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A Good Death of a Salesman Act 1: Summary and Analysis


The first scene begins at Willy Loman’s home. He returns to his home tired after a long journey whereby he went to undertake his sales duties. He is a worried man because he is experiencing a great challenge in remembering things. He also cannot keep his focus on the present. Linda, his wife, assures him that it is just some kind of mental fatigue. She then suggests that willy should ask for a transfer to the city of New York instead of having to travel each week. Initially, willy is hesitant to this idea in the complaint that his boss is not respectful of his role in the company and might not give him a listening ear. However, Linda still encourages a will to inform his father’s boss about his achievements. Willy decides to honor his mother’s request the next day.

Linda and Willy then argue about one of their son’s Biff. Willy thinks Biff is lazy, but Linda comes to his defense stating that he is in the process of finding himself. Willy then suddenly changes his tone on willy by stating That he is indeed not lazy. He after that decides to get Biff a salesman’s job position. Will drifted back to his past and remembered how Biff was the center of admiration during his high school years. He comes out of this fantasy and gives an assurance to Linda that he is all right. He declares that he will not argue with Biff anymore about his job. Linda then suggests that they go for a picnic lunch and Willy comes to the realization that, through the day he thought he was riding in the 1028 Chevy instead of the Studebaker.

Here Is a Death of a Salesman Act 1 Analysis

Within the first scene of act 1, Loman introduces the three main themes within the death of a salesman. These are a contradiction, denial as well as order/disorder.  Upon the return of willy from his sales trip, the wife, Linda casually inquires if at all he damaged the vehicle. The questioning of Linda and the aggressive response by willy suggest that this kind of conversation must have occurred before. He does not offer any excuses for himself but acknowledges that he was not concentrating while driving. He forgot several times so that he was driving a vehicle. It is at this moment that Loman realizes something is wrong with him. He is both physically and mentally tired.

This act establishes the nature of the relationship between Linda and willy. Even though willy states the truth of events, Linda provides opportunities that cast doubt on his mind. In this manner, she protects him from realizing his misgivings. She claims that the malfunctioning steering wheel on the Studebaker in addition to willy’s glasses are the possible reasons for his poor driving ability. Linda goes on to offer support to willy adding more excuses for his behaviors. The same situation applies to Biff’s ability to hold a constant job. Generally, willy does not show any appreciation for Linda, save for some rare moments of clarity. One such scenario is during the end of the first scene when he inquires if Linda is worried about him. During most parts of the play, willy openly badmouths Linda as well as her opinions, unless when they are together alone.

As the play goes on, willy tries as hard as he can to reminisce memories and relate them to the present. According to him, the past glories should be preliminaries to the realities of the present. In other words, since he remembers great memories of success and order, such qualities should still be existent in his world even at present. For instance, he believes, he should gain respect and recognition at work because he is the one who established the firm in the heart of New England as well as naming his boss. However, he does not gain the respect he thinks he deserves because of his diminished ability to market the merchandise effectively. The things that Willy holds in high esteem such as past friendships, former sales records do not mean anything in the current capitalist world.

Such contradictions seem to be a consistent component of Willy’s character. He recreates information, memories, and facts to match his ideal perception of the world. In case somebody disagrees with him, he tends to become angry and feels insulted. Biff is the character that shows the most contradiction to him throughout the play. He thinks Biff is lazy for choosing to work on a firm, but Linda defends him claiming that he is trying to find his passion. However, willy’s opinion changes due to the memories he has about Biff’s high school years. He then uses this fact to make a comparison between himself and Biff; that the past glories shall not make him a good salesperson.

Death of A Salesman Summaries:

Death of A Salesman Summary

Death of a Salesman Act 2: Summary and Analysis

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