Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller




Music is heard, gay and bright. The curtain rises as the music fades away. Willy, in shirt sleeves, is sitting at the kitchen table, sipping coffee, his hat in his lap. Linda is filling his cup when she can.


WILLY: Wonderful coffee. Meal in itself.


LINDA: Can I make you some eggs?


WILLY: No. Take a breath.


LINDA: You look so rested, dear.


WILLY: I slept like a dead one. First time in months. Imagine, sleeping till ten on a Tuesday morning. Boys left nice and early, heh?


LINDA: They were out of here by eight o'clock.


WILLY: Good work!


LINDA: It was so thrilling to see them leaving together. I can't get over the shaving lotion in this house!


WILLY, smiling: Mmm--


LINDA: Biff was very changed this morning. His whole attitude seemed to be hopeful. He couldn't wait to get downtown to see Oliver.




WILLY: He's heading for a change. There's no question, there simply are certain men that take longer to get solidified. How did he dress?


LINDA: His blue suit. He's so handsome in that suit. He could be a-- anything in that suit!

Willy gets up from the table. Linda holds his jacket for him.


WILLY: There's no question, no question at all. Gee, on the way home tonight I'd like to buy some seeds.


LINDA, laughing: That'd be wonderful. But not enough sun gets back there. Nothing'll grow any more.


WILLY: You wait, kid, before it's all over we're gonna get a little place out in the country, and I'll raise some vegetables, a couple  chickens . . .


LINDA: You'll do it yet, dear.


Willy walks out of his jacket. Linda follows him.


WILLY: And they'll get married, and come for a weekend. I'd build a little guest house. 'Cause I got so many fine tools, all I'd need would be a little lumber and some peace of mind.


LINDA, joyfully: I sewed the lining . . .  


WILLY: I could build two guest houses, so they'd both come. Did he decide how much he's going to ask Oliver for?


LINDA, getting him into the jacket: He didn't mention it, but I imagine ten or fifteen thousand. You going to talk to Howard today?


WILLY: Yeah. I'll put it to him straight and simple. He'll just have to take me off the road.


LINDA: And Willy, don't forget to ask for a little advance, because we've got the insurance premium. It's the grace period now.




WILLY: That's a hundred . . . ?


LINDA: A hundred and eight, sixty-eight.  Because we're a little short again.


WILLY: Why are we short?


LINDA: Well, you had the motor job on the car . . .


WILLY: That goddam Studebaker!


UNDA: And you got one more payment on the refrigerator . . .


WILLY: But it just broke again!


LINDA: Well, it's old, dear.


WILLY: I told you we should've bought a well-advertised machine. Charley bought a General Electric and it's twenty years old and it's still good, that son-of-a-bitch.


LINDA: But, Willy--


WILLY: Whoever heard of a Hastings refrigerator? Once in my life I would like to own something outright before it's broken! I'm always in a race with the junkyard.  I just finished paying for the car and it's on its last legs. The refrigerator consumes belts like a goddam maniac. They time those things. They time them so when you finally paid for them, they're used up.


LINDA, buttoning up his jacket as he unbuttons it: All told, about two hundred dollars would carry us, dear. But that includes the last payment on the mortgage. After this payment, Willy, the house belongs to us.


WILLY: It's twenty-five years!


LINDA: Biff was nine years old when we bought it.


WILLY: Well, that's a great thing. To weather a twenty-five year mortgage is--


LINDA: It's an accomplishment.




WILLY: All the cement, the lumber, the reconstruction I put in this house! There ain't a crack to be found in it any more.


LINDA:  Well, it served its purpose.


WILLY: What purpose? Some stranger’ll come along, move in, and that's that. If only Biff would take this house, and raise a family . . .  He starts to go. Good-by, I'm late.


LINDA, suddenly remembering: Oh, I forgot! You're supposed to meet them for dinner.




LINDA: At Frank's Chop House on Forty-eighth near Sixth Avenue . . .


WILLY: Is that so! How about you?


LINDA: No, just the three of you. They're gonna blow you to a big meal!


WILLY: Don't say! Who thought of that?


LINDA: Biff came to me this morning, Willy, and he said, "Tell Dad we want to blow him to a big meal." Be there six o'clock. You and your two boys are going to have dinner.


WILLY: Gee whiz! That's really something.  I'm gonna knock Howard for a loop, kid. I'll get an advance and I'll come home with a New York job. Goddammit, now I'm gonna do it!


LINDA: Oh, that's the spirit, Willy!


WILLY: I will never get behind a wheel for the rest of my life!


LINDA: It's changing, Willy. I can feel it changing!


WILLY: Beyond a question. G'by, I'm late. He starts to go again.


LINDA, calling after him as she runs to the kitchen table for a handkerchief: You got your glasses?




WILLY, feels for them, then comes back in:  Yeah, yeah, got my glasses.


 LINDA, giving him the handkerchief: And a handkerchief.


WILLY: Yeah, handkerchief.


LINDA: And your saccharine?


WILLY: Yeah, my saccharine.


LINDA: Be careful on the subway stairs.


She kisses him, and a silk stocking is seen, hanging from her hand. Willy notices it.


WILLY: Will you stop mending stockings? At least while I'm in the house. It gets me nervous. I can't tell you. Please.


Linda hides the stocking in her hand as she follows Willy across the forestage in front of the house.


LINDA: Remember, Frank's Chop House.


WILLY, passing the apron: Maybe beets would grow out there.


LINDA, laughing: But you tried so many times.


WILLY: Yeah. Well, don't work hard today. He disappears around the right corner of the house.


LINDA: Be careful!


As Willy vanishes, Linda waves to him. Suddenly, the phone rings. She runs across the stage and into the kitchen and lifts it.


LINDA: Hello? Oh, Biff! I'm so glad you called, I just…  Yes, sure, I just told him. Yes, he'll be there for dinner at six o'clock, I didn't forget. Listen, I was just dying to tell you. You know that little rubber pipe I told you about? That he connected to the gas heater? I finally decided to go down the cellar this morning and take it away and destroy it. But it’s gone! Imagine? He took it away himself, it isn't there! She listens. When? Oh, then you took it. Oh-- nothing it's just that I'd hoped he'd taken it away himself. Oh, I'm not worried, darling, because this morning he left in such high spirits, it was like the old days! I'm not afraid any more. Did Mr. Oliver see you? . . . Well, you wait there then. And make a nice impression on him, darling. Just don't perspire too much before you see him. And have a nice time with Dad. He may have big news too! . . . That's right, a New York job. And be sweet to him tonight, dear. Be loving to him. Because he's only a little boat looking for a harbor. She is trembling with sorrow and joy. Oh, that’s wonderful, Biff, you’ll save his life. Thanks, darling. Just put your arm around him when he comes into the restaurant. Give him a smile. That's the boy ... Good-by, dear... You got your comb? ... That's fine. Good-by, Biff dear.





In the middle of her speech, Howard Wagner, thirty-six, wheels on a small typewriter table on which is a wire-recording machine and proceeds to plug it in. This is on the left forestage. Light slowly fades on Linda as it rises on Howard. Howard is intent on threading the machine and only glances over his shoulder as Willy appears.


WILLY: Pst! Pst!


HOWARD: Hello, Willy, come in.


WILLY: Like to have a little talk with you, Howard.


HOWARD: Sorry to keep you waiting. I'll be with you in a minute.


WILLY: What's that, Howard?


HOWARD: Didn't you ever see one of these? Wire recorder.


WILLY: Oh. Can we talk a minute?


HOWARD: Records things. Just got delivery yesterday. Been driving me crazy, the most terrific machine I ever saw in my life. I was up all night with it.




WILLY: What do you do with it?


HOWARD: I bought it for dictation, but you can do anything with it. Listen to this. I had it home last night. Listen to what I picked up. The first one is my daughter. Get this.


He flicks the switch and "Roll out the Barrel" is heard being whistled. Listen to that kid whistle.


WILLY: That is lifelike, isn't it?


HOWARD: Seven years old. Get that tone.


WILLY: Ts, ts. Like to ask a little favor of you....


The whistling breaks off, and the voice of Howard’s daughter is heard.


HIS DAUGHTER:  “Now you, Daddy.”


HOWARD: She's crazy for me! Again the same song is whistled. That's me! Ha! He winks.


WILLY: You're very good!


The whistling breaks off again. The machine runs silent for a moment.


HOWARD: Sh! Get this now, this is my son.


HIS SON: ''The capital of Alabama is Montgomery; the capital of Arizona is Phoenix;' the capital of Arkansas is Little Rock; the capital of California is Sacramento ...” and on, and on.


HOWARD, holding up five fingers: Five years old, Willy!


WILLY: He'll make an announcer some day!


HIS SON, continuing:  “The capital…”


HOWARD: Get that-- alphabetical order! The machine breaks off suddenly. Wait a minute. The maid kicked the plug out.


WILLY: It certainly is a--


HOWARD: Sh, for God's sake!




HIS SON: "It's nine o'clock. Bulova watch time. So I have to go to sleep."


WILLY: That really is--


HOWARD: Wait a minute! The next is my wife.


They wait.


HOWARD'S VOICE: "Go on, say something." Pause. "Well, you gonna talk?"


HIS WIFE: "I can't think of anything."


HOWARD'S VOICE:  "Well, talk-- it's turning."


HIS WIFE, shyly, beaten: "Hello." Silence.  Oh, Howard, I can't talk into this ...


HOWARD, snapping the machine off: That was my wife.


WILLY: That is a wonderful machine. Can we--


HOWARD: I tell you, Willy, I'm gonna take my camera, and my bandsaw, and all my hobbies, and out they go. This is the most fascinating relaxation I ever found.


WILLY: I think I'll get one myself.


HOWARD: Sure, they're only a hundred and a half. You can't do without it. Supposing you wanna hear Jack Benny, see? But you can't be at home at that hour. So you tell the maid to turn the radio on when Jack Benny comes on, and this automatically goes on with the radio . . .


WILLY: And when you come home you . . .


HOWARD: You can come home twelve o'clock, one o'clock, any time you like, and you get yourself a Coke and sit yourself down, throw the switch, and there's Jack Benny's program in the middle of the night!


WILLY: I'm definitely going to get one. Because lots of time I'm on the road, and I think to myself, what I must be missing on the radio!




HOWARD: Don’t you have a radio in the car?


WILLY: Well, yeah, but who ever thinks of turning it on?


HOWARD: Say, aren’t you supposed to be Boston?


WILLY: That’s what I want to talk to you about, Howard. You got a minute? He draws a chair in from the wing.


