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Summary of Arthur Miller “Death of a Salesman”

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The following is a summary of the play Death of a sales man which was written by Arthur Miller. The play takes place in Boston and New York. The play starts in the residence if Willy Loman who is an aging salesman back from a road trip. Willy appears unable to memorize events and to distinguish the present from the past. His wife Linda urges him to ask for a job in New York instead of travelling every week. Willy thinks that acquiring a new job is a certain thing because he (wrongly) perceives himself as a precious salesman.

As the play proceeds, we start learning some family background and we get to hear of Biff and Happy, Willy’s grown up sons. Biff has just come home from west where he has been working as a farmhand. Willy has a thought that Biff is wasting his talent as he foresees him to become rich and successful in future. Afterward that night, Wily begins to flashback and talks loudly to imagined images as if they were real individuals. Biff and Happy are reasonably concerned since they had never seen their father in such a situation. Biff feels that he needs to stay near home to revive his relationship wit his father. Hence he chooses to ask for loan from his previous employer, Bill Oliver, in order to initiate a business.

At Midnight, Wily is talking to himself loudly that he awakes everyone according to Miller (21). Linda decides to open up to their sons that they are experiencing financial constraints and their father was attempting suicide. Linda is worried and blames it on her boys, accuses Biff of making his father unhappy. Willy joins the family discussion and begins arguing with Biff. However, Happy admits that Biff is arranging to see his former boss the following day. Their Father is happy and everyone goes to bed with great hopes, biff will get a loan and Willy will get a local job.
The following day, as usual, everything goes unexpected. Willy he gets fired and Biff was unable to get the loan since Oliver did not want to see him. Willy comes to the restaurant where biff and Happy are waiting for him. When he demands good news, Biff struggles to tell him what happened without hurt breaking him. Willy finds it difficult to accept the disappointment and he drifts to the dreamy past. As their dad struggles to detach himself from reality, Biff and Happy get away with two girls. As they return home later they find their mother mad at them for leaving their dad at the restaurant. A serious argument starts and Biff admits that he is unable to live up to his father’s unrealistic expectation and he is a failure.

The night ends with Willy recognizing that Biff loves him despite him being a failure. However, he is unable to overcome the “failure” bit. Hence he thinks that the major contribution he can make to his son is to commit suicide. In the final scene, Linda is disappointed that despite his husband being a well liked salesman people never came for his funeral. Biff wants to be greater man honest with himself but Happy aspires to be like his father.

Work Cited
Miller, Arthur. Death of a salesman. London: A&C Black, 2010

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