu filho, ambos causam a decepção do outro.
Ainda com relação à Biff, ele é tão parecido com seu pai que ambos não conseguem conversar um com o outro, são personagens “egoístas e arrogantes”, nomeio-os assim, pois eles só pensam em si mesmos, Biff, quando decide deixar tudo e viver a vida na fazenda e Willy quando decide cometer suicídio, ambos não possuem a capacidade de pensar nas outras pessoas. No entanto, Biff tem uma personalidade um pouco mais nobre do que a dos outros dois, pois no fundo ele tenta ser correto, seguir a sua vida e não se importar com o dinheiro, mas ele não consegue, pois se deixa influenciar pela ideia de sua mãe, de no mínimo não causar maior sofrimento ao seu pai.
Happy também se encaixa aqui, pois tem a sua vida boemia sem ao menos se preocupar com alguém, ele se diz sempre preocupado com o pai, mas quando têm a oportunidade de passar um tempo juntos, larga tudo para ir paquerar mulheres. Percebe-se que na peça a ponte entre os três é Linda, a única que consegue realmente expressar seus sentimentos. Há poucas conversas relevantes entre pai e filhos, sendo a maioria delas discussões.
Happy, que como seu pai em sua idade, conquistou uma carreira e consegue dela tirar seu sustento, se depara numa mesma situação em que Biff: ambos são totalmente perdidos, não sabem o que querem e muito menos são felizes.
BIFF: I tell ya, Hap, I don’t know what the future is. I don’t know — what I’m supposed to want. [...]
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!
BIFF: Why? You’re making money, aren’t you?
HAPPY: Sometimes I sit in my apartment — 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, goddammit, I’m lonely. (Death of a Salesman, 12/13, Grifos meus)
Nem um dos dois sabe o que quer. A palavra “Maybe” utilizada por Arthur Miller neste trecho, apenas reforça todo esse sentimento de dúvida, e toda a convicção da resposta de Happy quando diz: “Hell, no!” comprova o que foi dito acima.
“Willy’s crime is that he has tried to mould his sons in his own image, that he has turned them into wind-bags and cry-babies. They are impotent in a larger sense. Happy complains of the meaninglessness of his life. The boys are impotent morally and socially. Willy himself has no basis for making moral choices. It is not so much that he chooses or has chosen evil, but that he has no idea how to choose at all. Everyone, himself included, is constantly contradicting him. He lives in a morally incoherent universe, an incoherence that is the most striking element of the play which describes his torments. And because he is morally incapacitated, he is socially incapacitated. Everything is against him. The city is killing him. The competition is killing him. He cannot get along with the son he loves most. The very seeds he plants no longer grow. Nothing he does has any consequences. He simply cannot make anything happen.” (FIELD, 23)
Neste caso, os três não só se encaixam perfeitamente à palavra “impotência” citada por Field, como é a característica principal deles encontrada em toda a peça teatral. Happy, Biff e Willy são impotentes no sentido de não terem noção do que ser/fazer. Novamente ressalto: ambos não sabem o que querem, não sabem escolher e não tem opinião própria, os três precisam estar pedindo constante aprovação dos outros personagens da peça, como Ben, Linda e Charlie. Vemos, claramente, que Biff e Happy não são felizes, mesmo sendo contrapontos um do outro, Happy vivenciando a vida que seu pai julgava perfeita, com um bom trabalho e ganhando seu dinheiro e Biff sendo o oposto de que seu pai queria, vivendo na fazendo e ganhando uma ninharia com isso. Comprova-se assim, que neste caso não é o sucesso/dinheiro ou não que traz a felicidade, pelo contrário, é a vida vazia deles, sem família, cheia de mulheres insignificantes, que rege tudo isso, é essa concepção errada implantada por seu pai, que guia suas vidas e os cega perante as outras coisas. Willy que mesmo tendo conquistado tudo que poderia querer – uma família – ainda assim, se sente vazio e infeliz, agora por ser tão “inútil” perante a sociedade e antigamente por viver uma vida sem vínculos, a de um caixeiro viajante. Todos eles buscam sempre o sonho errado.
“One may, in describing a person like Willy who has no “character,” And neither have his sons. Willy’s efforts to mould these boys in his own image have not been a failure but a success. They are just like him. They offer two aspects of the same personality, Happy taking more after his mother, perhaps, but both sharing the same defect with their father. They cannot make anything happen. They are morally and socially castrated. To the other causes of Willy’s catastrophe, then, to Willy’s weakness, his incompetence to deal with a society too cruel to pay him the attention that he cannot wrest from it with his own strength, to his isolation from nature, to his incapacity to explain his own situation to himself, to his feelings of a loss of identity, of spiritual dryness, of lack of love, to his erroneous worship at the altar of personality, I suggest we may add to all these his crime: he has made moral eunuchs of his own sons.” (FIELD, 24, Grifos meus)
Outro fator relevante para destacarmos é a vida e profissão de Happy. Assim como já dito, este tem a mesma profissão de seu pai, apesar de ser assim digamos, mais “centrado” que seu irmão Biff, pois possui uma profissão da qual consegue se sustentar, Happy demonstra em si, no começo da peça certa inquietude a respeito de seus próprios valores, o que é extinto no final da peça quando ele diz:
HAPPY: All right, boy. I’m gonna show you and everybody 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. (Death of a Salesman, 104)
Happy está mais equivocado do que nunca sobre seus valores e os valores de seu pai, que em seu fim, já havia compreendido seus erros, ou pelo menos mostrou compreender. (LAWRENCE, 547)
Segundo Murphy and Abbotson, Loman conseguiu de forma eficiente ensinar seus filhos todos os seus valores, transmitindo toda sua concepção confusa de “American Dream”, causando um sério problema, pois ele mesmo, nunca entendeu sua verdadeira concepção.
A linguagem utilizada pelos três personagens, também é bastante similar. A utilização de “palavrões” como: “goddam, hell, goddammit, petty sons-of-bitches” e de interjeições como: “heh, y’know, gee”, são marcas de diálogos que ambos usam frequentemente, mostrando a influencia que Willy teve na educação de seus filhos, que apesar de não morarem juntos, falam do mesmo modo, pensam relativamente da mesma forma e são um reflexo de Willy.
Existe durante a peça, uma verdadeira transformação de personagens, uma mudança muito grande em Biff, Happy e Loman, e todas são do mesmo gênero, mudanças de valores. Biff que no começo aparentemente se encontra perdido, sem saber o que ser, termina no fim, sabendo o que é e com um ponto de vista único, que mostra saber o que não se deve fazer e com coragem para finalmente seguir seus próprios valores. Happy que se mostrava crítico com suas escolhas, apesar de grande parte ainda ser influenciado pelo pai, decide seguir o famoso sonho americano de Loman, ser um grande vendedor, vai trilhar os caminhos do pai. E Loman, uma mistura dosada de Happy e Biff, parece viver no sonho e na realidade, porém perdido, em um tempo que não consegue se identificar, e se acaba em seu lapso.
Em sua essência, Willy, é formado pela liberdade de Biff e insanidade de Happy, dois em um, formando um ser, perdido, com dúvidas, que precisa de coragem para conseguir aceitar seu fim, mas que luta por valores, ainda que errados. É barrado pela sociedade e não consegue se desligar dos bens materiais e financeiros, precisa ser melhor que outros e mostrar a todos o quanto ele é bom. Willy é um sonhador.
CARDULLO, Bert. “Attention, Attention Must Finally Be Unpaid: Death of a Salesman and the Reputation of Arthur Miller”. Pág. 329
Disponível em: <http://camqtly.oxfordjournals.org>
CARDULLO, Robert James. “Selling in America Drama, 1946-49: Miller’s Death of a Salesman, O’Neill’s The Iceman Cometh, and Williams’s A street-car named desire ” Ege University, Izmir, Turkey,
Disponível em: Portal Capes
FIELD, B. S. “Hamartia in Death of a Salesman”. Twentieth Century Literature, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Jan., 1972), pp. 19-24
Disponível em: < http://www.jstor.org/stable/440691>
JACOBSON, Irving. “Family Dreams in Death of a Salesman” State University of New York, Syracuse.
Disponível em: Portal Capes
LAWRENCE, Stephen A. “The Right Dream in Miller’s Death of a Salesman” College English, Vol. 25, No. 7 (Apr., 1964), pp. 547-549
Disponível em: <http://www.jstor.org/stable/373244>
MACEACHEN, Dougald B. “Analyzing a Play”. College English, Vol. 25, No. 7 (Apr., 1964), pp. 549-550
Disponível em: <http://www.jstor.org/stable/373245>
MILLER, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman” Editora: Penguim Classics. 1998.
PHELPS, H.C. “Miller’s ‘Death of a Salesman.” The Explicator. 53.4 (Summer 1995): p239.
Disponível em: Portal Capes
SIBBIT, Professor. “Willie Loman and his Mistaken View of the American Dream” Disponível em: Portal Capes
“Biografia de Arthur Miller”
Disponível em: <http://www.e-biografias.net/arthur_miller/>
Death of a Salesman
Ar thur Mi l l e r
Arthur Miller has emerged as one of the most successful and
enduring playwrights of the postwar era in America, no doubt
because his focusing on middle-class anxieties brought on by a
society that emphasizes the hollow values of material success has
struck such a responsive chord. The recurring theme of anxiety
and insecurity reflects much of Arthur Miller’s own past. Born the
son of a well-to-do Jewish manufacturer in New York City in 1915,
Miller had to experience the social disintegration of his family
when his father’s business failed during the Great Depression of
the 1930s. By taking on such odd jobs as waiter, truck driver, and
factory worker, Miller was able to complete his studies at the University
of Michigan in 1938. These formative years gave Miller the
chance to come in close contact with those who suffered the most
from the Depression and instilled in him a strong sense of personal
achievement necessary to rise above the situation. He began
writing plays in the 1930s, but it wasn’t until Death of a Salesman
was performed in 1949 that Miller established himself as a major
Winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1949, Death of a Salesman has to
this day remained a classic. The play’s intellectual appeal lies in
Miller’s refusal to portray his characters as two-dimensional — his
refusal to involve himself in a one-sided polemic attack on capitalism.
Even critics cannot agree as to whether Death of a Salesman
is to be categorized as social criticism, a tragedy, or simply a psychological
study. Of necessity, each person will have to draw his or
her own individual conclusions.
The fact that performances of Death of a Salesman have met
with acclaim throughout the world testifies to its universality: the
play’s conflicts and themes appear not to be uniquely American.
The action takes place in Willy Loman’s house and yard and in
various places he visits in the New York and Boston of today.
New York premiere February 10, 1949.
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 dings 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 onto
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. (This bedroom is
above the unseen living room.) At the left a stairway curves up to it
from the kitchen.
The entire setting is wholly or, in some places, partially transparent.
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 onto the forestage.
From the right, Willy Loman, the Salesman, enters, carrying
two large sample cases. The flute plays on. He hears but is not
aware of it. He is past sixty years of age, dressed quietly. Even as
he crosses the stage to the doorway of the house, his exhaustion is
apparent. He unlocks the door, comes into the kitchen, and thankfully
lets his burden down, feeling the soreness of his palms. A
word-sigh escapes his lips — it might be »Oh, boy, oh, boy.« He
closes the door, then carries his cases out into the living room,
through the draped kitchen doorway.