HOWARD: What happened? What are you doing here?


WILLY: Well…


HOWARD: You didn’t crack up again, did you?


WILLY: Oh, no . . . No.


HOWARD: Geez, you had me worried there for a minute. What’s the trouble?


WILLY: Well, to tell you the truth, Howard. I’ve come to the decision that I’d rather not travel anymore.


HOWARD: Not travel? Well, what will you do?


WILLY: Remember, Christmas time when you had the party here? You said you’d try to think of something for me here in town.


HOWARD: With us?


WILLY: Well, sure.


HOWARD: Oh, yeah, yeah.  I remember. Well, I couldn't think of anything for you, Willy.


WILLY: I tell ya, Howard. The kids are are grown up, y'know. I don't need much anymore. If I could take home--  well, sixty-five dollars a week, I could swing it


HOWARD: Yeah, but Willy, see I--


WILLY: I tell ya why, Howard. Speaking frankly and between the two of us, y'know-- I'm just a little tired.




HOWARD: Oh, I could understand that, Willy. But you're a road man, Willy, and we do a road business. We've only got a half-dozen salesmen on the floor here.


WILLY: God knows, Howard, I never asked a favor of any man.  But I was with the firm when your father used to carry you in here in his arms.


HOWARD: I know that, Willy, but-- 


WILLY: Your father came to me the day you were born and asked me what I thought of the name Howard, may he rest in peace.


HOWARD: I appreciate that, Willy, but there just is no spot here for you. If I had a spot I'd slam you right in, but I just don't have a single solitary spot.


He looks for his lighter. Willy has picked it up and gives it to him. Pause.


WILLY, with increasing anger: Howard, all I need to set my table is fifty dollars a week.


HOWARD: But where am I going to put you, kid?


WILLY: Look, it isn't a question of whether I can sell merchandise, is it?


HOWARD: No, but it's a business, kid, and everybody's gotta pull his own weight.


WILLY, desperately, Just let me tell you a story, Howard.


HOWARD: 'Cause you gotta admit, business is business.


WILLY, angrily: Business is definitely business, but just listen for a minute. You don't understand this. When I was a boy-- eighteen, nineteen, I was already on the road. And there was a question in my mind as to whether selling had a future for me. Because in those days I had a yearning to go to Alaska. See, there were three gold strikes in one month in Alaska and I felt like going out. Just for the ride, you might say.




HOWARD, barely interested: Don't say.


WILLY: Oh, yeah, my father lived many years in Alaska. He was an adventurous man. We've got quite a little streak of self-reliance in our family. I thought I’d go out with my older brother and try to locate him, and maybe settle in the North with the old man. And I was almost decided to go, when I met a salesman in the Parker House. His name was Dave Singleman. And he was eighty-four years old, and he'd drummed merchandise  in thirty-one states. And old Dave, he'd go up to his room, y'understand, put on his green velvet slippers--  I’ll never forget-- he’d pick up his phone and call the buyers and without ever leaving his room, at the age eighty-four, he made his living. And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people? Do you know? when he died-- and by the way he died the death of a salesman, in his green velvet slippers in the smoker of the New York, New Haven and Hartford, going into Boston-- when he died, hundreds of salesmen and buyers were at his funeral. Things were sad on a lotta trains for months after that. He stands up. Howard has not looked at him. In those days there was personality in it, Howard. There was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in it. Today, it's all cut and dried, and there's no chance for bringing friendship to bear-- or personality. You see what I mean? They don't know me any more.


HOWARD, moving away to the right: That's just the thing, Willy.


WILLY: If I had forty dollars a week-- that's all I'd need. Forty dollars, Howard.


HOWARD: Kid, I can't take blood from a stone, I-- 




WILLY, desperation is on him now: Howard, the year Al Smith was nominated, your father came to me and--


HOWARD, starting to go: I've got to see some people, kid.


WILLY, stopping him: I'm talking about your father! There were promises made across this desk! You mustn't tell me you've got people to see-- I put thirty-four years into this firm, Howard, and now I can't pay my insurance! You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away-- a man is not a piece of fruit. After a pause: Now pay attention. Your father-- in 1928 I had a big year. I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in commissions.


HOWARD, impatiently: Now, Willy, you never averaged-- 


WILLY, hanging his hand on the desk: I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in the year 1928! And your father came to me-- or rather, I was in the office here-- it was right over this desk-- and, he put his hand on my shoulder--


HOWARD, getting up: You'll have to excuse me, Willy, I gotta see some people. Pull yourself together. Going out: I'll be back in a little while.


On Howard's exit, the light on his chair grows very bright and strange.


WILLY; Pull myself together! What the hell did I say to him? My God, I was yelling at him! How could I! Willy breaks off, staring at the light, which occupies the chair, animating it. He approaches this chair, standing across the desk from it. Frank, Frank, don't you remember what you told me that time? How you put your hand on my shoulder, and Frank... He leans on the desk and as he speaks the dead man's name he accidentally switches on the recorder and instantly:


HOWARD'S SON:  “… of New York is Albany. The capital of Ohio is Cincinnati, the capital of Rhode Island is . . .” The recitation continues.




WILLY, leaping away with fright, shouting: Ha! Howard! Howard! Howard!


HOWARD, rushing in: What happened?


WILLY, pointing at the machine, which continues nasally, childishly, with the capital cities: Shut it off! Shut it off!


HOWARD, pulling the plug out: Look, Willy…


WILLY, pressing his hands to his eye: I gotta get myself some coffee. I'll get some coffee...


Willy starts to walk out. Howard stops him.


HOWARD, rolling up the cord: Willy, look…


WILLY: I'll go to Boston.


 HOWARD: Willy, you can't go to Boston for us.


WILLY: Why can't I go?


HOWARD: I don't want you to represent us. I've been meaning to tell you for a long time now.


WILLY: Howard, are you firing me?


HOWARD: I think you need a good long rest, Willy.


WILLY: Howard-- 


HOWARD: And when you feel better, come back, and we'll see if we can work something out.


WILLY: But I gotta earn money, Howard.  I'm in no position to--


HOWARD: Where are your sons? Why don't your sons give you a hand?


WILLY: They're working on a very big deal.


HOWARD: This is no time for false pride, Willy. You go to your sons and you tell them that you're tired. You've got two great boys, haven't you?




WILLY: Oh, no question, no question, but in the meantime…


HOWARD: Then that's that, heh?


WILLY: All right, I'll go to Boston tomorrow.


HOWARD: No, no.


WILLY: I can't throw myself on my sons. I'm not a cripple!


HOWARD: Look, kid, I'm busy this morning.


WILLY, grasping Howard's arm: Howard, you've got to let me go to Boston!


HOWARD, hard, keeping himself under control: I've got a line of people to see this morning. Sit down, take five minutes, and pull yourself together, and then go home, will ya? I need the office, Willy. He starts to go, turns remembering the recorder, starts to push it off the table holding the recorder. Oh, yeah. Whenever you can this week, stop by and drop off the samples. You'll feel better, Willy, and then come back and we'll talk.  Pull yourself together, kid, there's people outside.


Howard exits, pushing the table off left. Willy stares into space, exhausted. Now the music is heard-- Ben's music-- first distantly, then closer, closer. As Willy speaks, Ben enters from the right. He carries valise and umbrella.


WILLY: Oh, Ben, how did you do it? What is the answer? Did you wind up the Alaska deal already?


BEN: Doesn't take much time if you know what you're doing. Just a short business trip. Boarding ship in an hour. Wanted to say good-by.


WILLY: Ben, I've got to talk to you.


BEN, glancing at his watch: Haven't the time, William.


WILLY, crossing the apron to Ben: Ben, nothing's working out. I don't know what to do.




BEN: Now, look here, William. I've bought timberland in Alaska and I need a man to look after things for me.


WILLY: God, timberland! Me and my boys in those grand outdoors!


BEN: You've a new continent at your doorstep, William. Get out of these cities, they're, full of talk and time payments and courts of law. Screw on your fists and you can fight for a fortune up there.


WILLY: Yes, yes! Linda, Linda!


Linda enters as of old, with the wash.


LINDA: Oh, you're back?


BEN: I haven't much time.


WILLY: No, wait! Linda, he's got a proposition for me in Alaska.


LINDA: But you've got-- To Ben: He's got a beautiful job here.


WILLY: But in Alaska, kid, I could-- 


LINDA: You're doing well enough, Willy!


BEN, to Linda: Enough for what my dear?


LINDA, frightened of Ben and angry at him: Don't say those things to him! Enough to be happy right here, right now. To Willy, while Ben laughs: Why must everybody conquer the world? You're well liked, and the boys love, you, and someday-- to Ben -- why, old man Wagner told him just the other day that if he keeps it up he'll be a member of the firm, didn't he, Willy?


WILLY: Sure, sure. I am building something with this firm, Ben, and if a man is building something he must be on the right track, mustn't he?




BEN: What are you building? Lay your hand on it. Where is it?


WILLY, hesitantly: That's true, Linda, there's nothing.


LINDA: Why? To Ben: There's a man eighty-four years old--


WILLY: That's right, Ben, that's right. When I look at that man I say, what is there to worry about?


BEN: Bah!


WILLY: It's true, Ben. All he has to do is go into any city, pick up the phone, and he's making his living and you know why?


BEN, picking up his valise: I've got to go.


WILLY, holding Ben back: Look at this boy!


Biff, in his high school sweater, enters carrying suitcase. Happy carries Biff's shoulder guards, gold helmet, and football pants…


WILLY: Without a penny to his name, three great universities are begging for him, and from there the sky's the limit, because it's not what you do, Ben.  It's who you know and the smile on your face! It's contacts, Ben, contacts! The whole wealth of Alaska passes over the lunch table at the Commodore Hotel, and that's the wonder, the wonder of this country, that a man can end with diamonds here on the basis of being liked! He turns to Biff. And that's why when you get out on that field today it's important. Because thousands of people will be rooting for you and loving you. To Ben, who has again begun to leave: And Ben! when he walks into a business office his name will sound out like a bell and all the doors will open to him! I've seen it, Ben, I've seen it a thousand times! You can't feel it with your hand like timber, but it's there!


BEN: Good-by, William.




WILLY: Ben, am I right? Don't you think I’m right? I value your advice.


BEN: There's a new continent at your doorstep, William. You could walk out rich. Rich! He is gone.


WILLY: We’ll do it here, Ben! You hear me? We're gonna do it here!


Young Bernard rushes in. The gay music of the boys is heard.


BERNARD:  Oh, gee. I was afraid you left already!


WILLY: Why? What time is it?


