Death of a Salesman Act One Summary
Willy's back from a trip and carrying some bags. It's late at night, and he definitely should be in bed.
Inside, Linda, Willy's wife, is surprised to see him - he is supposed to be gone for several days on a business trip.
Her husband explains that he kept forgetting he was driving (scary). Since his mind was totally not on the road (and frequently his car wasn't either), he headed home.
Linda, ignoring the fact that Willy has been talking with imaginary people and driving off roads, recommends that he ask his boss to transfer him to a local office job.
Willy insists that he's vital as a traveling salesman, but eventually agrees. He's sure that his boss, Howard, loves him enough to give him the local NY gig.
Willy and Linda chat about their grown sons, Biff and Happy, who happen to be sleeping upstairs.
Biff has just come home from the West, where he was working as a farmhand.
Willy is mad at Biff. The father and son duo had yet another fight that morning, primarily because Willy can't handle the fact that his 34-year-old son isn't able to hold down a real job, you know, the kind with suits and fluorescent lights. He concludes that Biff must be lazy.
Willy then declares his son is hard-working hot stuff (notice how he changed his mind about the lazy part?). He can't understand why, in the greatest country ever (a.k.a. America), his son can't get his life together. Clearly (to Willy), Biff is wasting his life in order to spite his old man.
Willy reminisces, in a rather sad and I-want-to-live-through-you-vicariously kind of way, about what a hotshot Biff was in high school.
Willy and Linda get to...