Death of a Salesman Act 2: Summary and Analysis
- Date:May 12, 2019
- Category:Death of a Salesman
Act 2 begins with Linda and Willy filled with high hopes of a bright future for their family. Willy is about to inform his boss that he will not travel anymore and also request for a pay advance to help offset his bills. Meanwhile, Biff visits Bill Oliver (this is his previous boss). He intends to seek a loan to begin a business with his brother Happy.
Linda emphasizes to Willy about the need for the money to repay the insurance premium as well as the final house payment. Eventually, after making payments for 25 years, they shall become the legitimate owners of the house. Willy feels excited to own the home but is unsatisfied since the home that once stone alone is now engulfed with flats.
Willy attempts convincing his boss, Howard about the career changes he wants to make. He informs Howard he needs $65 each week to settle his bills. However, Howard has no use for him at the main store. He informs him that the only way they can work together is that he can be kept on his travel duties. Willy then asks for $50 each week, but Howard remains adamant. Increasingly desperate, Willy lowers his bargain to $40 a week. He reminds him of his connections to his father who was the former boss at the company while banging Howard’s desk and shouting. At first, Howard tries to calm Willy down to collect himself. Eventually, Willy gets fired.
Meanwhile, Biff has patiently waited 6 hours to see Bill Oliver, but his efforts did not yield any success. He then watches Bill as he closes for the day. The only memory Bill has of biff is that of a shipping clerk who used to steal basketballs from him. Biff’s life has always been a lie. He has always spent his time stealing and had even earned some three months’ jail time for stealing a suit.
Later on, Biff finds out about his father’s affair when he went to visit him in Boston. He had gone to speak to him about his failures but was surprised to find his father with a woman in a hotel room. From that moment, Biff begins to view his father as a liar, and this marks a turning point in his life. He then decides to stop pleasing his father whom he considers a fraud. He is disappointed in all the lessons taught about loyalty, hard work, honesty, etc. are nothing but lies. His father was unfaithful to his mother.
At a certain point, Biff tries to tell his father the truth, but his father is not in a condition to face the truth. He goes back into his hallucination episode at Howard’s office whereby he thinks he is talking Ben, his brother; and also in the restaurant talking to the woman. His sons meet some girls at the restaurant and leave with them.
At home, Linda is angry at the boys for leaving their father behind. She then sends them away from home since they cannot get along with their father, especially Bill. Finally, Biff tells his father, Willy that they are not big shots as he thinks. They are just ordinary people trying to make ends meet. Both of them open their hearts to one another, and Willy drives away to commit suicide.
Here Is the Death of a Salesman Act 2 Analysis
Willy shows a contradiction to himself and his intentions. Instead of proving the fact that he was likable, the unimpressive attendance of his funeral is a sign of his mediocrity. It is also important that Charley defends the suicide act committed by Willy since he always felt threatened and insecure because of Charlie. In this play, Charlie is the only genuine friend Willy ever had. He is aware of willy’ Sneed for appreciation and acknowledgment. The same way he bailed Willy out when in debt is the same way he bailed him out when all other people do not understand the motive behind his suicide.
Nobody can justify Charley’s assistance of Willy’s suicide because it goes against his intentions. Willy thinks his suicide will bring a solution to the chaos in his life by relieving him of the pain caused to Linda and regaining the respect of Biff. He also thinks it will restore his popularity as an individual and salesman.
This play demonstrates how false expectations for oneself, his/her children, can cause greater harm than good. Willy thought he could have earned more respect since he was a great salesman. He also felt that his son Biff should have excelled in life since he was very popular in high school and great at sports. Eventually, Willy could not withstand his reality and took his own life.
Death of A Salesman Summaries: