Death of a Salesman

سلام دوستان این کاملترین مطالبی است که در مورد داستان پیدا کردم امیدوارم استفاده کنید و نمره خوب بگیرید.

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Summary and Explanation

Miller divided Death of A Salesman into only three sections: Act I, Act II and a short Requiem. For purpose of examination and explanation, we have divided the work into seven smaller portions, or "chunks." We started a new chunk when new themes, characters, or plot points are introduced. The following table of contents gives the approximate page numbers of the start of each chunk.

Act I

Chunk 1 page 1
Chunk 2 page 29
Chunk 3 page 41
Chunk 4 page 52

Act II & Requiem

Chunk 5 page 70
Chunk 6 page 99
Chunk 7 page 123

Chunk 1 pages 1-29

Summary: (Explanation on next page >>)

Willy Loman, an elderly failing salesman whose salary has been taken away and works on straight commission, returns home from a sales trip that he could not complete. He is weary and tired of life on the road. His two grown sons, Biff and Hap have returned home to visit. Biff has lost his way in life and has returned home after 15 years of drifting. Hap, who lives in his own apartment is also home to visit.

Willy has a conversation with his wife, Linda, as he gets ready for bed. Willy cannot understand why Biff is lost, with no job and no money to his name. Willy reminisces about the past and the reader sees for the first time that Willy sometimes lapses into another era, when he talks about opening the windshield on his car. Linda suggests Willy go to the kitchen have some whipped cheese before coming to bed.

Meanwhile, the boys are having a conversation in their old bedroom. They discuss their father and the fact that he is becoming senile in his old age. They have been on a date, and through their conversation we see that Hap holds himself to low moral standards. They talk about success, their hopes, and all the while Willy is downstairs having a conservation with no one. Willy is immersed in one of his flashbacks, where he relives conversations and scenes from the past. The boys are embarrassed for him, and the scene transforms into a fall day, 15 years ago.

Chunk 2 pages 29-41

Summary: (Explanation on next page >>)

Chunk two begins as a transition from Willy standing in the kitchen having a flashback as an observer sees it, to the flashback as Willy sees and lives it. The reader is taken back to Biff's senior year of high school. Biff is the captain of the football team, and he is full of verve and life, much different from the drained and confused present-day Biff.

Biff is in the yard practicing his passing with a new football. Willy asks him where he got it. "� I borrowed it from the locker room," he says. All of the Loman's are good with their euphemistic view of situations. "Coach'll probably congratulate you on your initiative!" replies Willy.

Willy and Linda talk and Willy tells Linda that he feels he is foolish to look at, and this is possibly why he doesn't sell as much merchandise as he could. During this scene, Willy has a brief remembrance of a woman he has had an affair with. She is a young woman who he meets on his sales trips, and he gives her Linda's stockings as presents.

As Willy comes out of these guilty thoughts, Bernard, the next-door neighbor boy, comes in and tells Willy that Biff had better start studying for the Regents or he will not graduate from high school. Willy goes into a rage and begins storming around looking for Biff. As Willy paces around the house ranting, the scene switches back to present-day and Hap comes downstairs and discovers his father talking to no one.

Chunk 3 pages 41-52

Summary: (Explanation on next page >>)

Willy is ranting in the kitchen, and Hap comes downstairs to quiet him down. Willy's mind returns to the present-day. Willy talks of his failure to make the trip to New England. He starts talking about his brother, Ben, now dead. Ben is a mysterious, almost god-like figure, whom Willy idolizes. Ben became rich mining diamonds in the jungles of Africa. Ben had asked Willy to come along, but Willy declined.

Willy begins to accuse Hap that he is too free with his money, his women, and his car. Charlie, the next door neighbor, comes over to see what's wrong. They sit down and play cards, while Hap goes upstairs. During the course of the game, Willy is cheating, and making fun of Charlie. Charlie, who owns a sales firm, offers Willy a job. Willy declines, and the reader gets the sense this conversation has taken place many times. They talk about Biff and how he wants to go back to Texas. Willy ends up insulting Charlie and begins to talk of his brother Ben. Willy begins to slip into another flashback and soon, Charlie is out the door and the scene is back to Biff's senior year in high school on the day Ben visited the family before leaving on a business trip.