BERNARD:  It’s half-past one!


WILLY: Well, come on, everybody! Ebbets Field next stop! Where's the pennants? He runs through the wall-line of the kitchen and out into the living room.


LINDA, to Biff: Did you pack fresh underwear?


BIFF, who has been limbering up: I want to go!


BERNARD: Biff, I'm carrying your helmet, ain't I?


HAPPY: No, I’m carrying the helmet.


BERNARD : Oh, Biff, you promised me.


HAPPY: I'm carrying the helmet.


BERNARD : How am I going to get in the locker room?


LINDA: Let him carry the shoulder guards. She puts her hat and coat on in the kitchen.


BERNARD : Can I, Biff? 'Cause I told everybody I'm going to be in the locker room.


HAPPY: In Ebbets Field it's the clubhouse.


BERNARD: I meant the clubhouse. Biff!


HAPPY: Biff!




BIFF, grandly, after a slight pause: Let him carry the shoulder guards.


HAPPY, as he gives Bernard the shoulder guards: Stay close to us now.


Willy rushes in with the pennants.


WILLY, handing them out: Everybody wave when Biff comes out on the field. Happy and Bernard run off. You set now, boy?


The music has died away . . .


BIFF: Ready to go, Pop. Every muscle is ready.


WILLY, at the edge of the apron: You realize what this means?


BIFF: That's right, Pop.


WILLY, feeling Biff's muscles: You're comin' home this afternoon captain of the All-Scholastic Championship Team of the City of New York …


BIFF: I got it, Pop. And remember, pal, when I take off my helmet, that touchdown is for you.


WILLY: Let's go! He is starting out, with his arm around Biff, when Charley enters, as of old in knickers. I got no room for you, Charley.


CHARLEY: Room? For what?


WILLY: In the car.


CHARLEY: You goin' for a ride? I wanted to shoot some casino.


WILLY, furiously: Casino! Incredulously: Don't you realize what today is?


LINDA: Oh, he knows, Willy. He’s just kidding you.


WILLY: That’s nothing to kid about.




CHARLEY: No, Linda, what's goin' on?


LINDA: He's playing in Ebbets Field.


CHARLEY: Baseball in this weather?


WILLY: Don’t talk to him. Come on, come on. He is pushing them out.


CHARLEY: Wait a minute, didn't you hear the news?


WILLY: What?


CHARLEY: Don't you listen to the radio? Ebbets Field just blew up.


WILLY: You go to hell! Charley laughs. Pushing them out: Come on, come on! We're late.


CHARLEY, as they go: Knock a homer, Biff, knock a homer!


WILLY, the last to leave, turning to Charley: I don't think that was funny, Charley. This is the greatest day of his life.


CHARLEY: Willy, when are you going to grow up?


WILLY: Yeah, heh? When this game is over, Charley, you'll be laughing out the other side of your face. They'll be calling him another Red Grange. Twenty-five thousand a year.


CHARLEY, kidding: Is that so?


WILLY: Yeah, that's so.


CHARLEY: Well, then, I'm sorry, Willy. But tell me something . . .


WILLY: What?


CHARLEY: Who is Red Grange?


WILLY: Put up your hands. Goddam you, put up your, hands!


Charley, chuckling, shakes his head and walks away, around the left corner of the stage. Willy follows him. The music rises to a mocking frenzy.




WILLY: Who the hell do you think you are, better than everybody else? You don't know everything, you big, ignorant, stupid . . .  Put up your hands!


Light rises, on the right side of the forestage, on a small table in the reception-room of Charley's office. Traffic sounds are heard. Bernard: now mature, sits whistling to himself. A pair of tennis rackets and an overnight bag are on the floor beside him.


WILLY, offstage: What are you walking away for? Don't walk away! If you're going to say something say it to my face! I know you laugh at me behind my back. You'll laugh out of the other side of your goddam face after this game. Touchdown! Touchdown! Eighty thousand people! Touchdown! Right between the goal posts.


Bernard is a quiet, earnest, but self-assured young man. Willy's voice is coming from right upstage now. Bernard lowers his feet off the table and listens. Jenny, his father's secretary, enters.


JENNY, distressed: Say, Bernard, will you go out in the hall?


BERNARD: What is that noise? Who is it?


JENNY: Mr. Loman. He just got off the elevator.


BERNARD, getting up: Who's he arguing with?


JENNY: Nobody. There's nobody with him. I can't deal with him anymore, and your father gets all upset every time he comes. I've got a lot of typing to do, and your father's waiting to sign it. Will you see him?


WILLY, entering: Touchdown! Touch-- He sees Jenny. Jenny, Jenny, good to see you. How're ya? Workin'? Or still honest?


JENNY: Fine. How've you been feeling?




WILLY: Not much any more. Jenny. Ha, ha! He is surprised to see the rackets.


BERNARD: Hello, Uncle Willy.


WILLY, almost shocked: Bernard! Well, look who's here! He comes quickly, guiltily, to Bernard and warmly shakes his hand.


BERNARD: How are you? Good to see you.


WILLY: What are you doing here?


BERNARD: Oh, just stopped by to see Pop. Get off my feet till my train leaves. I'm going to Washington in a few minutes.


WILLY: Is he in?


BERNARD: Yes, he's in his office with the accountant. Sit down.


WILLY, sitting down: What're you going to do in Washington?


BERNARD: Oh, just a case I've got there, Willy.


WILLY: That so? Indicating the rackets: You going to play tennis there?


BERNARD: I'm staying with a friend who's got a court.


WILLY: Don't say. His own tennis court. Must be fine people, I bet.


BERNARD: They are very nice. Dad tells me Biff's in town.


WILLY, with a big smile: Yeah, Biff's in. Working on a very big deal, Bernard.


BERNARD: What's Biff doing?


WILLY: Well, he's been doing very big things in the West. But he decided to establish himself here. Very big. We're having dinner. Did I hear your wife had a boy?




BERNARD: That's right. Our second.


WILLY: Two boys! What do you know!


BERNARD: What kind of a deal has Biff got?


WILLY: Well. Bill Oliver-- very big sporting-goods man-- he wants Biff very badly. Called him in from the West. Long distance carte blanche, special deliveries. Your friends have their own private tennis court?


BERNARD: You still with the old firm, Willy?


WILLY, after a pause: I'm-- I'm overjoyed to see how you made the grade, Bernard, overjoyed. It's an encouraging thing to see a young man really-- really-- Looks very good for Biff-- very-- He breaks off, thenBemard-- He is so full of emotion, he breaks off again.


BERNARD: What is it, Willy?


WILLY, small and alone: What-- what's the secret?


BERNARD: What secret?


WILLY: How-- how did you? Why didn't he ever catch on?


BERNARD: I wouldn't know that, Willy.


WILLY, confidentially, desperately: You were his friend, his boyhood friend. There's something I don't understand about it. His life ended after that Ebbets Field game. From the age of seventeen nothing good ever happened to him.


BERNARD: He never trained himself for anything.


WILLY: But he did, he did. After high school he took so many correspondence courses. Radio mechanics; television; God knows what, and never made the slightest mark.


BERNARD, taking off his glasses: Willy, do you want to talk candidly?


WILLY, rising, faces Bernard: I regard you as a very brilliant man, Bernard. I value your advice.




BERNARD: Oh, the hell with the advice, Willy. I couldn't advise you. There's just one thing I've always wanted to ask you. When he was supposed to graduate, and the math teacher flunked him-- 


WILLY: Oh, that son-a-bitch ruined his life.


BERNARD: Yeah, but, Willy, all he had to do was go to summer school and make up that subject.


WILLY: That's, right, that's right.


BERNARD: Did you tell him not to go to summer school?


WILLY: Me? I begged him to go. I ordered him to go!


BERNARD: Then why wouldn’t he go?


WILLY: Why? Why! Bernard, that question has been trailing me like a ghost for the last fifteen years. He flunked the subject, and laid down and died like a hammer hit him!


BERNARD: Take it easy, kid.


WILLY: Let me talk to you-- I got nobody to talk to. Bernard, Bernard, was it my fault? Y'see? It keeps going around in my mind, maybe I did something to him. I got nothing to give him.


BERNARD: Don't take it so hard.


WILLY: Why did he lay down? What is the story there? You were his friend!


BERNARD: Willy, I remember, it was June, and our grades came out. And he'd flunked math.


WILLY: That son-of-a-bitch!


BERNARD: No, it wasn't right then. Biff just got very angry, I remember, and he was ready to enroll in summer school.


WILLY, surprised: He was?


BERNARD: He wasn't beaten by it at all. But then, Willy, he disappeared from the block for almost a month. And I got the idea that he'd gone up to New England to see you. Did he have a talk with you then?




Willy stares in silence.




WILLY, with a strong edge of resentment in his voice: Yeah, he came to Boston. What about it?


BERNARD : Well, just that when he came back-- I'll never forget this, it always mystifies me. Because I'd thought so well of Biff, even though he'd always taken advantage of me. I loved him, Willy, y'know? And he came back after that month and took his sneakers-- remember those sneakers with University of Virginia printed on them? He was, so proud of those, wore them every day. And he took them down in the cellar, and burned them up in the furnace. We had a fist fight. It lasted at least half an hour. Just the two of us, punching each other down the cellar, and crying right through it. I've often thought how strange it was that I knew-- he'd given up his life. What happened in Boston, Willy?


Willy looks at him as at an intruder.


BERNARD: I just bring it up because you asked me.


WILLY, angrily: Nothing. What do you mean, "What happened? What's that got to do with anything?


BERNARD: Well, don't get sore.


WILLY: What are you trying to do, blame it on me? If a boy lays down is that my fault?


BERNARD: Now, Willy, don't get--


WILLY: Well, don't-- don't talk to me that way! What does that mean, "What happened?"


Charley enters. He is in his vest, and he carries a bottle of bourbon.




CHARLEY: Hey, you're going to miss that train. He waves the bottle.


BERNARD: Yeah, I'm going. He takes the bottle. Thanks, Pop. He picks up his rackets and bag. Good-by, Willy, and don't worry about it. You know, "If at first you don't succeed…”


WILLY: Yes, I believe in that.


BERNARD: But sometimes, Willy, it's better for a man just to walk away.


WILLY: Walk away?


BERNARD: That's right.


WILLY: But if you can't walk away?


BERNARD, after a slight pause: I guess that's when it's tough. Extending his hand: Good-by, Willy.


WILLY, shaking Bernard’s hand: Good-by, boy.


CHARLEY, an arm on Bernard’s shoulder: How do you like this kid? Gonna argue a case in front of the Supreme Court.