Linda, his wife, has stirred in her bed at the right. She gets out
and puts on a robe, listening. Most often jovial, she has developed
an iron repression of her exceptions to Willy’s behavior — she more
than loves him, she admires him, as though his mercurial nature,
his temper, his massive dreams and little cruelties, served her only
as sharp reminders of the turbulent longings within him, longings
which she shares but lacks the temperament to utter and follow to
LINDA (hearing Willy outside the bedroom, calls with some
WILLY: It’s all right. I came back.
LINDA: Why? What happened? (Slight pause.) Did something
WILLY: No, nothing happened.
LINDA: You didn’t smash the car, did you?
WILLY (with casual irritation): 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 (very carefully, delicately): Where were you all day? You
WILLY: I got as far as a little above Yonkers. I stopped for a cup
of coffee. Maybe it was the coffee.
WILLY (after a pause): I suddenly couldn’t drive any more. The
car kept going off onto the shoulder, y’know?
LINDA (helpfully): 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
WILLY: No, I see everything. I came back ten miles an hour. It
took me nearly four hours from Yonkers.
LINDA (resigned): 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 overactive,
and the mind is what counts, dear.
WILLY: I’ll start out in the morning. Maybe I’ll feel better in the
morning. (She is taking off his shoes.) These goddam arch supports
are killing me.
LINDA: Take an aspirin. Should I get you an aspirin? It’ll soothe
WILLY (with wonder): 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 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
travelling 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! (He starts putting on
LINDA (taking the jacket from him): 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 masterful man.
But that boy of his, that Howard, he don’t appreciate. 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 (encouraged): 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 tonight.
WILLY (interested): 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.
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 criticised him, Willy, especially after
he just got off the train. You mustn’t lose your temper with
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 (worried and angered): There’s such an undercurrent in
him. He became a moody man. Did he apologize when I left this
LINDA: He was crestfallen, Willy. You know how he admires 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!
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
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
WILLY (with pity and resolve): 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… (He loses
himself in reminiscences.)
LINDA (trying to bring him out of it): 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 (with a covering laugh): I thought it would be a surprise.
WILLY: Why don’t you open a window in here, for God’s sake?
LINDA (with infinite patience): They’re all open, dear.
WILLY: The way they boxed us in here. Bricks and windows, windows
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
LINDA: Yeah, like being a million miles from the city.
WILLY: They should’ve arrested the builder for cutting those
down. They massacred the neighbourhood. (Lost.) More 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 competition 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 (turning to Linda, guiltily): You’re not worried about me,
are you, sweetheart?
BIFF: What’s the matter?
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. (He starts for the bedroom doorway.) 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. (He stops.) Now isn’t that peculiar! Isn’t
that a remarkable… (He breaks off in amazement and fright as
the flute is heard distantly.)
LINDA: What, darling?
WILLY: That is the most remarkable thing.
LINDA: What, dear?
WILLY: I was thinking of the Chevvy. (Slight pause.) Nineteen
twenty-eight … when I had that red Chevvy… (Breaks off.) That
funny? I coulda sworn I was driving that Chevvy today.
LINDA: Well, that’s nothing. Something must’ve reminded 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. (He shakes his head.) Heh! (To
Linda.) Close your eyes, I’ll be right up. (He walks out of the
HAPPY (to Biff): Jesus, maybe he smashed up the car again!
LINDA (calling after Willy): Be careful on the stairs, dear! The
cheese is on the middle shelf. (She turns, goes over to the bed,
takes his jacket, and goes out of the bedroom.)
(Light has risen on the boys’ room. Unseen, Willy is heard talking
to himself, »eighty thousand miles,« and a little laugh. Biff
gets out of bed, comes downstage a bit, and stands attentively. Biff
is two years older than his brother Happy, well built, but in these
days bears a worn air and seems less self-assured. He has succeeded
less, and his dreams are stronger and less acceptable than
Happy’s. Happy is tall, powerfully made. Sexuality is like a visible
color on him, or a scent that many women have discovered. He, like
his brother, is lost, but in a different way, for he has never allowed
himself to turn his face toward defeat and is thus more confused
and hard-skinned, although seemingly more content.)
HAPPY (getting out of bed): He’s going to get his license taken
away if he keeps that up. I’m getting nervous about him,
BIFF: His eyes are going.
HAPPY: 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. (He
BIFF: Maybe he’s color-blind.
HAPPY: Pop? Why he’s got the finest eye for color in the business.
You know that.
BIFF (sitting down on his bed): I’m going to sleep.
HAPPY: You’re not still sour on Dad, are you, Biff?
BIFF: He’s all right, I guess.
WILLY (underneath them, in the living room): Yes, sir, eighty
thousand miles — eighty-two thousand!
BIFF: You smoking?
HAPPY (holding out a pack of cigarettes): Want one?
BIFF: (taking a cigarette): I can never sleep when I smell it.
WILLY: What a simonizing job, heh?
HAPPY (with deep sentiment): Funny, Biff, y’know? Us sleeping in
here again? The old beds. (He pats his bed affectionately.) All
the talk that went across those two beds, huh? Our whole lives.
BIFF: Yeah. Lotta dreams and plans.
HAPPY (with a deep and masculine laugh): About five hundred
women would like to know what was said in this room. (They
share a soft laugh.)
BIFF: Remember that big Betsy something — what the hell was
her name — over on Bushwick Avenue?
HAPPY (combing his hair): 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.
(They laugh, almost crudely.) You taught me everything I know
about women. Don’t forget that.
BIFF: I bet you forgot how bashful you used to be. Especially with
HAPPY: Oh, I still am, Biff.
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? (He shakes Biffs knee. Biff gets up and
moves restlessly about the room.) 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 just 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 existence. To get on
that subway on the hot mornings in summer. 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 twoweek
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 content out
BIFF (with rising agitation): Hap, I’ve had twenty or thirty different
kinds of jobs since I left home before the war, and it always
turns out the same. I just realized it lately. In Nebraska 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. (After a pause.) 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
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!
BIFF: Why? You’re making money, aren’t you?
HAPPY (moving about with energy, expressiveness): 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 finished. 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 apartment — 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, goddammit, I’m lonely.
BIFF (with enthusiasm): Listen, why don’t you come out West
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
HAPPY (avidly): The Loman Brothers, heh?
BIFF (with vast affection): Sure, we’d be known all over the counties!
HAPPY (enthralled): That’s what I dream about, Biff. Sometimes
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-bitches till I
can’t stand it any more.
BIFF: I’m tellin’ you, kid, if you were with me I’d be happy out
HAPPY (enthused): 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.
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 something. 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 resistance! Like
Mom, y’know? You’re gonna call me a bastard when I tell you
this. That girl Charlotte I was with tonight is engaged to be
married in five weeks. (He tries on his new hat.)
BIFF: No kiddin’!
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 weddings! (Indignantly,
but laughing.) 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
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 beautiful 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 apartment. 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 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
WILLY (below): You gonna wash the engine, Biff?
(Biff looks at Happy, who is gazing down, listening. Willy is
mumbling in the parlor.)
HAPPY: You hear that? (They listen. Willy laughs warmly.)
BIFF (growing angry): Doesn’t he know Mom can hear that?
WILLY: Don’t get your sweater dirty, Biff! (A look of pain crosses
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 (reluctantly getting into bed): With her in the house.
HAPPY (getting into bed): I wish you’d have a good talk with him.
(The light of their room begins to fade.)
BIFF (to himself in bed): 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 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
(Light rises on the kitchen. Willy, talking, shuts the refrigerator
door and comes downstage to the kitchen table. He pours milk into
a glass. He is totally immersed in himself, smiling faintly.)
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. (He smiles broadly at a kitchen chair.) That so?
The girls pay for you? (He laughs) Boy, you must really be
makin’ a hit.
(Willy is gradually addressing — physically — a point offstage,
speaking through the wall of the kitchen, and his voice has been
rising in volume to that of a normal conversation.)
WILLY: I been wondering why you polish the car so careful. 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. (He pauses, then nods in approbation for a few seconds,
then looks upward.) 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 (offstage): Whatta ya got, Dad?
WILLY: No, you finish first. Never leave a job till you’re finished
— remember that. (Looking toward the »big trees«.) 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…
(Young Biff and Young Happy appear from the direction Willy
was addressing. Happy carries rags and a pail of water. Biff, wearing
a sweater with a block »S«, carries a football.)
BIFF (pointing in the direction of the car offstage): How’s that,
WILLY: Terrific. Terrific job, boys. Good work, Biff.
HAPPY: Where’s the surprise, Pop?
WILLY: In the back seat of the car.
HAPPY: Boy! (He runs off.)
BIFF: What is it, Dad? Tell me, what’d you buy?
WILLY (laughing, cuffs him): Never mind, something I want you
BIFF (turns and starts off): What is it, Hap?
HAPPY (offstage): It’s a punching bag!
BIFF: Oh, Pop!
WILLY: It’s got Gene Tunney’s signature on it! (Happy runs onstage
with a punching bag.)
BIFF: Gee, how’d you know we wanted a punching bag?
WILLY: Well, it’s the finest thing for the timing.
HAPPY (lies down on his back and pedals with his feet): I’m losing
weight, you notice, Pop?
WILLY (to Happy): Jumping rope is good too.
BIFF: Did you see the new football I got?
WILLY (examining the ball): 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.)
WILLY (laughing with him at the theft): I want you to return that.
HAPPY: I told you he wouldn’t like it!
BIFF (angrily): Well, I’m bringing it back!
WILLY (stopping the incipient argument, to Happy): Sure, he’s
gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he? (To Biff.)
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
BIFF: Where’d you go this time, Dad? Gee we were lonesome for
WILLY (pleased, puts an arm around each boy and they come
down to the apron): 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 Revolution. A fine city. And a couple
of other towns in Mass., and on to Portland and Bangor and
BIFF: Gee, I’d love to go with you sometime, Dad.
WILLY: Soon as summer comes.
WILLY: You and Hap and I, and I’ll show you all the towns.
America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding 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 (together): 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 sensation!
(Biff is prancing around, practicing passing the ball.)
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 everytime the classes
BIFF (taking Willy’s hand): This Saturday, Pop, this Saturday —
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 (kisses Biff): Oh, wait’ll I tell this in Boston!
(Bernard enters in knickers. He is younger than Biff, earnest
and loyal, a worried boy).
BERNARD: Biff, where are you? You’re supposed to study with
WILLY: Hey, looka Bernard. What’re you lookin’ so anemic about,
BERNARD: He’s gotta study, Uncle Willy. He’s got Regents next
HAPPY (tauntingly, spinning Bernard around): Let’s box, Bernard!
BERNARD: Biff! (He gets away from Happy.) 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! (He holds up a foot for
Willy to look at.)
WILLY: Hey, that’s a beautiful job of printing!
BERNARD (wiping his glasses): Just because he printed University
of Virginia on his sneakers doesn’t mean they’ve got to
graduate him. Uncle Willy!
