Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller by Peter Spalding (auth.)

By Peter Spalding (auth.)

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Extra info for Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Willy assures Linda that everything will be all right and gazes up at the moon between the apartment blocks as the lights fade for the end of the first act. Act II Sequence 1 Time: Present (day) Location: Brooklyn (kitchen) Summary Willy and Linda are at breakfast. The atmosphere is brisk and hopeful. The language is realistic with constant reference to domestic details. Willy and Linda both appear to be confident that Biff will be able to persuade Bill Oliver to back his project and that Willy himself will succeed in getting his job in New York with the Wagner company.

Frank Wagner, Willy's old employer, and a good friend to him, had a son, Howard, who also has two children. His family line will also continue, although, unlike Charley's, it will remain at much the same level of prosperity. Willy Loman's father had two sons. Of these, the elder, Ben, made a great fortune and left seven sons to enjoy it and possibly build upon it. Willy himself has two sons. Neither of them is especially prosperous and after them, in spite of Happy's regular promises to marry and settle down, there is little sign that posterity will continue through either of them.

Commentary The timeswitch is established very simply by Howard's exit and reinforced by the use of Ben's music. The action of the sequence is made up from the contrasting memories that fill Willy's mind on his way to Charley's office on the afternoon of the last day of his life. He recalls his crucial and, as it now appears, fatal decision to remain with the Wagner company instead of going to Alaska. The audience are now given a different view of the circumstances surrounding that decision. It has become obvious in the previous sequence that Willy consistently exaggerated his success with the Wagner company.

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