BERNARD, protesting: Pop!


WILLY, genuinely shocked, pained, and happy: No! The Supreme Court!


BERNARD: I gotta run: 'Bye, Dad!


BIFF: Knock 'em dead, Bernard!


Bernard goes off.


WILLY, as Charley takes out his wallet: The Supreme Court! And he didn't even mention it!


CHARLEY, counting out money on the desk: He don't have to-- he's gonna do it.


WILLY: And you never told him what to do, did you? You never took any interest in him.




CHARLEY: My salvation is that I never took any interest in anything. There's some money-- fifty dollars. I got an accountant inside.


WILLY: Charley, look . . . With difficulty: I got my insurance to pay. If you can manage it--  I need a hundred and ten dollars. . .


Charley doesn't reply for a moment; merely stops moving.


WILLY: I'd draw it from my bank but Linda would know, and I . . .


CHARLEY: Sit down, Willy.


WILLY, moving toward the chair: I'm keeping an account of everything, remember. I'll pay every penny back. He sits.


CHARLEY: Now listen to me! Willy.


WILLY: I want you to know I appreciate...


CHARLEY, sitting down on the table: Willy, what're you doin'? What the hell is goin' on in your head?


WILLY: Why? I'm simply…


CHARLEY: I offered you a job. You can make fifty dollars a week. And I won't send you on the road.


WILLY: I've got a job.


CHARLEY: Without pay? What kind a job is a job without pay? He rises. Now, look, kid, enough is enough. I'm no genius but I know when I'm being insulted.


WILLY: Insulted!


CHARLEY: Why don't you want to work for me?


WILLY: What's the matter with you? I've got a job.


CHARLEY: Then what're you walkin' in here every week for?


WILLY, getting up: Well, if you don't want me to walk in here-- 




CHARLEY: I am offering you a job.


WILLY: I don't want your goddam job!


CHARLEY: When the hell are you going to grow up?


WILLY, furiously: You big ignoramus, if you say that to me again I'll rap you one! I don't care how big you are! He's ready to fight.




CHARLEY, kindly, going to him: How much do you need, Willy?


WILLY: Charley, I'm strapped, I'm strapped. I don't know what to do. I was just fired.


CHARLEY: Howard fired you?


WILLY: That snotnose. Imagine that? I named him. I named him Howard.


CHARLEY: Willy, when're you gonna realize that them things don't mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can't sell that. The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you're a salesman, and you don't know that . . .


WILLY: I've always tried to think otherwise, I guess. I always felt that if a man was impressive, and well liked, that nothing--


CHARLIE: Why must everybody like you? Who liked J. P. Morgan? Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he'd look like a butcher. But with his pockets on he was very well liked. Now listen, Willy, I know you don't like me, and nobody can say I'm in love with you, but I'll give you a job because-- just for the hell of it, put it that way. Now what do you say?


WILLY: I-I just can't work for you, Charley.


CHARLEY: What're you, jealous of me?




WILLY: I can't work for you, that's all, don't ask me why…


CHARLEY, angered, takes out more bills: You been jealous of me all your life, you damned fool! Here, pay your insurance. He puts the money in Willy's hand.


WILLY: I’m keeping strict accounts.


CHARLEY: I've got some work to do. Take care of yourself. And pay your insurance.


WILLY, moving to the right: Funny, y'know? After all the highways, and the, trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.


CHARLEY: Willy, nobody's worth nothin' dead. After a slight pause: Did you hear what I said?


Willy stands still, dreaming.




WILLY: Apologize to Bernard for me when you see him. I didn't mean to argue with him. He's a fine boy. They're all fine boys, and they'll end up big-- all of them. Someday they'll all play tennis together. Wish me luck, Charley. He saw Bill Oliver today.


CHARLEY: Good luck.


WILLY, on the verge of tears: Charley, you're the only friend I got. Isn't that a remarkable thing?


He goes out.




Charley stares after him a moment and follows. All light blacks out. Suddenly raucous music is heard, and a red glow rises behind the screen at right. Stanley, a young waiter, appears, carrying a table, followed by Happy, who is carrying two chairs.


STANLEY, putting the table down: That's all right, Mr. Loman, I can handle it myself. He turns and takes the chairs from Happy and places them at the table.




HAPPY, glancing around: Oh, this is better.


STANLEY: Sure, in the front there you're in the middle of all kinds a noise. Whenever you got a party, Mr. Loman, you just tell me and I’ll put you back here. Y'know, there's a lotta people they don't like it private, because when they go out they like to see a lotta action around them because they're sick and tired to stay in the house by theirself. But I know you, you ain't from Hackensack. You know what I mean?


HAPPY, sitting down: So how's it coming, Stanley?


STANLEY: Ah, it's a dog's life. I only wish during the war they'd a took me in the Army. I coulda been dead by now.


HAPPY: My brother's back, Stanley.


STANLEY: Oh, he come back, heh? From the Far West.


HAPPY: Yeah, big cattle man, my brother, so treat him right And my father's coming too.


STANLEY: Oh, your father too!


HAPPY: You got a couple of nice lobsters?


STANLEY: Hundred per cent, big.


HAPPY: I want them with the claws.


STANLEY: Don't worry, I don't give you no mice. Happy laughs. How about some wine? It'll put a head on the meal.


HAPPY: No. You remember, Stanley, that recipe I brought you from overseas? With the champagne in it?


STANLEY: Oh, yeah, sure. I still got it tacked up yet in the kitchen. But that'll have to cost a buck apiece anyways.


HAPPY: That's all right.


STANLEY: What'd you, hit a number or somethin'?


HAPPY: No, it's a little celebration. My brother is-- I think he pulled off a big deal today. I think we're going into business together.




STANLEY: Great! That's the best for you. Because a family business, you know what I mean?-- that's the best.


HAPPY: That's what I think.


STANLEY: 'Cause what's the 'difference? Somebody steals? It's in the family. Know what I mean? Sottovoce: Like this bartender here. The boss is goin' crazy what kinda leak he's got in the cash register. You put it in but it don't come out.


HAPPY, raising his head: Sh!




HAPPY: You notice I wasn't lookin' right or left, was I?




HAPPY: And my eyes are closed.


STANLEY: So what's the--  ?


HAPPY: Strudel’s comin’.


STANLEY, catching on, looks around: Ah, no, there's no--


He breaks off as a furred, lavishly dressed girl enters and sits at the next table. Both follow her with their eyes.


STANLEY: Geez, how'd ya know?


HAPPY: I got radar or something. Staring directly at her profile: OOOOOOOO... Stanley.


STANLEY: I think that's for you, Mr. Loman.


HAPPY: Look at that mouth. Oh, God. And the binoculars.


STANLEY: Geez, you got a life, Mr. Loman.


HAPPY: Wait on her.




STANLEY, going to the girl's table: Would you like a menu, ma'am?


GIRL: I'm expecting someone, but I'd like a-- 


HAPPY: Why don't you bring her-- excuse me, miss, do you mind? I sell champagne, and I'd like you to try my brand. Bring her a champagne, Stanley.


GIRL: That's awfully nice of you.


HAPPY: Don't mention it. It's all company money. He laughs.


GIRL: That's a charming product to be selling, isn’t it?


HAPPY: Oh, Gets to be like everything else. Selling is selling, y’know.


GIRL: I suppose.


HAPPY: You don't happen to sell, do you?


GIRL: No, I don't sell.


HAPPY: Would you object to a compliment from a stranger? You ought to be on a magazine cover.


GIRL: looking at him a little archly: I have been. Stanley comes in with a glass of champagne.


HAPPY: What'd I say before, Stanley? You see? She's a cover girl.


STANLEY: Oh, I could see, I could see.


HAPPY, to the Girl: What magazine?


GIRL: Oh, a lot them. She takes the drink. Thank you.


HAPPY: You know what they say in France, don't you?  "Champagne is the drink of the complexion.” H’ya, Biff!


Biff has entered and sits with Happy.


BIFF: Hello, kid. Sorry I'm late.




HAPPY: I just got here. Uh, Miss--?


GIRL: Forsythe.


HAPPY: Miss Forsythe, this is my brother.


BIFF: Is Dad here?


HAPPY: His name is Biff. You might've heard him. Great football player.


GIRL: Really? What team?


HAPPY: Are you familiar with football?


GIRL: No, I'm afraid I'm not.


HAPPY: Biff is quarterback with the New York Giants.


GIRL: Well, that is nice, isn't it? She drinks.


HAPPY: Good health.


GIRL: I'm happy to meet you.


HAPPY: That's my name. Hap. It's really Harold, but at West Point they called me Happy.


GIRL, now really impressed: Oh, I see. How do you do? She turns her profile.


BIFF: Isn't Dad coming?


HAPPY: You want her?


BIFF: Oh, I could never make that.


HAPPY: I remember the time that idea would never come into your head. Where's the old confidence, Biff?


BIFF: I just saw Oliver--


HAPPY: Wait a minute. I've got to see that old confidence again. Do you want her? She's on call.


BIFF: Oh, no. He turns to look at the Girl.




HAPPY: I’m telling you. Watch this. Turning to the Girl: Honey? She turns to him. Are you busy?


GIRL: Well, I am ... but I could make a phone call.


HAPPY: Do that, will you, honey? And see if you can get a friend. We'll be here for a while. Biff is one of the greatest football players in the country.


GIRL, standing up: Well, I'm certainly happy to meet you.


HAPPY: Come back soon.


GIRL: I'll try


HAPPY: Don't try, honey, try hard.


The Girl exits. Stanley follows, shaking his head in bewildered admiration.


HAPPY: Isn't that 'a shame now? A beautiful girl like that? That's why I can't get married. There's not a good woman in a thousand. New York is loaded with them, kid!


BIFF: Hap, look--


HAPPY: I told you she was on call!


BIFF, strangely unnerved: Cut it out, will ya? I want to say something to you.


HAPPY: Did you see Oliver?


BIFF: I saw him all right. Now look, I want to tell Dad a couple things and I want you to help me.


HAPPY: What? Is he going to back you?


BIFF: Are you crazy? You're out of your goddam head, you know that?


HAPPY: Why? What happened?


BIFF, breathlessly: I did a terrible thing today, Hap. It's been the strangest day I ever went through. I'm all numb, I swear.




HAPPY: You mean he wouldn't see you?


BIFF: Well, I waited six hours for him, see? All day. Kept sending my name in. Even tried to date his secretary so she'd get me to him, but no soap.


HAPPY: Because you're not showin' the old confidence, Biff. He remembered you, didn't he?