WILLY (angrily): What’re you talking about? With scholarships to
three universities they’re gonna flunk him?
BERNARD: But I heard Mr. Birnbaum say…
WILLY: Don’t be a pest, Bernard! (To his boys.) What an anemic!
BERNARD: Okay, I’m waiting for you in my house, Biff.
(Bernard goes off. The Lomans laugh.)
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 ahead of
him. That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like
Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance 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 (on his back, pedaling again): I’m losing weight, you notice,
(Linda enters as of old, a ribbon in her hair, carrying a basket
LINDA (with youthful energy): Hello, dear!
LINDA: How’d the Chevvy run?
WILLY: Chevrolet, Linda, is the greatest car ever built. (To the
boys.) Since when do you let your mother carry wash up the
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 (laughs appreciatively): 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.
BIFF: George and Sam and Frank, come out back! We’re hangin’
up the wash! Come on, Hap, on the double! (He and Happy
carry out the basket.)
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. (She pulls pencil and
paper out of her apron pocket.) That makes your commission…
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
Well, no — it came to — roughly two hundred gross on the whole
LINDA (without hesitation): Two hundred gross. That’s… (She
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
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.
(They move through the wall-line into the kitchen.)
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
WILLY: I’m not going to pay that man! That goddam Chevrolet,
they ought to prohibit the manufacture oft hat 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 business 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.
(They move onto the forestage.)
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 moves to the edge of the stage. Linda goes into the kitchen
and starts to dam stockings.)
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.
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 (smiling): Well, I figure, what the hell, life is short, a couple
of jokes. (To himself.) I joke too much (The smile goes.)
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.
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. (Slight pause.) The handsomest.
(From the darkness is heard the laughter of a woman. Willy
doesn’t turn to it, but it continues through Linda’s lines.)
LINDA: And the boys, Willy. Few men are idolized by their children
the way you are.
(Music is heard as behind a scrim, to the left of the house; The
Woman, dimly seen, is dressing.)
WILLY (with great feeling): 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
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
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. (He talks through The
Woman’s subsiding laughter; The Woman primps at the »mirror
«.) There’s so much I want to make for…
THE WOMAN: Me? You didn’t make me, Willy. I picked you.
WILLY (pleased): You picked me?
THE WOMAN: (who is quite proper-looking, Willy’s age): 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. (He takes her in his arms.) Why do you have
to go now?
THE WOMAN: It’s two o’clock…
WILLY: No, come on in! (He pulls her.)
THE WOMAN:… my sisters’ll be scandalized. When’ll you be
WILLY: Oh, two weeks about. Will you come up again?
THE WOMAN: Sure thing. You do make me laugh. It’s good for
me. (She squeezes his arm, kisses him.) And I think you’re a
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 (slapping her bottom): Right. Well, bottoms up!
THE WOMAN (slaps him gently and laughs): You just kill me,
Willy. (He suddenly grabs her and kisses her roughly.) You kill
me. And thanks for the stockings. I love a lot of stockings. Well,
WILLY: Good night. And keep your pores open!
THE WOMAN: Oh, Willy!
(The Woman bursts out laughing, and Linda’s laughter blends
in. The Woman disappears into the dark. Now the area at the
kitchen table brightens. Linda is sitting where she was at the
kitchen table, but now is mending a pair of her silk stockings.)
LINDA: You are, Willy. The handsomest man. You’ve got no reason
to feel that…
WILLY (corning 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
WILLY (noticing her mending): What’s that?
LINDA: Just mending my stockings. They’re so expensive…
WILLY (angrily, taking them from her): I won’t have you mending
stockings in this house! Now throw them out! (Linda puts the
stockings in her pocket.)
BERNARD (entering on the run): Where is he? If he doesn’t study!
WILLY (moving to the forestage, with great agitation): 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
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!
BERNARD: He’s driving the car without a license!
(The Woman’s laugh is heard.)
WILLY: Shut up!
LINDA: All the mothers…
WILLY: Shut up!
BERNARD (backing quietly away and out): Mr. Birnbaum says
he’s stuck up. WILLY: Get outa here!
BERNARD: If he doesn’t buckle down he’ll flunk math! (He goes
LINDA: He’s right, Willy, you’ve gotta…
WILLY (exploding at her): There’s nothing the matter with him!
You want him to be a worm like Bernard? He’s got spirit, personality
(As he speaks, Linda, almost in tears, exits into the living
room. Willy is alone in the kitchen, wilting and staring. The
leaves are gone. It is night again, and the apartment houses
look down from behind.)
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 in pajamas has come down the stairs; Willy suddenly
becomes aware of Happy’s presence.)
HAPPY: Let’s go now, come on.
WILLY (sitting down at the kitchen table): 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 tonight?
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…
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 has appeared in the doorway. He is a large man, slow
of speech, laconic, immovable. In all he says, despite what he says,
there is pity, and, now, trepidation. He has a robe over pajamas,
slippers on his feet. He enters the kitchen.)
CHARLEY: Everything all right?
HAPPY: Yeah, Charley, everything’s…
WILLY: What’s the matter?
CHARLEY: I heard some noise. I thought something happened.
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. (Charley signals to Happy
WILLY: You go ahead, I’m not tired at the moment.
HAPPY (to Willy): Take it easy, huh? (He exits.)
WILLY: What’re you doin’ up?
CHARLEY (sitting down at the kitchen table opposite Willy):
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 vitamins and
things like that.
CHARLEY: Come on, let’s shoot. Tire you out a little.
WILLY (hesitantly): All right. You got cards?
CHARLEY (taking a deck from his pocket): Yeah, I got them.
Someplace. What is it with those vitamins?
WILLY (dealing): 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
CHARLEY: Don’t get insulted.
WILLY: Don’t talk about something you don’t know anything
(They are playing. Pause.)
CHARLEY: What’re you doin’ home?
WILLY: A little trouble with the car.
CHARLEY: Oh. (Pause.) 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. (After a slight pause.) 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
WILLY: I got a good job. (Slight pause.) What do you keep comin’
in here for?
CHARLEY: You want me to go?
WILLY (after a pause, withering): 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
WILLY: Then what have I got to remember?
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 ceiling 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
CHARLEY: Don’t call me disgusting, Willy.
(Uncle Ben, carrying a valise and an umbrella, enters the forestage
from around the right corner of the house. He is a stolid man,
in his sixties, with a mustache and an authoritative air. He is utterly
certain of his destiny, and there is an aura of far places about
him. He enters exactly as Willy speaks.)
WILLY: I’m getting awfully tired, Ben.
(Ben’s music is heard. Ben looks around at everything.)
CHARLEY: Good, keep playing; you’ll sleep better. Did you call
(Ben looks at his watch.)
WILLY: That’s funny. For a second there you reminded me of my
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
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 (chuckling): 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 opportunity I
had with that man…
BEN: I must make a tram, 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. Surprised
you’re not up there.
WILLY: Sure, tremendous.
WILLY: There was the only man I ever met who knew the answers.
BEN: How are you all?
WILLY (taking a pot, smiling): Fine, fine.
CHARLEY: Pretty sharp tonight.
BEN: Is Mother living with you?
WILLY: No, she died a long time ago.
BEN: That’s too bad. Fine specimen of a lady, Mother.
WILLY (to Charley): Heh?
BEN: I’d hoped to see the old girl.
CHARLEY: Who died?
BEN: Heard anything from Father, have you?
WILLY (unnerved): What do you mean, who died?
CHARLEY (taking a pot): What’re you talkin’ about?
BEN (looking at his watch): William, it’s half past eight!
WILLY (as though to dispel his confusion he angrily stops Charley’s
hand). 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 (rising): 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
CHARLEY (picks up the cards and goes to the door): All right!
Next time I’ll bring a deck with five aces.
WILLY: I don’t play that kind of game!
CHARLEY (turning to him): You ought to be ashamed of yourself!
CHARLEY: Yeah! (he goes out.)
WILLY (slamming the door after him): Ignoramus!
BEN (as Willy comes toward him through the wall-line of the
kitchen): So you’re William.
WILLY (shaking Ben’s hand): 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 enters the forestage, as of old, carrying the wash basket.)
LINDA: Is this Ben?
BEN (gallantly): How do you do, my dear.
LINDA: Where’ve you been all these years? Willy’s always wondered
WILLY (pulling Ben away from her impatiently): 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
BEN: Three years and eleven months.
WILLY: What a memory, Ben!
BEN: I have many enterprises, William, and I have never kept
WILLY: I remember I was sitting under the wagon in — was it
BEN: It was South Dakota, and I gave you a bunch of wild flowers.
WILLY: I remember you walking away down some open road.
BEN (laughing): 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.
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! (Young Biff and Happy appear.) 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. (He laughs.) And by
God I was rich.
WILLY (to the boys): You see what I been talking about? The
greatest things can happen!
BEN (glancing at his watch): I have an appointment in Ketchikan
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.
WILLY: Sure, the flute, that’s right!
(New music is heard, a high, rollicking tune.)
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? (To Biff.) Hit that, boy — hard as you can. (He
pounds his stomach.)
BIFF: Oh, no, sir!
BEN (taking boxing stance): Come on, get to me! (He laughs)
WILLY: Go to it, Biff! Go ahead, show him!
BIFF: Okay! (He cocks his fists and starts in.)
LINDA (to Willy): Why must he fight, dear?
BEN (sparring with Biff): 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 Biffs eye.)
LINDA: Look out, Biff!
BEN (Patting Biffs knee): Never fight fair with a stranger, boy.
You’ll never get out of the jungle that way. (Taking Linda’s
hand and bowing.) It was an honor and a pleasure to meet you,
LINDA (withdrawing her hand coldly, frightened): Have a nice
BEN (to Willy): And good luck with your — what do you do?
BEN: Yes. Well… (He raises his hand in farewell to all.)
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 building 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 (as he and Biff run off): I lost weight, Pop, you notice?
(Charley enters in knickers, even before the boys are gone.)
CHARLEY: Listen, if they steal any more from that building the
watchman’ll put the cops on them!
LINDA (to Willy): Don’t let Biff…
(Ben laughs lustily.)
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
CHARLEY: Willy, the jails are full of fearless characters.
BEN (clapping Willy on the back, with a laugh at Charley): And
the stock exchange, friend!
WILLY (joining in Ben’s laughter): Where are the rest of your
CHARLEY: My wife bought them.
WILLY: Now all you need is a golf club and you can go upstairs
and go to sleep. (To Ben.) Great athlete! Between him and his
son Bernard they can’t hammer a nail!
BERNARD (rushing in): The watchman’s chasing Biff!
WILLY (angrily): Shut up! He’s not stealing anything!
LINDA (alarmed, hurrying off left): Where is he? Biff, dear! (She
WILLY (moving toward the left, away from Ben): There’s nothing
wrong. What’s the matter with you?
BEN: Nervy boy. Good!
WILLY (laughing): Oh, nerves of iron, that Biff!
CHARLEY: Don’t know what it is. My New England man comes
back and he’s bleeding, they murdered him up there.
WILLY: It’s contacts, Charley, I got important contacts!
