Death of a Salesman Act I Summary

456 WordsOct 31, 20142 Pages
Act 1 of Death of a Salesman starts on a Monday evening at the Loman residence in Brooklyn, New York. Willy, a sixty-three-year-old traveling salesman, returns home early from a trip, exhausted. His wife, Linda, gets out of their bed to greet him. She asks if he had a car accident, since he once drove off a bridge into a river. Irritated, he replies that nothing happened. Linda pushes him to ask his boss for a non-traveling job in New York City. Willy’s two adult sons, Biff and Happy, come to visit. Before he left that morning, Willy criticized Biff for working at manual labor on farms and horse ranches in the West, which ended in an unresolved argument. Willy states that his thirty-four-year-old son is a lazy bum, but then says that Biff is anything but lazy. Willy’s habit of contradicting himself becomes very obvious in his conversations with Linda. Both of the sons are awakened by Willy’s rambling. They assume that he had another accident. Linda goes back to bed, and Willy goes to the kitchen to get some food. Happy and Biff reminisce about the good old days when they were young. Although Happy is younger than Biff, he is more confident and successful, whereas Biff seems more tired and confused with his life. Happy is worried about Willy’s habit of talking to himself all the time. Happy also observes that Willy talks to the absent Biff about his disappointment in Biff’s unsteadiness. This stems from the fact that Biff went from job to job after high school and is worried that he has wasted his life so far. He is disappointed in himself and in the disparity between his life and the notions of value and success with which Willy indoctrinated him as a boy. Happy has a steady job in New York, but it doesn’t satisfy him. He and Biff fantasize briefly about going out west together. However, Happy still longs to become an important executive. He sleeps with the

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