BIFF, stopping Happy with a gesture: Finally, about five o'clock, he comes out. Didn't remember who I was or anything. I felt like such an idiot, Hap.


HAPPY: Did you tell him my Florida idea?


BIFF: He walked away. I saw him for one minute. I got so mad I could've torn the walls down! How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I'd been a salesman for him! And then he gave me one look and-- I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been! We've been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk.


HAPPY: What'd you do?


BIFF, with great tension and wonder: Well, he left, see. And the secretary went out. I was all alone in the waiting-room.  I don't know what came over me, Hap. The next thing I know I'm in his office-- paneled walls, everything. I can't explain it. I-- Hap, I took his fountain pen.


HAPPY: Geez, did he catch you?


BIFF: I ran out. I ran down all eleven flights. I ran and ran and ran.


HAPPY: That was an awful dumb--  what'd you do that for?


BIFF, agonized: I don't know, I just-- wanted to take something, I don't know. You gotta help me, Hap, I'm gonna tell Pop.


HAPPY: You crazy? What for?




BIFF: Hap, he's got to understand that I’m not the man somebody lends that kind of money to. He thinks I’ve been spiting him all these years and it's eating him up.


HAPPY: That's just it. You tell him something nice.


BIFF: I can't.


HAPPY: Say you got a lunch date with Oliver tomorrow.


BIFF: So what do I do tomorrow?


HAPPY: You leave the house tomorrow and come back at night and say Oliver is thinking it over. And he thinks it over for a couple of weeks, and gradually it fades away and nobody's the worse.


BIFF: But it'll go on forever!


HAPPY: Dad is never so happy as when he's looking forward to something!


Willy enters.


HAPPY: Hello, scout!


WILLY: Gee, I haven't been here in years!


Stanley has followed Willy in and sets a chair for him. Stanley starts off but Happy stops him.


HAPPY: Stanley!


Stanley stands by, waiting for an order.


BIFF, going to Willy with guilt, as to an invalid: Sit down, Pop. You want a drink?


WILLY: Sure, I don't mind.


BIFF: Let's get a load on.


WILLY: You look worried.


BIFF: N-no. To Stanley: Scotch all around. Make it doubles.




STANLEY: Doubles, right. He goes.


WILLY: You had a couple already, didn't you?


BIFF: Just a couple, yeah.


WILLY: Well, what happened, boy? Nodding affirmatively, with a smile: Everything go all right?


BIFF, takes a breath, then reaches out and grasps Willy's hand: Pal . . . He is smiling bravely, and Willy is smiling too. I had an experience today.


HAPPY: Terrific, Pop.


WILLY: That so? What happened?


BIFF, high, slightly alcoholic, above the earth: I'm going to tell you everything from first to last. It's been a strange day. Silence. He looks around, composes himself as best he can, but his breath keeps breaking the rhythm of his voice. I had to wait quite a while for him, and--


WILLY: Oliver?


BIFF: Yeah, Oliver. All day, as a matter of cold fact. And a lot-- instances-- facts, Pop, facts about my life came back to me. Who was it, Pop? Who ever said I was a salesman with Oliver?


WILLY: Well, you were.


BIFF: No, Dad, I was a shipping clerk.


WILLY: But you were practically—


BIFF, with determination: Dad, I don't know who said it first, but I was never a salesman for Bill Oliver.


WILLY: What're you talking about?


BIFF: Let's hold on to the facts tonight, Pop. We're not going to get anywhere bullin' around. I was a shipping clerk.


WILLY, angrily: All right, now listen to me-- 




BIFF: Why don't you let me finish?


WILLY:  I’m not interested in stories about the past or any crap of that kind because the woods are burning, boys, you understand? There's a big blaze going on all around. I was fired today…


BIFF, shocked:  How could you be?


WILLY: I was fired and I'm looking for a little good news to tell your mother, because the woman has waited and the woman has suffered. The gist of it is that I haven't got a story left in my head, Biff. So don't give me a lecture about facts and aspects. I am not interested. Now what've you got to say to me?


Stanley enters with three drinks. They wait until he leaves.


WILLY: Did you see Oliver?


BIFF: Jesus, Dad!


WILLY: You mean you didn't go up there?


HAPPY: Sure he went up there.


BIFF: I did. I-- saw him. How could they fire you?


WILLY, on the edge of his chair: What kind of a welcome did he give you?


BIFF: He won't even let you work on commission?


WILLY: I'm out! Driving: So tell me, he gave you a warm welcome?


HAPPY: Sure, Pop, sure!


BIFF, driven: Well, it was kind of--


WILLY: I was wondering if he'd remember you. To Happy: Imagine, man doesn't see him for ten, twelve years and gives him that kind of a welcome!


HAPPY: Damn right!




BIFF, trying to return to the offensive: Pop, look--


WILLY: You know why he remembered you, don't you?' Because you impressed him in those days.


BIFF: Let's talk quietly and get this down to the facts, huh?


WILLY, as though Biff had been interrupting. Well, what happened? It's great news, Biff. Did he take you into his office or did you talk in the waiting-room?


BIFF: Well, he came in, see, and--


WILLY, with a big smile: What'd he say? Betcha he threw his arm around you.


BIFF: Well, he kinda--


WILLY: He's a fine man. To Happy: Very hard man to see, y'know.


HAPPY, agreeing: Oh, I know.


WILLY, to Biff: Is that where you had the drinks?


BIFF: Yeah, he gave me a couple--  no, no!


HAPPY, Cutting in: He told him my Florida idea.


WILLY: Don't interrupt. To Biff: How'd he react to the Florida idea?


BIFF: Dad, will you give me a minute to explain?


WILLY: I've been waiting for you to explain since I sat down here! What happened? He took you into his office and what?


BIFF: Well-- I talked. And-- and he listened, see.


WILLY: Famous for the way he listens, y'know. What was his answer?


BIFF: His answer was-- He breaks off, suddenly angry. Dad, you're not letting me tell you what I want to tell you!




WILLY, accusing, angered: You didn't see him, did you?


BIFF: I did see him!


WILLY: What'd you insult him or something? You insulted him, didn't you?


BIFF: Listen, will you let me out of it, will you just let me out of it?


HAPPY: What the hell!


WILLY: Tell me what happened!


BIFF, to Happy: I can't talk to him!


A single trumpet note jars the ear. The light of green leaves stains the house, which holds the air of night and a dream. Young Bernard enters and knocks on the door of the house.


YOUNG BERNARD, frantically: Mrs. Loman, Mrs. Loman!


HAPPY: Tell him what happened!


BIFF, to Happy: Shut up and leave me alone!


WILLY: No, no! You had to go and flunk math!


BIFF: What math? What're you talking about?


YOUNG BERNARD: Mrs. Loman, Mrs. Loman!


Linda appears in the house, as of old.


WILLY, wildly: Math, math, math!


BIFF: Take it easy, Pop!




WILLY, furiously: If you hadn't flunked you'd've been set by now!


BIFF: Now, look, I'm gonna tell you what happened, and you're going to listen to me.






BIFF: I waited six hours


HAPPY: What the hell are you saying?


BIFF: I kept sending in my name but he wouldn't see me. So finally he.... He continues unheard as light fades low on the restaurant.


YOUNG BERNARD: Biff flunked math!




YOUNG BERNARD: Birnbaum flunked him! They won't graduate him!


LINDA:  But they have to. He's gotta go to the university. Where is he? Biff? Biff?


YOUNG BERNARD: No, he left. He went to Grand Central.


LINDA: Grand-- You mean he went to Boston!


YOUNG BERNARD: Is Uncle Willy in Boston?


LINDA: Oh, maybe Willy can talk to the teacher. Oh, the poor, poor boy!


Light on house area snaps out.


BIFF, at the table, now audible, holding up a gold fountain pen: . . .  so I'm washed up with Oliver, you understand? Are you listening to me?


WILLY, at a loss: Yeah, sure. If you hadn't flunked--


BIFF: Flunked what? What're you talking about?


WILLY: Don't blame everything on me! I didn't flunk math --  you did! What pen?


HAPPY: That was awful dumb, Biff, a pen like that is worth--


WILLY, seeing the pen for the first time: You took Oliver's pen?




BIFF, weakening: Dad, I just explained it to you.


WILLY: You stole Bill Oliver's fountain pen!


BIFF: I didn't exactly steal it! That's just what I've been explaining to you!


HAPPY: He had it in his hand and just then Oliver walked in, so he got nervous and stuck it in his pocket!


WILLY: My God, Biff!


BIFF: I never intended to do it, Dad!


OPERATOR'S VOICE: Standish Arms, good, evening!


WILLY, shouting: I'm not in my room!


BIFF, frightened: Dad, what's the matter? He and Happy stand up.


OPERATOR: Ringing Mr. Loman for you!


WILLY: I'm not there, stop it!


BIFF, horrified, gets down on one knee before Willy: Dad, I'll make good, I'll make good. Willy tries to get to his feet. Biff holds him down. Sit down now.


WILLY: No, you're no good, you're no good for anything.


BIFF:  I am, Dad, I'll find something else, you understand? Now don't worry about anything. He holds up Willy's face: Talk to me, Dad.


OPERATOR: Mr. Loman does not answer. Shall I page him?


WILLY, attempting to stand as though to rush and silence the Operator:  No, no, no!


HAPPY: He'll strike something, Pop.


WILLY: No, no...


BIFF, desperately, standing over Willy: Pop, listen! Listen to me! I'm telling you something good. Oliver talked to his partner about the Florida idea. You listening? He-- he talked to his partner, and he came to me... I'm going to be all right, you hear? Dad, listen to me, he said it was just a question of the amount!




WILLY: Then you... got it?


HAPPY: He's gonna be terrific, Pop!


WILLY, trying to stand: Then you got it, haven't you? You got it! You got it!


BIFF, agonized, holds Willy down: No, no. Look, Pop. I'm supposed to have lunch with them tomorrow. I'm just telling you this so you'll know that I can still make an impression, Pop. And I'll make good somewhere, but I can't go tomorrow, see?


WILLY: Why not? You simply--


BIFF: But the pen, Pop!


WILLY: You give it to him and tell him it was an oversight!


HAPPY: Sure, have lunch tomorrow!


BIFF: I can't say that--


WILLY: You were doing a crossword puzzle and accidentally used his pen!


BIFF: Listen, kid, I took those balls years ago, now I walk in with his fountain pen? That clinches it, don't you see? I can't face him like that! I'll try elsewhere.


PAGE'S VOICE: Paging Mr. Loman!


WILLY: Don't you want to be anything?


BIFF: Pop, how can I go back?