CHARLEY (sarcastically): Glad to hear it, Willy. Come in later,
we’ll shoot a little casino. I’ll take some of your Portland
money. (He laughs at Willy and exits.)
WILLY (turning to Ben): Business is bad, it’s murderous. But not
for me, of course.
BEN: I’ll stop by on my way back to Africa.
WILLY (longingly): 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 temporary about myself.
BEN: I’ll be late for my train.
(They are at opposite ends of the stage.)
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,
WILLY (hanging on to his words): 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 (giving great weight to each word, and with a certain vicious
audacity): William, when I walked into the jungle, I was seventeen.
When I walked out I was twenty-one. And, by God, I was
rich! (He goes off into darkness around the right corner of the
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
(Ben is gone, but Willy is still speaking to him as Linda, in
nightgown and robe, enters the kitchen, glances around for Willy,
then goes to the door of the house, looks out and sees him. Comes
down to his left. He looks at her.)
LINDA: Willy, dear? Willy?
WILLY: I was right!
LINDA: Did you have some cheese? (He can’t answer.) It’s very
late, darling. Come to bed, heh?
WILLY (looking straight up): 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 Biffs
radio correspondence course.
WILLY: Gee, that was a beautiful thing. I’ll take a walk.
LINDA: But you’re in your slippers.
WILLY (starting to go around the house at the left): I was right! I
was! (Half to Linda, as he goes, shaking his head.) What a man!
There was a man worth talking to. I was right!
LINDA (calling after Willy): But in your slippers, Willy!
(Willy is almost gone when Biff, in his pajamas, comes down
the stairs and enters the kitchen.)
BIFF: What is he doing out there?
BIFF: God Almighty. Mom, how long has he been doing this?
LINDA: Don’t, he’ll hear you.
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 comes down the stair and sits on the steps.)
HAPPY: I never heard him so loud, Mom.
LINDA: Well, come around more often; you’ll hear him. (She sits
down at the table and mends the lining of Willy’s jacket.)
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 (evasively): 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
LINDA: Are you home to stay now?
BIFF: I don’t know. I want to look around, see what’s doin’.
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… (He touches her 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. (He
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 (lamely): 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.
(With a threat, but only a threat, of tears.) 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 (from the left, with a laugh): Hey, hey, Biffo!
BIFF (starting to go out after Willy): What the hell is the matter
with him? (Happy stops him.)
LINDA: Don’t — don’t go near him!
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 (surlily): 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
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.
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 (indignantly): 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
HAPPY: But I gave you money last…
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 bastards!
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 borrow 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 philandering bum…
LINDA: That’s all you are, my baby! (To Biff.) 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.
LINDA: Why did he do that? I never knew why.
BIFF: Because I know he’s a fake and he doesn’t like anybody
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. (He
starts for the stairs.)
LINDA: He won’t be all right.
BIFF (turning on the stairs, furiously): I hate this city and I’ll stay
here. Now what do you want?
LINDA: He’s dying, Biff.
(Happy turns quickly to her, shocked.)
BIFF (after a pause): Why is he dying?
LINDA: He’s been trying to kill himself.
BIFF (with great horror): 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?
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… (She takes a breath as:)
BIFF (sharply but contained): What woman?
LINDA (simultaneously):… and this woman…
BIFF: Nothing. Go ahead.
LINDA: What did you say?
BIFF: Nothing, I just said what woman?
HAPPY: What about her?
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… (With great difficulty.) 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.
(She chokes, wipes her eyes.) 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
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 (angrily): That — jerk.
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. (She
is bent over in the chair, weeping, her face in her hands.) Biff, I
swear to God! Biff, his life is in your hands!
HAPPY (to Biff): How do you like that damned fool!
BIFF (kissing her): All right, pal, all right. It’s all settled now. I’ve
been remiss. I know that, Mom. But now I’ll stay, and I swear
to you, I’ll apply myself. (Kneeling in front of her, in a fever of
self-reproach.) 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 Harrison 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 (against Happy): So what? I like to whistle sometimes.
HAPPY: You don’t raise a guy to a responsible job who whistles in
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 (his resentment rising): Well, don’t you run off? You take off
sometimes, don’t you? On a nice summer day?
HAPPY: Yeah, but I cover myself!
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 so say, Biff, but in the
business world some of them think you’re crazy.
BIFF (angered): 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 walks in from the entrance of the house, at left.)
WILLY: Even your grandfather was better than a carpenter.
(Pause. They watch him.) You never grew up. Bernard does not
whistle in the elevator, I assure you.
BIFF (as though to laugh Willy out of it): 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
LINDA: Willy, he was just saying…
WILLY: I heard what he said!
HAPPY (trying to quiet Willy): Hey, Pop, come on now…
WILLY (continuing over Happy’s line): 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.
BIFF: All right!
WILLY: Why do you always insult me?
BIFF: I didn’t say a word. (To Linda.) Did I say a word?
LINDA: He didn’t say anything, Willy.
WILLY (going to the doorway of the living room): All right, good
night, good night.
LINDA: Willy, dear, he just decided…
WILLY (to Biff): If you get tired hanging around tomorrow, 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 (interestedly): Oliver? For what?
BIFF (with reserve, but trying, trying): He always said he’d stake
me. I’d like to go into business, so maybe I can take him up on
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. (To Biff.) Sporting
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
BIFF: I don’t know, I didn’t even see him yet, but…
WILLY: Then what’re you talkin’ about?
BIFF (getting angry): Well, all I said was I’m gonna see him, that’s
WILLY (turning away): Ah, you’re counting your chickens again.
BIFF (starting left for the stairs.): Oh, Jesus, I’m going to sleep!
WILLY (calling after him): Don’t curse in this house!
BIFF (turning): Since when did you get so clean?
HAPPY (trying to stop them): Wait a…
WILLY: Don’t use that language to me! I won’t have it!
HAPPY (grabbing Biff, shouts): 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 waterpolo
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!
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 (enthused): Yeah, that’s…
HAPPY: And you wouldn’t get fed up with it, Biff. It’d be the family
again. There’d be the old honor, and comradeship, 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 absolutely lick
the civilized world.
BIFF: I’ll see Oliver tomorrow. Hap, if we could work that out…
LINDA: Maybe things are beginning to…
WILLY (wildly enthused, to Linda): Stop interrupting! (To Biff.)
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 (to Linda): Will you stop! (To Biff.) 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
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 troubles 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 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 stones to lighten things up. It’s not what you say,
it’s how you say it — because personality always 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 (angrily): 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?
WILLY (turning to her): Don’t take his side all the time, goddammit!
BIFF (furiously): Stop yelling at her!
WILLY (suddenly pulling on his cheek, beaten down, guilt ridden):
Give my best to Bill Oliver — he may remember me. (He exits
through the living room doorway.)
LINDA (her voice subdued): What’d you have to start that for?
(Biff turns away.) You see how sweet he was as soon as you
talked hopefully? (She goes over to Biff.) 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. (She goes through the living room
doorway, calling upstairs from within the living room.) Your
pajamas are hanging in the bathroom, Willy!
HAPPY (looking toward where Linda went out): What a woman!
They broke the mold when they made her. You know that,
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 personality.
BIFF (deciding): Lend me ten bucks, will ya? I want to buy some
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.
BIFF (steamed up): You know, with ten thousand bucks, boy!
HAPPY (as they go into the living room): That’s the talk, Biff,
that’s the first time I’ve heard the old confidence out of you!
(From within the living room, fading off.) You’re gonna live
with me, kid, and any babe you want just say the word… (The
last lines are hardly heard. They are mounting the stairs to
their parents’ bedroom.)
LINDA (entering her bedroom and addressing Willy, who is in the
bathroom. She is straightening the bed for him): Can you do
anything about the shower? It drips.
WILLY (from the bathroom): All of a sudden everything falls to
pieces. Goddam plumbing, oughta be sued, those people. I
hardly finished putting it in and the thing… (His words rumble
LINDA: I’m just wondering if Oliver will remember him. You
think he might?
WILLY (coming out of the bathroom in his pajamas): Remember
him? What’s the matter with you, you crazy? If he’d’ve stayed
with Oliver he’d be on top by now! Wait’ll Oliver gets a look at
him. You don’t know the average caliber any more. The average
young man today — (he is getting into bed) — is got a caliber
of zero. Greatest thing in the world for him was to bum
(Biff and Happy enter the bedroom. Slight pause.)
WILLY (stops short, looking at Biff): Glad to hear it, boy.
HAPPY: He wanted to say good night to you, sport.
WILLY (to Biff): Yeah. Knock him dead, boy. What’d you want to
BIFF: Just take it easy, Pop. Good night. (He turns to go.)
WILLY (unable to resist): 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? (To Biff.) Tell him you were in the
business in the West. Not farm work.
BIFF: All right, Dad.
LINDA: I think everything…
WILLY (going right through her speech): And don’t undersell
yourself. No less than fifteen thousand dollars.
BIFF (unable to bear him): Okay. Good night, Mom. (He starts
WILLY: Because you got a greatness in you, Biff, remember that.
You got all kinds a greatness… (He lies back, exhausted. Biff
LINDA (calling after Biff): Sleep well, darling!
HAPPY: I’m gonna get married, Mom. I wanted to tell you.
LINDA: Go to sleep, dear.
HAPPY (going): I just wanted to tell you.
WILLY: Keep up the good work. (Happy exits.) God… remember
that Ebbets Field game? The championship of the city?
LINDA: Just rest. Should I sing to you?
WILLY: Yeah. Sing to me. (Linda hums a soft lullaby.) When that
team came out — he was the tallest, remember?
LINDA: Oh, yes. And in gold.
(Biff enters the darkened kitchen, takes a cigarette, and leaves
the house. He comes downstage into a golden pool of light. He
smokes, staring at the night.)
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 representatives of three
colleges standing by? And the buyers I brought, and the cheers
when he came out — Loman, Loman, Loman! God Almighty,
he’ll be great yet. A star like that, magnificent, can never really
(The light on Willy is fading. The gas heater begins to glow
through the kitchen wall, near the stairs, a blue flame beneath red
LINDA (timidly): Willy dear, what has he got against you?
WILLY: I’m so tired. Don’t talk any more.
(Biff slowly returns to the kitchen. He stops, stares toward the
LINDA: Will you ask Howard to let you work in New York?
WILLY: First thing in the morning. Everything’ll be all right.
(Biff reaches behind the heater and draws out a length of rubber
tubing. He is horrified and turns his head toward Willy’s room,
still dimly lit, from which the strains of Linda’s desperate but monotonous
WILLY (staring through the window into the moonlight): Gee,
look at the moon moving between the buildings!
(Biff wraps the tubing around his hand and quickly goes up the
Music is heard, gay and bright. The curtain rises as the music
fades away. Willy, in shirt sleeves, is sitting at the kitchen table,
sipping coffee, his hat in his lap. Linda is filling his cup when she
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. Imagine,
sleeping till ten on a Tuesday morning. Boys left nice and
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 (smiling): Mmm…
LINDA: Biff was very changed this morning. His whole attitude
seemed to be hopeful. He couldn’t wait to get downtown to see
WILLY: He’s heading for a change. There’s no question, there
simply are certain men that take longer to get — solidified.
