Death of a Salesman

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Death of a Salesman

As the play opens, Willy Loman, who has been a traveling salesman for 35 years, returns home after having just left for a sales trip to New England. He tells his wife Linda that he can no longer go on the road because he cannot keep his mind on driving. At the same time, his elder son Biff is visiting the Brooklyn home after being away for many years. Willy reminisces about Biff's potential, 14 years earlier, when he was playing high school football and being offered athletic scholarships by numerous university teams. When we meet Biff, he is discussing future job prospects with his younger brother Happy. Biff considers going to see Bill Oliver, a man for whom he had worked many years earlier, and asking him for a loan to get started in a sporting goods business. Biff and Happy tell Willy of this plan, and he gets very excited with the idea.

He emphasizes that Oliver really liked Biff and we begin to see Willy's fixation with the idea that one only needs personal attractiveness to be successful in the business world. In fact, Willy decides that he too will see his boss the following day and ask for a New York position rather than a traveling job. The first day ends with the bright hope that Willy, Biff and Happy will achieve their goals for the following day.

The three of them plan to meet for dinner after they have been to their respective meetings. Unfortunately, Willy is not successful in his meeting with Howard Wagner, his current boss and son of the deceased owner. In fact, Howard fires Willy because he believes the elder salesman is doing the firm harm. Willy is crestfallen and goes to see his old friend...