WILLY: You don't want to be anything, is that what's behind it?


BIFF, now angry at Willy for not crediting his sympathy: Don't take it that way! You think it was easy walking into that office after what I'd done to him? A team of horses couldn't have dragged me back to Bill Oliver!




WILLY: Then why'd’you go?


BIFF: Why did I go? Why did I go! Look, at you! Look at what's become of you!


Off left, The Woman laughs.


WILLY: Biff, you're going to go to that lunch tomorrow.


BIFF: I can't go. I've got no appointment!


HAPPY: Biff, for …!


WILLY: Are you spiting me?


 BIFF: Don't take it that way! Goddammit!


WILLY, strikes Biff and falters away from the table: You rotten little louse! Are you spiting me?


THE WOMAN: Someone's at the door, Willy!


BIFF: I’m no good, can't you see what I am?


HAPPY, separating them: Hey, you're in a restaurant! Now cut it out, both of you!

The girls enter. Hello, girls, sit, down.


The Woman laughs, off left.


MISS FORSYTHE: I guess we might as well. This is Letta.


THE WOMAN: Willy, are you going to wake up?


BIFF, ignoring Willy; How're ya, miss, sit down. What do you drink?


MISS FORSYTHE: Letta might not be able to stay long.


LETTA: I gotta get up very early tomorrow. I got jury duty. I'm so excited! Were you fellows ever on a jury?




BIFF: No, but I been in front of them! The girls laugh. This is my father.


LETTA: Isn't he cute? Sit down with us, Pop.


HAPPY: Sit him down, Biff!


BIFF, going to him: Come on, slugger, drink us under the table. To hell with it! Come on, sit down,' pal.


On Biff's last insistence, Willy is about to sit.


THE WOMAN, now urgently: Willy, are you going to answer the door!


The Woman's call pulls Willy back. He starts right, befuddled.


BIFF: Hey, where are you going?


WILLY: Open the door.


BIFF: The door?


WILLY: The washroom… the door… where's the door?


BIFF, leading Willy to the left: Just go straight down.


Willy moves left.


THE WOMAN: Willy, Willy are you going to get up, get up, get up, get up?


Willy exits left.


LETTA: I think it's sweet you bring your daddy along.


MISS FORSYTHE: Oh, he isn't really your father!


BIFF, at left, turning to her resentfully: Miss Forsythe, you've just seen a prince walk by. A fine, troubled prince. A hardworking, unappreciated prince. A pal, you understand? A good companion. Always for his boys.


LETTA: That's so sweet.




HAPPY: Well, girls, what's the program? We're wasting time. Come on, Biff. Gather round. Where would you like to go?


BIFF: Why don't you do something for him?




BIFF: Don't you give a damn for him, Hap?


HAPPY: What're you talking about? I'm the one who--


BIFF: I sense it, you don't give a good goddam about him. He takes the rolled-up hose from his pocket and puts it on the table in front of Happy. Look what I found in the cellar, for Christ's sake. How can you bear to let it go on?


HAPPY: Me? Who goes away? Who runs off and--


BIFF: Yeah; but he doesn't mean anything to you. You could help him-- I can't! Don't you understand what I’m talking about? He's going to kill himself, don't you know that?


HAPPY: Don't I know it! Me!


BIFF: Hap, help him! Jesus ... help him! ... Help me, help me. I can't bear to look at his face. Ready to weep, he hurries out, up right . . .


HAPPY, starting after him: Where are you going?


MISS FORSYTHE: What's he so mad about?


HAPPY: Come on, girls, we'll catch up with him.


MISS FORSYTHE, as Happy pushes her out: Say, I don't like that of temper of his!


HAPPY: He's just a little overstrung, he’ll be all right!


WILLY, off left, as The Woman laughs: Don't answer! Don't answer!


LETTA: Don't you want to tell your father--


HAPPY: No, that's not my father. He's just a guy. Come on, we'll catch Biff, and, honey, we're going to paint this town! Stanley, where's the check! Hey, Stanley!




They exit. Stanley looks toward left.


STANLEY, calling to Happy indignantly: Mr. Loman!  Mr. Loman!


Stanley picks up a chair and follows them off. Knocking is heard off left. The Woman enters, laughing. Willy follows her. She is in a black slip, he is buttoning his shirt. Raw, sensuous music accompanies their speech.


WILLY: Will you stop laughing? Will you stop?


THE WOMAN: Aren't you going to answer the door? He'll wake the whole hotel.


WILLY: I'm not expecting anybody.


THE WOMAN: Why don't you have another drink, honey, and stop being so damn self-centered?


WILLY: I'm so lonely.


THE WOMAN: You know you ruined me, Willy? From now on, whenever you come to the office, I'll see that you go right through, to the buyers. No waiting at my desk any more, Willy. You ruined me.


WILLY: That's nice of you to say that.


THE WOMAN: Gee, you are self-centered! Why so sad? You' are the saddest, self-centeredest soul I ever did see-saw. She laughs. He kisses her. Come on inside, drummer boy. It's silly to be dressing in the middle of the night. As knocking is heard: Aren't you going to answer the door?


WILLY: They're knocking on the wrong door.


THE WOMAN: But I felt the knocking. And he heard us talking in here. Maybe the hotel's on fire!




WILLY, his terror rising: It's a mistake.


THE WOMAN: Then tell him to go away!


WILLY: There's nobody there.


THE WOMAN: It's getting on my nerves, Willy. There's somebody standing out there and it's getting on my nerves!


WILLY, pushing her away from him: All right, stay in the bathroom here, and don't come out. I think there's' a law in Massachusetts about it, so don't come out. It may be that new room clerk. He looked very mean. So don't come out. It's a mistake, there's no fire.


The knocking is heard again. He takes a few steps away from her, and she vanishes into the wing. The light follows him, and now he is facing Young Biff, who carries a suitcase. Biff steps toward him. The music is gone.


BIFF: Why didn't you answer?


WILLY: Biff! What are you doing in Boston?


BIFF: Why didn't you answer? I’ve been knocking for five minutes, I called you on the phone-- 


WILLY: I just heard you. I was in the bathroom and had the door shut. Did anything happen home?


BIFF: Dad-- I let you down.


WILLY: What do you mean?


BIFF: Dad . . .


WILLY: Biffo, what's this about? Putting his arm around Biff:  Come on, let's go downstairs and get you a malted.


 BIFF: Dad, I flunked math.


WILLY: Not for the term?


BIFF: The term. I haven't got enough credits to graduate.




WILLY: You mean to say Bernard wouldn't give you the answers?


BIFF: He did, he tried, but I only got a sixty-one.


WILLY: They wouldn't give you four points?


 BIFF: Birnbaum refused absolutely. I begged him, Pop, but he won't give me those points. You gotta talk to him before they close the school. Because if he saw the kind of man you are, and you just talked to him in your way, I’m sure he'd come through for me. The class came right before practice, see, and I didn't' go enough. Would you talk to him? He'd like you, Pop. You know the way you could talk.


WILLY: You're on. We'll drive right back.


BIFF: Oh, Dad, good work! I’m sure he'll change it for you!


WILLY: Go downstairs and tell the clerk I’m checkin' out. Go right down.


BIFF: Yes, sir! See, the reason he hates me, Pop-- one day he was late for class so I got up at the blackboard and imitated him. I crossed my eyes and talked with a lisp.


WILLY, laughing: You did? the kids like it?


BIFF: They nearly died laughing!


WILLY: Yeah? What'd you do?


BIFF: The thquare root of  thixthy twee is… Willy bursts out laughing; Biff joins him. And in the middle of it he walked in!


Willy laughs and The, Woman joins in offstage.


WILLY, without hesitation: Hurry downstairs and--


BIFF: Somebody in there?


WILLY: No, that was next door.


The Woman laughs offstage.




BIFF:  Somebody got in your bathroom!


WILLY: No, it's the next room, there's a party—


THE WOMAN, enters, laughing. She lisps this: Can I come in? There's something in the bathtub, Willy, and it's moving!


Willy looks at Biff, who is staring open-mouthed and horrified at The Woman.


WILLY: Ah--  you better go back to your room. They must be finished painting by now. They're painting her room so I let her take a shower here. Go back, go back. He pushes her.


THE WOMAN, resisting: But I've got to get dressed, Willy, I can't--


WILLY: Get out of here! Go back, go back ... Suddenly, striving for the ordinary: This is Miss Francis, Biff, she's a buyer. They're painting her room. Go back, Miss Francis, go back...


THE WOMAN: But my clothes, I can't go out naked in the hall.


WILLY, pushing her offstage: Get outa here! Go back, go back!


Biff slowly sits down on his suitcase as the argument continues offstage.


THE WOMAN: Where's my stockings? You promised me stockings, Willy!


WILLY: I have no stockings here!


THE WOMAN: You had two boxes of size nine sheen for me, and I want them!


WILLY: Here, for God's sake, will you get outa here!


THE WOMAN, enters holding a box of stockings: I just hope there's nobody in the hall. That's all I hope. To Biff: Are you football or baseball?




BIFF: Football.


THE WOMAN, angry, humiliated: That's me too. G'night.


 She snatches her clothes from Willy and walks out.


WILLY, after a pause: Well, better get going. I want to get to the school first thing in the morning. Get my suits out of the closet. I'll get my valise. Biff doesn't move. What's the matter? Biff remains motionless, tears falling. She's a buyer.  Buys for I.H. Simmons. She lives down the hall-- they're painting. You don't imagine-- He breaks off. After a pause: Now listen, pal, she's just a buyer. She sees merchandise in her room and they have to keep it looking just so ... Pause. Assuming command: All right, get my suits. Biff doesn't move. Now stop crying and do as I say. I gave you an order. Biff, I gave you an order! Is that what you do when I give you an order? How dare you cry! Putting his arm around Biff: Now look, Biff, when you grow up you'll understand about these… things. You mustn't-- you mustn't overemphasize a thing like this. I'll see Birnbaum first thing in the morning.


BIFF: Never mind.


WILLY, getting down, beside Biff: Never mind! He's going to give you those points. I'll see to it.


BIFF: He wouldn't listen to you.


WILLY: He certainly will listen to me. You need those points for the U. of Virginia.


BIFF: I'm not going there.


WILLY: Heh? If I can't get him to change that mark you'll make it up in summer school. You've got an summer to--


BIFF, his weeping breaking from him: Dad...


WILLY, infected by it: Oh, my boy...


BIFF: Dad...


WILLY: She's nothing to me, Biff. I was lonely, I was terribly lonely.




BIFF: You-- you gave her Mama's stockings! His tears break through and he rises to go. Willy grabbing for Biff: I gave you an order!