How did he dress?
LINDA: His blue suit. He’s so handsome in that suit. He could be
a — anything in that suit!
(Willy gets up from the table. Linda holds his jacket for him.)
WILLY: There’s no question, no question at all. Gee, on the way
home tonight I’d like to buy some seeds.
LINDA (laughing): That’d be wonderful. But not enough sun gets
back there. Nothing’ll grow any more.
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 vegetables, a couple
LINDA: You’ll do it yet, dear.
(Willy walks out of his jacket. Linda follows him.)
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 (joyfully): 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 (getting him into the jacket): He didn’t mention it, but I
imagine ten or fifteen thousand. You going to talk to Howard
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 period now.
WILLY: That’s a hundred… ?
LINDA: A hundred and eight, sixty-eight. Because we’re a little
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 refrigerator…
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-bitch.
LINDA: But, Willy…
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 refrigerator 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 (buttoning up his jacket as he unbuttons it): All told, about
two hundred dollars would carry us, dear. But that includes the
last payment on the mortgage. After this payment, 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
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…
(He starts to go.) Good-by, I’m late.
LINDA (suddenly remembering): Oh, I forgot! You’re supposed to
meet them for dinner.
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
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 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’by, I’m late. (He starts to go again.)
LINDA (calling after him as she runs to the kitchen table for a
handkerchief): You got your glasses?
WILLY: (feels for them, then comes back in): Yeah, yeah, got my
LINDA: (giving him the handkerchief): And a handkerchief.
WILLY: Yeah, handkerchief.
LINDA: And your saccharine?
WILLY: Yeah, my saccharine.
LINDA: Be careful on the subway stairs.
(She kisses him, and a silk stocking is seen hanging from her
hand. Willy notices it.)
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 hides the stocking in her hand as she follows Willy
across the forestage in front of the house.)
LINDA: Remember, Frank’s Chop House.
WILLY (passing the apron): Maybe beets would grow out there.
LINDA (laughing): But you tried so many times.
WILLY: Yeah. Well, don’t work hard today. (He disappears
around the right corner of the house.)
LINDA: Be careful!
(As Willy vanishes, Linda waves to him. Suddenly the phone
rings. She runs across the stage and into the kitchen and lifts it.)
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! (She listens.) 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 perspire 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
loving to him. Because he’s only a little boat looking for a harbor.
(She is trembling with sorrow and joy.) Oh, that’s wonderful,
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-by, dear. You got your comb?…
That’s fine. Good-by, Biff dear. (In the middle of her speech,
Howard Wagner, thirty-six, wheels on a small typewriter table
on which is a wire-recording machine and proceeds to plug it
in. This is on the left forestage. Light slowly fades on Linda as
it rises on Howard. Howard is intent on threading the machine
and only glances over his shoulder as Willy appears.)
WILLY: Pst! Pst!
HOWARD: Hello, Willy, come in.
WILLY: Like to have a little talk with you, Howard.
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 recorder.
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 anything 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. (He flicks the
switch and »Roll out the Barrel« is heard being whistled.) 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…
(The whistling breaks off, and the voice of Howard’s daughter
HIS DAUGHTER: »Now you, Daddy. »
HOWARD: She’s crazy for me! (Again the same song is whistled.)
That’s me! Ha! (He winks).
WILLY: You’re very good!
(The whistling breaks off again. The machine runs silent for a
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…« and on, and on.)
HOWARD (holding up five fingers): Five years old. Willy!
WILLY: He’ll make an announcer some day!
HIS SON (continuing): »The capital…«
HOWARD: Get that — alphabetical order! (The machine breaks
off suddenly.) 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
WILLY: That really is…
HOWARD: Wait a minute! The next is my wife. (They wait).
HOWARD’S VOICE: »Go on, say something.« (Pause.) »Well, you
HIS WIFE: »I can’t think of anything.«
HOWARD’S VOICE: »Well, talk — it’s turning.«
HIS WIFE (shyly, beaten): »Hello.« (Silence.) »Oh, Howard, I can’t
talk into this…«
HOWARD (snapping the machine off): 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 times I’m
on the road, and I think to myself, what I must be missing on
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? (He draws a chair in from the wing).
HOWARD: What happened? What’re you doing here?
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
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
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, sixtyfive
dollars a week, I could swing it.
HOWARD: Yeah, but Willy, see I…
WILLY: I tell ya why. Howard. Speaking frankly and between 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 halfdozen
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 and asked
me what I thought of the name of Howard, may he rest in
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 (with increasing anger): 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,
HOWARD: No, but it’s a business, kid, and everybody’s gotta pull
his own weight.
WILLY (desperately): Just let me tell you a story. Howard…
HOWARD: ‘Cause you gotta admit, business is business.
WILLY (angrily): Business is definitely business, but just listen
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 (barely interested): 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 selfreliance
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, he’d go up to his
room, y’understand, put on his green velvet 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 eightyfour,
into twenty or thirty different 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. (He stands up. Howard has not looked at him.) 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
HOWARD (moving away, to the right): That’s just the thing,
WILLY: If I had forty dollars a week — that’s all I’d need. Forty
HOWARD: Kid, I can’t take blood from a stone, I…
WILLY (desperation is on him now): Howard, the year Al Smith
was nominated, your father came to me and…
HOWARD (starting to go off): I’ve got to see some people, kid.
WILLY (stopping him). 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 piece of fruit! (After
a pause.) Now pay attention. Your father — in 1928 I had a big
year. I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in commissions.
HOWARD (impatiently): Now, Willy, you never averaged…
WILLY (banging his hand on the desk): 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 (getting up): You’ll have to excuse me, Willy, I gotta see
some people. Pull yourself together. (Going out.) I’ll be back in
a little while. (On Howard’s exit, the light on his chair grows
very bright and strange.)
WILLY: Pull myself together! What the hell did I say to him? My
God, I was yelling at him! How could I? (Willy breaks off, staring
at the light, which occupies the chair, animating it. He approaches
this chair, standing across the desk from it.) Frank,
Frank, don’t you remember what you told me that time? How
you put your hand on my shoulder, and Frank… (He leans on
the desk and as he speaks the dead man’s name he accidentally
switches on the recorder, and instantly)
HOWARD’S SON: »… of New York is Albany. The capital of Ohio
is Cincinnati, the capital of Rhode Island is…« (The recitation
WILLY (leaping away with fright, shouting): Ha, Howard! Howard!
HOWARD (rushing in): What happened?
WILLY (pointing at the machine, which continues nasally, childishly,
with the capital cities): Shut it off! Shut it off!
HOWARD (pulling the plug out): Look, Willy…
WILLY (pressing his hands to his eyes): I gotta get myself some
coffee. I’ll get some coffee… (Willy starts to walk out. Howard
HOWARD (rolling up the cord): 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.
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 position to…
HOWARD: Where are your sons? Why don’t your sons give you a
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 meantime…
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 (grasping Howard’s arm): Howard, you’ve got to let me go
HOWARD (hard, keeping himself under control): 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. (He starts to go, turns, remembering the recorder,
starts to push off the table holding the recorder.) Oh, yeah.
Whenever 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. (Howard exits,
pushing the table off left. Willy stares into space, exhausted.
Now the music is heard — Ben’s music — first distantly, then
closer, closer. As Willy speaks, Ben enters from the right. He
carries valise and umbrella.)
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
WILLY: Ben, I’ve got to talk to you.
BEN (glancing at his watch): Haven’t the time, William.
WILLY (crossing the apron to Ben): 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
WILLY: Yes, yes! Linda, Linda!
(Linda enters as of old, with the wash.)
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… (To Ben.) He’s got a beautiful job here.
WILLY: But in Alaska, kid, I could…
LINDA: You’re doing well enough, Willy!
BEN (to Linda): Enough for what, my dear?
LINDA (frightened of Ben and angry at him): Don’t say those
things to him! Enough to be happy right here, right now. (To
Willy, while Ben laughs.) Why must everybody conquer the
world? You’re well liked, and the boys love you, and someday
— (To Ben) — 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
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 (hesitantly): That’s true, Linda, there’s nothing.
LINDA: Why? (To Ben.) 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?
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 (picking up his valise): I’ve got to go.
WILLY (holding Ben back): Look at this boy!
(Biff, in his high school sweater, enters carrying suitcase.
Happy carries Biffs shoulder guards, gold helmet, and football
WILLY: Without a penny to his name, three great universities 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 basis of being liked! (He turns
to Biff.) 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. (To Ben, who has again begun to leave.)
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-by, William.
WILLY: Ben, am I right? Don’t you think I’m right? I value your
BEN: There’s a new continent at your doorstep, William. You
could walk out rich. Rich! (He is gone.)
WILLY: We’ll do it here, Ben! You hear me? We’re gonna do it
(Young Bernard rushes in. The gay music of the Boys is heard.)
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? (He rushes through the wall-line of the
kitchen and out into the living room.)
LINDA (to Biff): Did you pack fresh underwear?
BIFF (who has been limbering up): 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.
HAPPY: In Ebbets Field it’s the clubhouse.
BERNARD: I meant the clubhouse. Biff!
BIFF (grandly, after a slight pause): Let him carry the shoulder
HAPPY (as he gives Bernard the shoulder guards): Stay close to
(Willy rushes in with the pennants.)
WILLY (handing them out): Everybody wave when Biff comes out
on the field. (Happy and Bernard run off.) You set now, boy?
(The music has died away.)
BIFF: Ready to go, Pop. Every muscle is ready.
WILLY (at the edge of the apron): You realize what this means?
BIFF: That’s right, Pop.
WILLY (feeling Biffs muscles): You’re comin’ home this afternoon
captain of the All-Scholastic Championship Team of the City of
BIFF: I got it, Pop. And remember, pal, when I take off my helmet,
that touchdown is for you.
WILLY: Let’s go! (He is starting out, with his arm around Biff,
when Charley enters, as of old, in knickers.) I got no room for
CHARLEY: Room? For what?
WILLY: In the car.
CHARLEY: You goin’ for a ride? I wanted to shoot some casino.
WILLY (furiously): Casino! (Incredulously.) 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.
CHARLEY: Baseball in this weather?
WILLY: Don’t talk to him. Come on, come on! (He is pushing
CHARLEY: Wait a minute, didn’t you hear the news?
CHARLEY: Don’t you listen to the radio? Ebbets Field just blew
WILLY: You go to hell! (Charley laughs. Pushing them out.) Come
on, come on! We’re late.
CHARLEY (as they go): Knock a homer, Biff, knock a homer!
WILLY (the last to leave, turning to Charley): 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 (kidding): Is that so?
WILLY: Yeah, that’s so.
CHARLEY: Well, then, I’m sorry, Willy. But tell me something.
CHARLEY: Who is Red Grange?
WILLY: Put up your hands. Goddam you, put up your hands!
(Charley, chuckling, shakes his head and walks away, around
the left comer of the stage. Willy follows him. The music rises to a
WILLY: Who the hell do you think you are, better than everybody
else? You don’t know everything, you big, ignorant, 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 heard.