They talk about their father, a man who deserted his family. He sold wooden flutes, and for some reason Willy idolizes his father. Willy believes his father was a rich and successful man. Ben challenges Biff to a fight, and Biff ends up on the ground.

Willy tries to show of the prowess of his sons by asking them to go steal some sand from a construction site to rebuild the front stoop. Ben tells them the simple story of how he became successful, and then is gone. The scene switches back to present-day.

Chunk 4 pages 52-70

Summary: (Explanation on next page >>)

Willy is yelling, "I was right! I was right!" as the present-day Linda comes down and finds him in the kitchen. Willy decides to go for a walk and leaves the house. He continues yelling as he walks down the street, lost in the past. Biff comes downstairs and talks to Linda. He wants to know how long Willy has been acting strangely. Linda accuses of Biff of not being home enough, or at least in contact with Willy. Linda says that Willy is all smiles and perfectly fine when Biff writes. It seems that just thinking about a happy future is all it takes for Willy to be content.

Through Linda's dialogue the reader sees that Willy and Biff have been at odds since the summer after Biff graduated from high school. Biff has no respect for his father anymore, although he used to in high school. Happy comes downstairs and joins the conversation.

Linda accuses Biff and Happy of deserting the family. She tells them that Willy is exhausted. He has worked all his life for his boys, and now his sons have turned their backs. Linda shows the boys that Willy has been trying to kill himself. Willy's car accidents are no accidents, and he has fixed a hose up to the water heater in the cellar to suck gas.

Biff tells Linda that he will try his best to please Willy and make do. Hap and Biff begin arguing about why Biff has always failed in the business world. During this argument Willy walks in the door. Biff and Willy begin arguing. As the tension increases, Hap tries to smooth things over by telling Willy that Biff is going to see Bill Oliver - Biff's previous employer - to see if he'll loan them money to start a sporting goods business. Hap comes up with a fantastical plan to make money and Willy immediately becomes all smiles. Biff is being pushed into something he doesn't want to do, but goes along with it for now just please his father.

Near the end of the scene, they begin fighting again and Willy goes up to bed upset. The boys go up and try to cheer him up.

Chunk 5 pages 70-99

Summary: (Explanation on next page >>)

It is morning the next day, and the beginning of Act II. Willy is very happy, knowing that his sons are going to see Bill Oliver and become successes. Nothing can ruin this. The boys have left the house, and Willy is preparing to go see his own boss, Howard, to tell him that he does not want to travel anymore and wishes to have a job on the sales floor in New York. As he leaves, Linda tells him that the boys are going to treat him to a big dinner that night at Frank's Chop House.

Willy has a long discussion with Howard, and finally Howard tells Willy that the firm is firing him. Willy is shocked. Howard is the son of the previous owner, who Willy was good friends with. Willy delivers a long monologue about sales, and eventually Howard leaves the office for a few minutes. Ben appears and Willy is transported back to Biff's senior year again. It is the day of the big football game. Biff has been asked to attend three Universities. Willy refuses Ben's business offer once more, and tries to defend his position as a "lowly" salesman. Still immersed in this fantasy, Willy leaves Howard's ranting as he walks down the street to Charlie's office.

At Charlie's office Willy runs into Bernard and they talk for a bit. Willy is almost in tears and asks Bernard what happened to Biff after his senior year. Biff had flunked math and was ready to complete the credit in summer school, but he did not and became a drifter. Bernard tells Willy that after Biff went to go see Willy on a business trip, he came back changed. Willy refuses to talk about what happened on the trip, and soon Bernard is off.

Willy and Charlie talk for a little while. Charlie gives Willy fifty dollars so that he can go home to Linda and pretend that it's his pay. Willy leaves the office almost in tears and we are then taken to Frank's Chop House where the boys are waiting for Willy.