BIFF: Don't touch me, you-- liar!


WILLY: Apologize for that!


BIFF:  You fake! You phony little fake! You fake! Overcome, he turns quickly and weeping fully goes out with his suitcase. Willy is left on the floor on his knees.


WILLY: I gave you an order! Biff, come back here or I'll beat you! Come back here! I'll whip you!


Stanley comes quickly in from the right and stands in front of Willy.


WILLY, shouts at Stanley: I gave you an order...


STANLEY: Hey, let's pick it up, pick it up, Mr. Loman. He helps Willy to his feet. Your boys left with the chippies. They said they'll see you home.


A second waiter watches some distance away.


WILLY: But we were supposed to have dinner together.


Music is heard, Willy's theme.


STANLEY: Can you make it?


WILLY: I'll-- sure, I can make it. Suddenly concerned about his clothes: Do I look all right?


STANLEY: Sure, you look all right. He flicks a speck off Willy's lapel.


WILLY: Here-- here's a dollar.


STANLEY: Oh, your son paid me. It's all right.


WILLY, putting it in Stanley's hand: No, take it. You're a good boy.




STANLEY: Oh, no, you don't have to...


WILLY: Here--here's some more, I don't need it any more. After a slight pause: Tell me-- is there a seed store in the neighborhood?


STANLEY: Seeds? You mean like to plant?


As Willy turns, Stanley slips the money back into his jacket pocket.


WILLY: Yes. Carrots, peas…


STANLEY: Well, there’s hardware stores on Sixth Avenue, but it may be too late now.


WILLY, anxiously: Oh, I'd better hurry. I've got to get some seeds. He starts off to the right. I've got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing's planted. I don't have a thing in the ground.


Willy hurries out as the light goes down. Stanley moves over to the right after him, watches him off. The other waiter has been staring at Willy.


STANLEY, to the waiter: Well, whatta you looking at?


The waiter picks up the chairs and moves off right. Stanley takes the table and follows him. The light fades on this area. There is a long pause, the sound of the flute coming over. The light gradually rises on the kitchen, which is empty. Happy appears at the door of the house, followed by Biff. Happy is carrying a large bunch of long-stemmed roses. He enters the kitchen, looks around for Linda. Not seeing her, he turns to Biff, who is just outside the house door, and makes a gesture with his hands, indicating “Not here, I guess." He looks into the living-room and freezes. Inside, Linda. Unseen is seated, Willy's coat on her lap. She rises ominously and quietly and moves toward Happy, who backs up into the kitchen, afraid.


HAPPY: Hey, what're you doing up? Linda says nothing but moves toward him implacably. Where's Pop? He keeps backing to the right, and now Linda is in full view in the doorway to the living-room. Is he sleeping?




LINDA: Where were you?


HAPPY, trying to laugh it off: We met two girls, Mom, very fine types. Here, we brought you some flowers. Offering them to her: Put them in your room, Ma.


She knocks them to the floor at Biff’s feet. He has now come, inside and closed the door behind him. She stares at Biff, silent.


HAPPY: Now what'd you do that for? Mom, I want you to have some flowers--


LINDA, cutting Happy off violently, to Biff: Don't you care whether he lives or dies?


HAPPY, going to the stairs: Come upstairs, Biff.


BIFF, with a flare of disgust, to Happy: Go away from me! To Linda: What do you mean, lives or dies? Nobody's dying around here, pal.


LINDA: Get out of my sight! Get out of here!


BIFF: I wanna see the boss.


LINDA! You're not going near him!


BIFF: Where is he? He moves into the living-room and Linda follows.


LINDA, shouting after Biff: You invite him for dinner. He looks forward to it all day-- Biff appears in his parents’ bedroom looks around, and exits--  and then you desert him there. There's no stranger you'd do that to!


HAPPY: Why? He had a swell time with us. Listen, when I-- Linda comes back into the kitchen-- desert him...  I hope I don't outlive the day!


LINDA: Get out of here!


HAPPY: Now look, Mom...




LINDA: Did you have to go to women tonight? You and your lousy rotten whores!


Biff re-enters the kitchen.


HAPPY: Mom, all we did was follow Biff around trying to cheer him up! To Biff: Boy, what a night you gave me!


LINDA: Get out of here, both of you, and don't come back! I don't want you tormenting him any more. Go on now, get your things together To Biff: You can sleep, in his apartment. She starts to pick up the flowers and stops herself.  Pick up this stuff.  I'm not your maid any more. Pick it up, you bum, you!


Happy turns his back to her in refusal. Biff slowly moves over and gets down on his knees, picking up the flowers.


LINDA: You're a pair of animals! Not one, not another living soul would have had the cruelty to walk out on that man in a restaurant!


BIFF, not looking at her: Is that what he said?


LINDA: He didn't have to say anything. He was so humiliated he nearly limped when he came in.


HAPPY: But, Mom, he had a great time with us--


BIFF, cutting him off violently: Shut up!


Without another word Happy goes upstairs.


LINDA: You! You didn't even go in to see if he was all right!


BIFF, still on the floor in front of Linda, the flowers in his hand; with self-loathing: No. Didn't.  Didn't do a damned thing. How do you like that, heh? Left him babbling in a toilet.


LINDA : You louse. You...


BIFF: Now you hit it on the nose!  He gets up, throws the flowers in the wastebasket. The scum of the earth, and you're looking at him!




LINDA: Get out of here!


BIFF: I gotta talk to the boss, Mom. Where is he?


LINDA: You’re not going near him. Get out of this house!


BIFF, with absolute assurance, determination: No. We're gonna have an abrupt conversation, him and me.


LINDA: You’re not talking to him!


Hammering is heard from outside the house, off right. Biff turns toward the noise.


LINDA, suddenly pleading: Will you please leave him alone?


BIFF:  What's he doing out there?


LINDA: He's planting the garden!


BIFF, quietly: Now? Oh, my God!


Biff moves outside, Linda following. The light dies down on them and comes up on the center of the apron as Willy walks into it. He is carrying a flashlight, a hoe, and a handful of seed packets. He raps the top of the hoe sharply to fix it firmly, and then moves to the left, measuring off the distance with his loot. He holds the flashlight to look at the seed packets, reading off the instructions. He is in the blue of night.


WILLY: Carrots… quarter-inch apart. Rows …one-foot rows. He measures it off. One foot. He puts down a package and measures it. Beets. He puts down another package and measures again. Lettuce. He reads the package, puts it down. One foot. He breaks off as Ben appears at the right and moves slowly down to him. What a proposition, ts, ts. Terrific, terrific. 'Cause she's suffered, Ben, the woman has suffered. You understand me? A man can't go out the way he came in, Ben, a man has got to add up to something. You can't, you can't--... Ben moves toward him as though to interrupt. You gotta consider, now. Don't answer so quick. Remember, it's a guaranteed twenty-thousand dollar proposition. Now look, Ben, I want you to go through the ins and outs of this thing with me. I've got nobody to talk to, Ben, and the woman has suffered, you hear me?




BEN, standing still, considering: What's the proposition?


WILLY: It's twenty thousand dollars on the barrelhead. Guaranteed, gilt-edged, you understand?


BEN: You don't want to make a fool of yourself. They might not honor the policy.


WILLY: How can they dare refuse? Didn't I work like a coolie to meet every premium on the nose? And now they don't pay? Impossible!


BEN: It's called a cowardly thing, William.


WILLY: Why? Does it take more guts to stand here the rest of my life ringing up a zero?


BEN, yielding: That's a point, William. He moves, thinking, turns. And twenty thousand-- that is something one can feel with the hand, it is there.


WILLY, now assured, with rising power: Oh, Ben, that’s the whole beauty of it! I see it like a diamond, shining in the dark, hard and rough, that I can pick up and touch in my hand. Not like-- like an appointment! This would not be another damned-fool appointment, Ben, and it changes all the aspects. Because he thinks I’m nothing, see, and, so he spites me. But the funeral--   Straightening, up: Ben, that funeral will be massive! They'll come from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire! All the old-timers with the strange license plates-- that boy will be thunder-struck, Ben, because he never realized-- I am known! Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey-- I am known, Ben, and he'll see it with his eyes once and for all. He'll see what I am, Ben! He's in for a shock, that boy!


BEN, coming down to the edge of the garden: He'll call you a coward.




WILLY, suddenly fearful: No, that would be terrible.


BEN: Yes. And a damned fool.


WILLY: No, no, he mustn’t, I won't have that! He is broken and desperate.


BEN: He'll hate you, William.


The gay music of the Boys is heard.


WILLY: Oh, Ben, how do we get back to all the great times? Used to be so full of light, and comradeship, the sleigh riding in winter, and the ruddiness on his cheeks. And always some kind of good news coming up, always something nice coming up ahead. And never even let me carry the valises in the house, and simonizing, simonizing, that little red car! Why, why, can't I give him something and not have him hate me?


BEN: Let me think about it. He glances at his watch. I still have a little time. Remarkable proposition, but you've got to be sure you're not making a fool of yourself…


Ben drifts off upstage and goes out right. Biff comes down from the left.


WILLY, suddenly conscious of Biff, turns and looks up at him, then begins picking up the packages of seeds in confusion: Where the hell is that seed? Indignantly: You can't see nothing out here! They boxed in the whole goddam neighborhood!


BIFF: There are people all around here. Don't you realize that?


WILLY: I'm busy. Don't bother me.


BIFF, taking the hoe from Willy: I'm saying goodbye to you, Pop. Willy looks at him, silent, unable to move. I'm not coming back any more.




WILLY: You're not going to see Oliver tomorrow?


BIFF: I've got no appointment, Dad.


WILLY: He put his arm around you, and you've got no appointment?


BIFF: Pop, get this now, will you? Everytime I've left it's been a fight that sent me out of here. Today I realized something about myself and I tried to explain it to you and I-- I think I'm just not smart enough to make any sense out of it for you.  To hell with whose fault it is or anything like that. He takes Willy's arm. Let's just wrap it up, heh? Come on in, we'll tell Mom. He gently tries to pull Willy to left.


WILLY, frozen, immobile, with guilt in his voice: No, I don't want to see her.


BIFF: Come on! He pulls again, and Willy tries to pull away.


WILLY, highly nervous: No, no, I don’t want to see her.


BIFF, tries to look into Willy's face, as if to find the answer there: Why don't you want to see her?


WILLY, more harshly now: Don't bother me, will you?


BIFF: What do you mean, you don't want to see her? You don't want them calling you yellow, do you! This isn't your fault; it's me, I'm a bum. Now come inside! Willy strains to get away. Did you hear what I said to you?