Bernard, now mature, sits whistling to himself. A pair of tennis
rackets and an overnight bag are on the floor beside him.)
WILLY (offstage): 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! Touchdown! Right between the
(Bernard is a quiet, earnest, but self-assured young man.
Willy’s voice is coming from right upstage now. Bernard lowers his
feet off the table and listens. Jenny, his father’s secretary, enters.)
JENNY (distressed): 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 (getting up): 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 (entering): Touchdown! Touch — (He sees Jenny.) 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! (He is surprised to
see the rackets.)
BERNARD: Hello, Uncle Willy.
WILLY (almost shocked): Bernard! Well, look who’s here! (He
comes quickly, guiltily, to Bernard and warmly shakes his
BERNARD: How are you? Good to see you.
WILLY: What are you doing here?
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 (sitting down): What’re you going to do in Washington?
BERNARD: Oh, just a case I’ve got there, Willy.
WILLY: That so? (Indicating the rackets.) You going to play tennis
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
BERNARD: They are, very nice. Dad tells me Biffs in town.
WILLY (with a big smile): Yeah, Biffs in. Working on a very big
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 (after a pause): 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… (He breaks off, then.) Bernard … (He is so full of emotion,
he breaks off again.)
BERNARD: What is it, Willy?
WILLY (small and alone): 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 (confidentially, desperately): 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 (taking off his glasses): Willy, do you want to talk candidly?
WILLY (rising, faces Bernard): I regard you as a very brilliant
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
WILLY: Oh, that son-of-a-bitch ruined his life.
BERNARD: Yeah, but, Willy, all he had to do was 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 trailing 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 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
BERNARD: Willy, I remember, it was June, and our grades came
out. And he’d flunked math.
WILLY: That son-of-a-bitch!
BERNARD: No, it wasn’t right then. Biff just got very angry, I
remember, and he was ready to enroll in summer school.
WILLY (surprised): 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? (Willy stares in silence.)
WILLY (with a strong edge of resentment in his voice): 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? (Willy looks at him as at an intruder.)
BERNARD: I just bring it up because you asked me.
WILLY (angrily): 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
BERNARD: Yeah, I’m going. (He takes the bottle.) Thanks, Pop.
(He picks up his rackets and bag.) Good-by, Willy, and don’t
worry about it. You know, »If at first you don’t succeed…«
WILLY: Yes, I believe in that.
BERNARD: But sometimes, Willy, it’s better for a man just to
WILLY: Walk away?
BERNARD: That’s right.
WILLY: But if you can’t walk away?
BERNARD (after a slight pause): I guess that’s when it’s tough.
(Extending his hand.) Good-by, Willy.
WILLY (shaking Bernard’s hand): Good-by, boy.
CHARLEY (an arm on Bernard’s shoulder): How do you like this
kid? Gonna argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.
BERNARD (protesting): Pop!
WILLY (genuinely shocked, pained, and happy): No! The Supreme
BERNARD: I gotta run. ’By, Dad!
CHARLEY: Knock ‘em dead, Bernard!
(Bernard goes off.)
WILLY (as Charley takes out his wallet): The Supreme Court! And
he didn’t even mention it!
CHARLEY (counting out money on the desk): 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
WILLY: Charley, look… (With difficulty.) I got my insurance to
pay. If you can manage it — I need a hundred and ten dollars.
(Charley doesn’t reply for a moment; merely stops moving.)
WILLY: I’d draw it from my bank but Linda would know, and I…
CHARLEY: Sit down, Willy.
WILLY (moving toward the chair): I’m keeping an account of
everything, remember. I’ll pay every penny back. (He sits.)
CHARLEY: Now listen to me, Willy.
WILLY: I want you to know I appreciate…
CHARLEY (sitting down on the table): Willy, what’re you doin’?
What the hell is going on in your head?
WILLY: Why? I’m simply…
CHARLEY: I offered you a job. You 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 without pay?
(He rises.) Now, look, kid, enough is enough. I’m no genius but
I know when I’m being insulted.
CHARLEY: Why don’t you want to work for me?
WILLY: What’s the matter with you? I’ve got a job.
CHARLEY: Then what’re you walkin’ in here every week for?
WILLY (getting up): Well, if you don’t want me to walk in here…
CHARLEY: I’m offering you a job.
WILLY: I don’t want your goddam job!
CHARLEY: When the hell are you going to grow up?
WILLY (furiously): You big ignoramus, if you say that to me again
I’ll rap you one! I don’t care how big you are! (He’s ready to
CHARLEY (kindly, going to him): 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
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.
CHARLEY: What’re you, jealous of me?
WILLY: I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why.
CHARLEY (angered, takes out more bills): You been jealous of me
all your life, you damned fool! Here, pay your insurance. (He
puts the money in Willy’s hand.)
WILLY: I’m keeping strict accounts.
CHARLEY: I’ve got some work to do. Take care of yourself. And
pay your insurance.
WILLY (moving to the right): 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. (After a slight
pause.) Did you hear what I said? (Willy stands still, dreaming.)
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 (on the verge of tears): Charley, you’re the only friend I
got. Isn’t that a remarkable thing? (He goes out.)
(Charley stares after him a moment and follows. All light blacks
out. Suddenly mucous music is heard, and a red glow rises behind
the screen at right. Stanley, a young waiter, appears, carrying a
table, followed by Happy, who is carrying two chairs.)
STANLEY (putting the table down): That’s all right, Mr. Loman, I
can handle it myself. (He turns and takes the chairs from
Happy and places them at the table.)
HAPPY (glancing around): Oh, this is better.
STANLEY: Sure, in the front there you’re in the middle of all
kinds of 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 (sitting down): 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 per cent, 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 business 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? (Sotto voce). Like this 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 (raising his head): Sh!
HAPPY: You notice I wasn’t lookin’ right or left, was I?
HAPPY: And my eyes are closed.
STANLEY: So what’s the…?
HAPPY: Strudel’s comin’.
STANLEY (catching on, looks around): 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.)
STANLEY: I think that’s for you, Mr. Loman.
HAPPY: Look at that mouth. Oh, God. And the binoculars.
STANLEY: Geez, you got a life, Mr. Loman.
HAPPY: Wait on her.
STANLEY (going to the Girl’s table): Would you like a menu,
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. (He laughs.)
GIRL: That’s a charming product to be selling, isn’t it?
HAPPY: Oh, gets to be like everything else. Selling is selling,
GIRL: I suppose.
HAPPY: You don’t happen to sell, do you?
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 (looking at him a little archly): I have been.
(Stanley comes in with a glass of champagne.)
HAPPY: What’d I say before, Stanley? You see? She’s a cover girl.
STANLEY: Oh, I could see, I could see.
HAPPY (to the Girl): What magazine?
GIRL: Oh, a lot of them. (She takes the drink.) Thank you.
HAPPY: You know what they say in France, don’t you? »Champagne
is the drink of the complexion« — Hya, Biff!
(Biff has entered and sits with Happy.)
BIFF: Hello, kid. Sorry I’m late.
HAPPY: I just got here. Uh, Miss… ?
HAPPY: Miss Forsythe, this is my brother.
BIFF: Is Dad here?
HAPPY: His name is Biff. You might’ve heard of him. Great football
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? (She drinks.)
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 (now really impressed): Oh, I see. How do you do? (She
turns her profile.)
BIFF: Isn’t Dad coming?
HAPPY: You want her?
BIFF: Oh, I could never make that.
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. (He turns to look at the Girl.)
HAPPY: I’m telling you. Watch this. (Turning to the Girl.) Honey?
(She turns to him). 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 (standing up): Well, I’m certainly happy to meet you.
HAPPY: Come back soon.
GIRL: I’ll try.
HAPPY: Don’t try, honey, try hard.
(The Girl exits. Stanley follows, shaking his head in bewildered
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 (strangely unnerved): Cut it out, will ya? I want to say something
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
HAPPY: Why? What happened?
BIFF (breathlessly): I did a terrible thing today, Hap. It’s been the
strangest day I ever went through. I’m all numb, I swear.
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 (stopping Happy with a gesture): Finally, about five o’clock,
he comes out. Didn’t remember who I was or anything. 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
HAPPY: What’d you do?
BIFF (with great tension and wonder): 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
HAPPY: That was an awful dumb — what’d you do that for?
BIFF (agonized): 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.
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
BIFF: But it’ll go on forever!
HAPPY: Dad is never so happy as when he’s looking forward to
HAPPY: Hello, scout!
WILLY: Gee, I haven’t been here in years!
(Stanley has followed Willy in and sets a chair for him. Stanley
starts off but Happy stops him.)
(Stanley stands by, waiting for an order.)
BIFF (going to Willy with guilt, as to an invalid): 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. (To Stanley.) Scotch all around. Make it doubles.
STANLEY: Doubles, right. (He goes.)
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… (He is smiling bravely, and Willy is smiling too.) I had an
HAPPY: Terrific, Pop.
WILLY: That so? What happened?
BIFF (high, slightly alcoholic, above the earth): I’m going to tell
you everything from first to last. It’s been a strange day. (Silence.
He looks around, composes himself as best he can, but his
breath keeps breaking the rhythm of his voice.) I had to wait
quite a while for him, and…
BIFF: Yeah, Oliver. All day, as a matter of cold fact. And a lot ofinstances
— facts, Pop, facts about my life came back to me.
Who was it, Pop? Who ever said I was a salesman with Oliver?
WILLY: Well, you were.
BIFF: No, Dad, I was a shipping clerk.
WILLY: But you were practically…
BIFF (with determination): 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 (angrily): 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 (shocked): 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?
(Stanley enters with three drinks. They wait until he leaves.)
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 (on the edge of his chair): What kind of a welcome did he
BIFF: He won’t even let you work on commission?
WILLY: I’m out! (Driving.) So tell me, he gave you a warm welcome?
HAPPY: Sure, Pop, sure!
BIFF (driven): 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 (trying to return to the offensive): 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 (as though Biff had been interrupting): 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 (with a big smile): What’d he say? Betcha he threw his
arm around you.
BIFF: Well, he kinda…
WILLY: He’s a fine man. (To Happy.) Very hard man to see,
HAPPY (agreeing): Oh, I know.
WILLY (to Biff): Is that where you had the drinks?
BIFF: Yeah, he gave me a couple of — no, no!
HAPPY (cutting in): He told him my Florida idea.
WILLY: Don’t interrupt. (To Biff) How’d he react to the Florida
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
BIFF: His answer was — (He breaks off, suddenly angry.) Dad,
you’re not letting me tell you what I want to tell you!
WILLY (accusing, angered): You didn’t see him, did you?
BIFF: I did see him!
WILLY: What’d you insult him or something? You insulted him,
BIFF: Listen, will you let me out of it, will you just let me out of
HAPPY: What the hell!
WILLY: Tell me what happened!
BIFF (to Happy): I can’t talk to him!
(A single trumpet note jars the ear. The light of green leaves
stains the house, which holds, the air of night and a dream. Young
Bernard enters and knocks on the door of the house.)
YOUNG BERNARD (frantically): Mrs. Loman, Mrs. Loman!