Chunk 6 pages 99-123

Summary: (Explanation on next page >>)

It is now the same evening and Hap has arrived at Frank's Chop House where he and Biff and Willy are going to meet for dinner. Happy starts hitting on a woman at the next table and Biff comes in, distraught. Biff did not land the deal with Bill Oliver that day, and now he has to somehow tell the bad news to Willy. Hap tells Biff that it would be best if they simply lie to Willy and make up a story about how Bill Oliver is going to think it over. Biff does not want to do this. Biff's experience that day with Oliver made him realize everything that is wrong in his life and how to fix it, but he knows Willy will not be pleased.

Willy arrives and Biff begins telling his story. Biff did not actually even see Oliver, in fact he accidentally stole Oliver's fountain pen. As Biff tries to tell the truth, Hap keeps interrupting, trying to turn the story around so Willy will not be upset. Willy ends up leaving the table, and goes to the restroom where he lapses into another flashback. Biff and Happy leave the restaurant with a couple of women.

The reader is taken back to the summer after Biff flunked math his senior year. Willy is in a hotel room on a business trip with a woman he has been having an affair with. Biff has decided to come visit his father to talk to him about flunking the math class and ends up discovering his father's infidelity. We are then transported back to Frank's Chop House, present day.

Chunk 7 pages 123-end

Summary: (Explanation on next page >>)

Biff and Hap return home late that evening, after Willy. Linda is awake still, and none too happy that her sons abandoned Willy in the restaurant. She lambastes the boys about their behavior and Biff insists on seeing Willy. Linda will not permit it, knowing that an argument will ensue. Meanwhile, Willy is outside planting the garden and talking to Uncle Ben.

He talks to Ben about how his life insurance money will give Biff the start he needs to be success. They discuss this for a while and Biff comes out to talk to Willy. Biff has decided to simply leave the house and never come back or have any contact with his parents again.

Biff pulls Willy inside so he can say goodbye to both of them. A huge argument occurs. Biff pulls out the rubber hose that Willy has been sucking gas from the furnace with. The climax of the play occurs during this argument, and Biff goes to his room, promising to leave in the morning.

As the house settles down and Linda and the boys get ready for bed, Willy is in the kitchen. Ben appears again and tells Willy that his plan is sound. Willy tells Ben that Biff will finally realize how much he (Willy) is loved when Biff sees all of the hundreds of people that show up to his funeral. Ben leaves and Willy follows him out the door. Willy gets in his car and drives to his death.

The next scene is at the grave site after Willy's funeral. Only Biff, Hap, Linda, Charlie and Bernard are present. The play closes with just Linda onstage talking to Willy.


Throughout the play the Lomans in general cannot distinguish between reality and illusion, particularly Willy. This is a major theme and source of conflict in the play. Willy cannot see who he and his sons are. He believes that they are great men who have what it takes to be successful and beat the business world. Unfortunately, he is mistaken. In reality, Willy and sons are not, and cannot, be successful.

Certain lines in the play point to this character flaw that is present in Willy, Hap, and (for a time) Biff. For example, Willy believes that to be well liked is the means to being successful. This is an illusion that Willy lives in. Also, on the literal level, Willy very often lapses into a flashback and appears to be reliving conversations and situations that occurred years ago. This itself is an inability to see reality.

This reality versus illusion problem eventually brings about Willy's downfall. In the end, Willy believes that a man can be "worth more dead than alive." Charlie, always the voice of reality tells Willy, "A man isn't worth anything dead."

Willy is also unable to see change. He is man lost in the modern era of technology. He says, "How can they whip cheese?" and is constantly "In a race with the junkyard."

Willy has lost at trying to live the American Dream and the play can be viewed as commentary about society. Willy was a man who was worked all his life by the machinery of Democracy and Free Enterprise and was then spit mercilessly out, spent like a "piece of fruit."

Important Quotes

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