HAPPY: Tell him what happened!
BIFF (to Happy): 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!
(Linda appears in the house, as of old.)
WILLY (wildly): Math, math, math!
BIFF: Take it easy, Pop!
YOUNG BERNARD: Mrs. Loman!
WILLY (furiously): If you hadn’t flunked you’d’ve been set by
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… (He continues unheard as light fades low on the restaurant.)
YOUNG BERNARD: Biff flunked math!
YOUNG BERNARD: Birnbaum flunked him! They won’t graduate
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,
(Light on house area snaps out.)
BIFF (at the table, now audible, holding up a gold fountain pen):…
so I’m washed up with Oliver, you understand? Are you listening
WILLY (at a loss): 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 (seeing the pen for the first time): You took Oliver’s pen?
BIFF (weakening): 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
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 (shouting): I’m not in my room!
BIFF (frightened): Dad, what’s the matter? (He and Happy stand
OPERATOR: Ringing Mr. Loman for you!
WILLY: I’m not there, stop it!
BIFF (horrified, gets down on one knee before Willy): Dad, I’ll
make good, I’ll make good. (Willy tries to get to his feet. Biff
holds him down.) 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. (He holds up Willy’s face.) Talk to
OPERATOR: Mr. Loman does not answer. Shall I page him?
WILLY (attempting to stand, as though to rush and silence the
Operator): No, no, no!
HAPPY: He’ll strike something, Pop.
WILLY: No, no…
BIFF (desperately, standing over Willy): 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
WILLY: Then you… got it?
HAPPY: He’s gonna be terrific, Pop!
WILLY (trying to stand): Then you got it, haven’t you? You got it!
You got it!
BIFF (agonized, holds Willy down): 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, Pop.
And I’ll make good somewhere, but I can’t go tomorrow, 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 accidentally used
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 (now angry at Willy for not crediting his sympathy): 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!
(Off left, The Woman laughs.)
WILLY: Biff, you’re going to go to that lunch tomorrow, 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 (strikes Biff and falters away from the table): You rotten
little louse! Are you spiting me?
THE WOMAN: Someone’s at the door, Willy!
BIFF: I’m no good, can’t you see what I am?
HAPPY (separating them): Hey, you’re in a restaurant! Now cut it
out, both of you! (The girls enter.) Hello, girls, sit down.
(The Woman laughs, off left.)
MISS FORSYTHE: I guess we might as well. This is Letta.
THE WOMAN: Willy, are you going to wake up?
BIFF (ignoring Willy): How’re ya, miss, sit down. What do you
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! (The girls laugh.) This is
LETTA: Isn’t he cute? Sit down with us, Pop.
HAPPY: Sit him down, Biff!
BIFF (going to him): Come on, slugger, drink us under the table.
To hell with it! Come on, sit down, pal.
(On Biffs last insistence, Willy is about to sit.)
THE WOMAN (now urgently): Willy are you going to answer the
(The Woman’s call pulls Willy back. He starts right, befuddled.)
BIFF: Hey, where are you going?
WILLY: Open the door.
BIFF: The door?
WILLY: The washroom… the door… where’s the door?
BIFF (leading Willy to the left): Just go straight down.
(Willy moves left.)
THE WOMAN: Willy, Willy, are you going to get up, get up, get
up, get up?
(Willy exits left.)
LETTA: I think it’s sweet you bring your daddy along.
MISS FORSYTHE: Oh, he isn’t really your father!
BIFF (at left, turning to her resentfully): Miss Forsythe, you’ve
just seen a prince walk by. A fine, troubled prince. A hardworking,
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?
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. (He
takes the rolled-up hose from his pocket and puts it on the table
in front of Happy.) 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! (Ready to weep, he hurries out, up
HAPPY (starting after him): Where are you going?
MISS FORSYTHE: What’s he so mad about? HAPPY: Come on,
girls, we’ll catch up with him.
MISS FORSYTHE (as Happy pushes her out): Say, I don’t like
that temper of his!
HAPPY: He’s just a little overstrung, he’ll be all right!
WILLY (off left, as The Woman laughs): Don’t answer! Don’t answer!
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!
(They exit. Stanley looks toward left.)
STANLEY (calling to Happy indignantly): Mr. Loman! Mr. Loman!
(Stanley picks up a chair and follows them off. Knocking is
heard off left. The Woman enters, laughing. Willy follows her. She
is in a black slip; he is buttoning his shirt. Raw, sensuous music
accompanies their speech)
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 anymore, 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. (She
laughs. He kisses her.) Come on inside, drummer boy. It’s silly
to be dressing in the middle of the night. (As knocking is
heard.) 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 (his terror rising): It’s a mistake.
THE WOMAN: Then tell him to go away!
WILLY: There’s nobody there.
THE WOMAN: It’s getting on my nerves, Willy. There’s somebody
standing out there and it’s getting on my nerves!
WILLY (pushing her away from him): 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.
(The knocking is heard again. He takes a few steps away from
her, and she vanishes into the wing. The light follows him, and
now he is facing Young Biff, who carries a suitcase. Biff steps toward
him. The music is gone.)
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?
WILLY: Biffo, what’s this about? (Putting his arm around Biff.)
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 practice, 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
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 imitated him. I
crossed my eyes and talked with a lithp.
WILLY (laughing): 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 laughs and The Woman joins in offstage.)
WILLY (without hesitation): Hurry downstairs and…
BIFF: Somebody in there?
WILLY: No, that was next door. (The Woman laughs offstage.)
BIFF: Somebody got in your bathroom!
WILLY: No, it’s the next room, there’s a party —
THE WOMAN (enters, laughing; she lisps this): Can I come in?
There’s something in the bathtub, Willy, and it’s moving!
(Willy looks at Biff, who is staring open-mouthed and horrified
at The Woman.)
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… (He pushes her.)
THE WOMAN (resisting): But I’ve got to get dressed, Willy, I
WILLY: Get out of here! Go back, go back… (Suddenly striding 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 (pushing her offstage): Get outa here! Go back, go back!
(Biff slowly sits down on his suitcase as the argument continues
THE WOMAN: Where’s my stockings? You promised me stockings,
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 (enters holding a box of stockings): I just hope
there’s nobody in the hall. That’s all I hope. (To Biff.) Are you
football or baseball?
THE WOMAN (angry, humiliated): That’s me too. G’night. (She
snatches her clothes from Willy, and walks out.)
WILLY (after a pause): 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. (Biff doesn’t move.) What’s the matter!
(Biff remains motionless, tears falling.) She’s a buyer. Buys for
J. H. Simmons. She lives down the hall — they’re painting.
You don’t imagine — (He breaks off. After a pause.) Now listen,
pal, she’s just a buyer. She sees merchandise in her room and
they have to keep it looking just so… (Pause. Assuming command.)
All right, get my suits. (Biff doesn’t move.) 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! (Putting his arm around Biff.) Now look, Biff, when
you grow up you’ll 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 (getting down beside Biff): 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 (his weeping breaking from him): Dad…
WILLY (infected by it): Oh, my boy…
WILLY: She’s nothing to me, Biff. I was lonely, I was terrible
BIFF: You — you gave her Mama’s stockings! (His tears break
through and he rises to go.)
WILLY (grabbing for Biff): 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 (shouts at Stanley): I gave you an order…
STANLEY: Hey, let’s pick it up, pick it up, Mr. Loman. (He helps
Willy to his feet.) Your boys left with the chippies. They said
they’ll see you home.
(A second waiter watches some distance away.)
WILLY: But we were supposed to have dinner together.
(Music is heard, Willy’s theme.)
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
WILLY: Here — here’s a dollar.
STANLEY: Oh, your son paid me. It’s all right.
WILLY (putting it in Stanley’s hand): No, take it. You’re a good
STANLEY: Oh, no, you don’t have to…
WILLY: Here — here’s some more, I don’t need it any more. (After
a slight pause.) Tell me — is there a seed store in the
STANLEY: Seeds? You mean like to plant?
(As Willy turns, Stanley slips the money back into his jacket
WILLY: Yes. Carrots, peas…
STANLEY: Well, there’s hardware stores on Sixth Avenue, but it
may be too late now.
WILLY (anxiously): Oh, I’d better hurry. I’ve got to get some
seeds. (He starts off to the right.) I’ve got to get some seeds,
right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the
(Willy hurries out as the light goes down. Stanley moves over to
the right after him, watches him off. The other waiter has been
staring at Willy.)
STANLEY (to the waiter): 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 corning over. The light
gradually rises on the kitchen, which is empty. Happy appears at
the door of the house, followed by Biff. 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? (Linda says nothing but
moves toward him implacably.) Where’s Pop? (He keeps backing
to the right and now Linda is in full view in the doorway to
the living room.) Is he sleeping?
LINDA: Where were you?
HAPPY (trying to laugh it off): We met two girls, Mom, very fine
types. Here, we brought you some flowers. (Offering them to
her.) Put them in your room, Ma.
(She knocks them to the floor at Biff’s feet. He has now come inside
and closed the door behind him. She stares at Biff, silent.)
HAPPY: Now what’d you do that for? Mom, I want you to have
LINDA (cutting Happy off, violently to Biff): Don’t you care
whether he lives or dies?
HAPPY (going to the stairs): Come upstairs, Biff.
BIFF (with a flare of disgust, to Happy): Go away from me! (To
Linda.) What do you mean, lives or dies? Nobody’s dying
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
LINDA (shouting after Biff): You invite him for dinner. He looks
forward to it all day — (Biff appears in his parent’s bedroom,
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 —
(Linda comes back into the kitchen) — 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
(Biff re-enters the kitchen.)
HAPPY: Mom, all we did was follow Biff around trying to cheer
him up! (To Biff.) 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! (To Biff.) You can sleep in his apartment. (She
starts to pick up the flowers and stops herself.) Pick up this
stuff, I’m not your maid any more. Pick it up, you bum, you!
(Happy turns his back to her in refusal. Biff slowly moves over
and gets down on his knees, picking up the flowers.)
LINDA: You’re a pair of animals! Not one, not another living soul
would have had the cruelty to walk out on the man in a restaurant!
BIFF (not looking at her): Is that what he said?
LINDA: He didn’t have to say anything. He was so humiliated he
nearly limped when he came in.
HAPPY: But, Mom, he had a great time with us…
BIFF (cutting him off violently): Shut up!
(Without another word, Happy goes upstairs.)
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.
LINDA: You louse. You…
BIFF: Now you hit it on the nose! (He gets up, throws the flowers
in the wastebasket.) The scum of the earth, and you’re looking
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 (with absolute assurance, determination): No. We’re gonna
have an abrupt conversation, him and me.
LINDA: You’re not talking to him.
(Hammering is heard from outside the house, off right. Biff
turns toward the noise.)
LINDA (suddenly pleading): Will you please leave him alone?
BIFF: What’s he doing out there?
LINDA: He’s planting the garden!
BIFF (quietly): Now? Oh, my God!
(Biff moves outside, Linda following. The light dies down on
them and comes up on the center of the apron as Willy walks into
it. He is carrying a flashlight, a hoe, and a handful of seed packets.
He raps the top of the hoe sharply to fix it firmly, and then moves to
the left, measuring off the distance with his foot. He holds the
flashlight to look at the seed packets, reading off the instructions.
He is in the blue of night.)
WILLY: Carrots… quarter-inch apart. Rows… one-foot rows. (He
measures it off.) One foot. (He puts down a package and measures
off.) Beets. (He puts down another package and measures
again.) Lettuce. (He reads the package, puts it down.) One foot
— (He breaks off as Ben appears at the right and moves slowly
down to him.) 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 —
(Ben moves toward him as though to interrupt.) You 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 (standing still, considering): 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?
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 (yielding): That’s a point, William. (He moves, thinking,
turns.) And twenty thousand — that is something one can feel
with the hand, it is there.
WILLY (now assured, with rising power): 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… (Straightening up.) Ben, that funeral will be massive!
They’ll come from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New
Hampshire! All the oldtimers 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 (coming down to the edge of the garden): He’ll call you a coward.
WILLY (suddenly fearful): 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
BEN: He’ll hate you, William.
(The gay music of the Boys is heard.)
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 something 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. (He glances at his watch.) I still have
a little time. Remarkable proposition, but you’ve got to be sure
you’re not making a fool of yourself. (Ben drifts off upstage and
goes out of sight. Biff comes down from the left.)
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? (Indignantly.) 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 (taking the hoe from Willy): I’m saying good-by to you, Pop.
(Willy looks at him, silent, unable to move.) 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 something
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. (He takes
Willy’s arm.) Let’s just wrap it up, heh? Come on in, we’ll tell
Mom. (He gently tries to pull Willy to left.)
WILLY (frozen, immobile, with guilt in his voice): No, I don’t want
to see her.
BIFF: Come on! (He pulls again, and Willy tries to pull away.)
WILLY (highly nervous): No, no, I don’t want to see her.
BIFF (tries to look into Willy’s face, as if to find the answer there):
Why don’t you want to see her?
WILLY (more harshly now): 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! (Willy strains to get away.)
Did you hear what I said to you?
(Willy pulls away and quickly goes by himself into the house.
LINDA (to Willy): Did you plant, dear?
BIFF (at the door, to Linda). All right, we had it out. I’m going
and I’m not writing any more.
LINDA (going to Willy in the kitchen): I think that’s the best way,
dear. ‘Cause there’s no use drawing it out, you’ll just never get
(Willy doesn’t respond.)
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? (Willy is silent, and Biff goes to him.) You gonna
wish me luck, scout? (He extends his hand.) What do you say?
LINDA: Shake his hand, Willy.
WILLY (turning to her, seething with hurt): There’s no necessity
to mention the pen at all, y’know.
BIFF (gently): I’ve got no appointment, Dad.
WILLY (erupting fiercely). 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. Meantime forget
WILLY (to Linda): 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-by.
(Biff looks at him a moment, then turns sharply and goes to the
WILLY (stops him with): May you rot in hell if you leave this
BIFF (turning): Exactly what is it that you want from me?
WILLY: I want you to know, on the train, in the mountains, in
the valleys, wherever you go, that you cut down your life for
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, remember, 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?
(Happy comes down the stairs and stands on the bottom step,
BIFF: That’s just what I’m telling you!
WILLY (sinking into a chair at a table, with full accusation):
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 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 (not looking at it): What is that?
BIFF: You know goddam well what that is.
WILLY (caged, wanting to escape): 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 (to Linda): You hear the spite!
BIFF: No, you’re going to hear the truth — what you are and
what I am!
LINDA: Stop it!
HAPPY (coming down toward Biff): You cut it now!
BIFF (to Happy): The man don’t know who we are! The man is
gonna know! (To Willy) We never told the truth for ten minutes
in this house!
HAPPY: We always told the truth!
BIFF (turning on him): 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. (To Willy.) 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. (To Linda, who is sobbing.)
Stop crying. I’m through with it. (Linda turns away from
them, her hands covering her face.)
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 anybody! 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? (He tries to make
Willy face him, but Willy pulls away and moves to the left.)
WILLY (with hatred, threateningly): The door of your life is wide
BIFF: Pop! I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you!
WILLY (turning on him now in an uncontrolled outburst): I am
not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!
(Biff starts for Willy, but is blocked by Happy. In his fury, Biff
seems on the verge of attacking his father.)
BIFF: I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are 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
WILLY (directly to Biff): You vengeful, spiteful mut!
(Biff breaks from Happy. Willy, in fright, starts up the stairs.
Biff grabs him.)
BIFF (at the peak of his fury): 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.
(Biffs fury has spent itself, and he breaks down, sobbing, holding
on to Willy, who dumbly fumbles for Biff’s face.)
WILLY (astonished): What’re you doing? What’re you doing? (To
Linda.) Why is he crying?
BIFF (crying, broken): Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will
you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?
(Struggling to contain himself, he pulls away and moves
to the stairs.) I’ll go in the morning. Put him — put him to bed.
(Exhausted, Biff moves up the stairs to his room.)
WILLY (after a long pause, astonished, elevated): Isn’t that —
isn’t that remarkable? Biff — he likes me!
LINDA: He loves you, Willy!
HAPPY (deeply moved): Always did, Pop.
WILLY: Oh, Biff! (Staring wildly.) He cried! Cried to me. (He is
choking with his love, and now cries out his promise.) That boy
— that boy is going to be magnificent! (Ben appears in the light
just outside the kitchen.)
BEN: Yes, outstanding, with twenty thousand behind him.
LINDA (sensing the racing of his mind, fearfully, carefully): Now
come to bed, Willy. It’s all settled now.
WILLY (finding it difficult not to rush out of the house): Yes, we’ll
sleep. Come on. Go to sleep, Hap.
BEN: And it does take a great kind of a man to crack the jungle.
(In accents of dread, Ben’s idyllic music starts up.)
HAPPY (his arm around Linda): 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. (He kisses her.)
BEN: The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy.
(Willy turns, moves, listening to Ben.)
LINDA: Be good. You’re both good boys, just act that way, that’s
HAPPY: ‘Night, Pop. (He goes upstairs.)
LINDA (to Willy): Come, dear.
BEN (with greater force): One must go in to fetch a diamond out.
WILLY (to Linda, as he moves slowly along the edge of kitchen,
toward the door): I just want to get settled down, Linda. Let me
sit alone for a little.
LINDA (almost uttering her fear): I want you upstairs.
WILLY (taking her in his arms): In a few minutes, Linda. I
couldn’t sleep right now. Go on, you look awful tired. (He kisses
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.
(Linda goes into the living room, then reappears in her bedroom.
Willy moves just outside the kitchen door.)
WILLY: Loves me. (Wonderingly.) Always loved me. Isn’t that a
remarkable thing? Ben, he’ll worship me for it!
BEN (with promise): It’s dark there, but full of diamonds.
WILLY: Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand
dollars in his pocket?
LINDA (calling from her room): Willy! Come up!
WILLY (calling into the kitchen): Yes! Yes. Coming! It’s very
smart, you realize that, don’t you, sweetheart? Even Ben sees
it. I gotta go, baby. ‘By! ‘By! (Going over to Ben, almost dancing.)
Imagine? When the mail comes he’ll be ahead of Bernard
BEN: A perfect proposition all around.
WILLY: Did you see how he cried to me? Oh, if I could kiss him,
BEN: Time, William, time!
WILLY: Oh, Ben, I always knew one way or another we were
gonna make it, Biff and I!
BEN (looking at his watch): The boat. We’ll be late. (He moves
slowly off into the darkness.)
WILLY (elegiacally, turning to the house): 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. (He swings around and faces the audience.)
There’s all kinds of important people in the stands, and the
first thing you know… (Suddenly realizing he is alone.) Ben!
Ben, where do I… ? (He makes a sudden movement of search.)
Ben, how do I… ?
LINDA (calling): Willy, you coming up?
WILLY (uttering a gasp of fear, whirling about as if to quiet her):
Sh! (He turns around as if to find his way; sounds, faces, voices,
seem to be swarming in upon him and he flicks at them, crying.)
Sh! Sh! (Suddenly music, faint and high, stops him. It
rises in intensity, almost to an unbearable scream. He goes up
and down on his toes, and rushes off around the house.) Shhh!
(There is no answer. Linda waits. Biff gets up off his bed. He is
still in his clothes. Happy sits up. Biff stands listening.)
LINDA (with real fear): Willy, answer me! Willy!
(There is the sound of a car starting and moving away at full
BIFF (rushing down the stairs): Pop!
(As the car speeds off, the music crashes down in a frenzy of
sound, which becomes the soft pulsation of a single cello string.
Biff slowly returns to his bedroom. He and Happy gravely don
their jackets. Linda slowly walks out of her room. The music has
developed into a dead march. The leaves of day are appearing over
everything. Charley and Bernard, somberly dressed, appear and
knock on the kitchen door. Biff and Happy slowly descend the
stairs to the kitchen as Charley and Bernard enter. All stop a moment
when Linda, in clothes of mourning, bearing a little bunch of
roses, comes through the draped doorway into the kitchen. She goes
to Charley and takes his arm. Now all move toward the audience,
through the wall-line of the kitchen. At the limit of the apron,
Linda lays down the flowers, kneels, and sits back on her heels. All
stare down at the grave.)
CHARLEY: It’s getting dark, Linda.
(Linda doesn’t react. She stares at the grave.)
BIFF: How about it, Mom? Better get some rest, heh? They’ll be
closing the gate soon.
(Linda makes no move. Pause.)
HAPPY (deeply angered): He had no right to do that. There was
no necessity for it. We would’ve helped him.
CHARLEY (grunting): 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
CHARLEY: Naa. It’s a rough world, Linda. They wouldn’t blame
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.
BIFF: He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong.
HAPPY (almost ready to fight Biff): Don’t say that!
BIFF: He never knew who he was.
CHARLEY (stopping Happy’s movement and reply. To Biff): 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 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 finished. Nobody dast
blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with
BIFF: Charley, the man didn’t know who he was.
HAPPY (infuriated): 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! (He looks at Biff, his chin set.)
The Loman Brothers!
BIFF: I know who I am, kid.
HAPPY: All right, boy. I’m gonna show you and everybody 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
BIFF (with a hopeless glance at Happy, bends toward his mother):
Let’s go, Mom.
LINDA: I’ll be with you in a minute. Go on, Charley. (He hesitates.)
I want to, just for a minute. I never had a chance to say
(Charley moves away, followed by Happy. Biff remains a slight
distance up and left of Linda. She sits there, summoning herself.
The flute begins, not far away, playing behind her speech.)
LINDA: Forgive me, dear. I can’t cry. I don’t know what it is, 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. (A sob rises in her throat.)
We’re free and clear. (Sobbing more fully, released.) We’re free.
(Biff comes slowly toward her.) We’re free… We’re free… (Biff
lifts her to her feet and moves out up right with her in his arms.
Linda sobs quietly. Bernard and Charley come together and follow
them, followed by Happy. Only the music of the flute is left
on the darkening stage as over the house the hard towers of the
apartment buildings rise into sharp focus, and the curtain