Willy pulls away and quickly goes by himself into the house. Biff follows.


LINDA, to Willy: Did you plant, dear?


BIFF, at the door, to Linda: All right, we had it out. I'm going and I'm not writing any more.


LINDA; going to Willy in the kitchen: I think that's the best way, dear. 'Cause there's no use drawing it out, you'll just never get along.




Willy doesn't respond.


BIFF: People ask where I am and what' I'm doing, you don't know, and you don't care. That way it'll be off your mind and you can start brightening up again. All right? That clears it, don’t it? Willy is silent and Biff goes to him. You gonna wish me luck, scout? He extends his hand.  What do you say?


LINDA: Shake his hand, Willy.


WILLY, turning to her, seething with hurt: There's no necessity to mention the pen at all, y'know.


BIFF, gently: I've got no appointment, Dad.


WILLY, erupting fiercely: He put his arm around . . . ?


BIFF: Dad, you're never going to see what I am, so what's the use arguing? If I strike oil I'll send you a check. Meantime forget I'm alive.


WILLY, to Linda: Spite, see?


BIFF: Shake hands, Dad.


WILLY: Not my hand.


BIFF: I was hoping not to go this way.


WILLY: Well, this, is the way you're going. Good-by.


Biff looks at him a moment, then turns sharply and goes to the stairs.


WILLY, stops him with: May you rot in hell if you leave this house!


BIFF, turning: Exactly what is it that you want from me?


WILLY: I want you to know, on the train, in the mountains, in the valleys, wherever you go, that you cut down your life for spite!


BIFF: No, no.




WILLY: Spite, spite, is the word of your undoing! And when you're down and out, remember what did it. When you're rotting somewhere beside the railroad tracks, remember, and don't you dare blame it on me!


BIFF: I'm not blaming it on you!


WILLY: I won't take the rap for this, you hear?


Happy comes down the stairs and stands on the bottom step, watching.


BIFF: That's just what I'm telling you!


WILLY, sinking into a chair at the table, with full accusation: You're trying to put a knife in me--  don't think I don't know what you're doing!


BIFF: All right, phony! Then let's lay it on the line. He whips the rubber tube out of his pocket and puts it on the table.


HAPPY: You crazy--


LINDA: Biff! She moves to grab the hose, but Biff holds it down with his hand.


BIFF: Leave it there! Don't move it!


WILLY, not looking at it: What is that?


BIFF: You know goddam well what that is.


WILLY, caged, wanting to escape: I never saw that.


BIFF: You saw it. The mice didn't bring it into the cellar!  What is this supposed to do, make a hero out of you? This supposed to make me sorry for you?


WILLY: Never heard of it.


BIFF: There'll be no pity for you, you hear it? No pity!


WILLY, to Linda: You hear the spite!


BIFF: No, you're going to hear the truth-- what you are and what I am!




LINDA: Stop it!


WILLY: Spite!


HAPPY, coming down toward Biff: You cut it now!


BIFF, to Happy: The man don't know who we are! The man is gonna know! To Willy: We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!


HAPPY: We always told the truth!


BIFF, turning on him: You big blow, are you the assistant buyer? You're one of the two assistants to the assistant, aren't you?


HAPPY: Well, I'm practically--


BIFF: You're practically full of it! We all are! And I’m through with it. To Willy: Now hear this, Willy, this is me.


WILLY: I know you!


BIFF: You know why I had no address for three months? I stole a suit in Kansas City and I was in jail. To Linda, who is sobbingStop. I’m through with it. Linda tums away from them, her hands covering her face.


WILLY: I suppose that's my fault!


BIFF: I stole myself out of every good job since high school!


WILLY: And whose fault is that?


BIFF: And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That’s whose fault it is!


WILLY: I hear that!


LINDA: Don't, Biff!


BIFF: It's goddam time you heard that! I had to be boss big shot in two weeks, and I’m through with it!


WILLY: Then hang yourself!  For spite, hang yourself!




BIFF: No! Nobody's hanging himself, Willy! I ran down eleven flights with a pen in my hand today. And suddenly I stopped, you hear me? And in the middle of that office building, do you hear this? I stopped in the middle of that building and I saw-- the sky. I saw the things that I love in this world...The work and the food and time to sit and smoke... And I looked at the pen and said to myself what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don't want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am! Why can't I say that, Willy? He tries to make Willy face him, but Willy pulls away and moves to the left.


WILLY, with hatred, threateningly: The door of your life is wide open!


BIFF: Pop! I'm a dime a dozen and so are you!


WILLY, turning on him now in an uncontrolled outburst:  I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!


Biff starts for Willy, but is blocked by Happy. In his fury, Biff seems on the verge of attacking his father.


BIFF: I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash can like all the rest of them! I’m one dollar an hour, Willy! I tried seven states and couldn't raise it. A buck an hour, do you gather my meaning? I'm not bringing home any prizes any more, and you're going to stop waiting for me to bring them home!


WILLY, directly to Biff: You vengeful, spiteful mutt!


Biff breaks from Happy. Willy, in fright, starts up the stairs. Biff grabs him.


BIFF, at the peak of his fury: Pop, I’m nothing I I'm nothing, Pop. Can't you understand that? There's no spite in it any more. I'm just what I am, that's all.




Biffs fury has spent itself, and he breaks down sobbing, holding on to Willy, who dumbly fumbles for Biff’s face.


WILLY, astonished: What're you doing? What're you doing? To Linda: Why is be crying?


BIFF, crying, broken: Will you let me go for Christ's sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens? Struggling to contain himself, he pulls away and moves to the stairs. I'll go in the morning. Put him-- put him to bed. Exhausted, Biff moves up the stairs to his room.


WILLY, after a long pause, astonished, elevated: Isn't that-- isn't that remarkable? Biff-- he likes me!


LINDA: He loves you, Willy!


HAPPY, deeply moved: Always did, Pop.


WILLY: Oh, Biff! Staring wildly: He cried! Cried to me. He is choking with his love, and now cries out his promise:  That boy-- that boy is going to be magnificent!


Ben appears in the light just outside the kitchen.


BEN: Yes, outstanding, with twenty thousand behind him.


LINDA, sensing the racing of his mind, fearfully, carefully:  Now come to bed, Willy. It's all settled now.


WILLY, finding it difficult not to rush out of the house: Yea, we'll sleep. Come on. Go to sleep, Hap.


BEN: And it does take a great kind of a man to crack the jungle.


In accents of dread, Ben's idyllic music starts up.


HAPPY, his arm around Linda: I'm getting married, Pop, don't forget it. I'm changing everything. I'm gonna run that department before the year is up. You'll see, Mom. He kisses her.




BEN: The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy.


Willy turns, moves, listening to Ben.


LINDA: Be good. You're both good boys, just act that way, that's all.


HAPPY: ‘Night, Pop.  He goes upstairs. 


LINDA, to Willy: Come, dear…


BEN, with greater force: One must go in to fetch a diamond out.


WILLY, to Linda, as he moves slowly along the side of the kitchen, towards the door: I just want to get settled down, Linda. Let me sit alone for a little.


LINDA, almost uttering her fear: I want you upstairs.


WILLY, taking her in his arms: In a few minutes, Linda. I couldn't sleep right now.  Go on, you look awful tired. He kisses her.


BEN: Not like an appointment at all.  A diamond is rough and hard to the touch.


WILLY: Go on now. I'll be right up.


LINDA: I think this is the only way, Willy.


WILLY: Sure, it's the best thing.


BEN: Best thing!


WILLY: The only way. Everything is gonna be-- go on, kid, get to bed. You look so tired.


LINDA: Come right up.


WILLY: Two minutes.




Linda goes into the living room then reappears in the bedroom. Willy moves just outside the kitchen door.


WILLY: Loves me. Wonderingly: Always loved me. Isn't that a remarkable thing? Ben, he'll worship me for it!


BEN, with promise: It's dark there, but full of diamonds.


WILLY: Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket?


LlNDA, calling from her room: Willy! Come up!


WILLY, calling into the kitchen: Yes! Yes. Coming! It's very smart, you realize that, don't you, sweetheart. Even Ben sees it. I gotta go, baby. 'By! 'By! Going over to Ben, almost dancing: Imagine? When the mail comes he'll be ahead of Bernard again!


BEN: A perfect proposition all around.


WILLY: Did you see how he cried to me? Oh, if I could kiss him, Ben!


BEN: Time, William, time!

WILLY: Oh, Ben, I always knew one way or another we were gonna make it, Biff and I!


BEN, looking at his watch: The boat. We'll be late.  He moves slowly off into the darkness.


WILLY, elegiacally, turning to the house: Now when you kick off, boy, I want a seventy yard boot, and go right down the field under the ball, and when you hit, hit low and hit hard, because it's important, boy. He swings around and faces the audience. There's all kinds of important people in the stands, and the first thing you know… Suddenly realizing he is alone: Ben! Ben, where do I ... ? He makes a sudden movement of search. Ben, how do I... ?


LINDA, calling: Willy, you coming up?




WILLY, uttering a gasp of fear, whirling about as if to quiet her: Sh! He turns around as if to find his way; sounds, faces, voices, seem to be swarming in upon him and he flicks at them, crying: Sh! Sh! Suddenly music, faint and high, stops him. It rises in intensity, almost to an unbearable scream. He goes up, and down on his toes and rushes off around the house. Shhh!


LINDA: Willy?


There is no answer. Linda waits. Biff gets up of his bed. He is still in his clothes. Happy sits up. Biff stands listening.


LINDA, with real fear: Willy, answer me! Willy!


There is the sound of a car starting and moving away at full speed.




BIFF, rushing down the stairs: Pop!


As the car speeds off, the music crashes down in a frenzy of sound, which becomes the soft pulsation of a single cello string. Biff slowly returns to his bedroom. He and Happy gravely don their jackets. Linda slowly walks out of her room. The music has developed into a dead march. The leaves of day are appearing over everything. Charley and Bernard, somberly dressed, appear and knock on the kitchen door. Biff and Happy slowly descend the stairs to the kitchen as Charley and Bernard enter. All stop a moment when Linda, in clothes of mourning, bearing a little bunch of roses, comes through, the draped doorway into the kitchen. She goes to Charley and takes his arm. Now all move toward the audience, through the wall-line of the kitchen. At the limit of the apron, Linda lays down the flowers, kneels, and sits back on her heels. All stare down at the grave.





CHARLEY: Its getting dark, Linda.


Linda doesn't react. She stares at the grave.


BIFF: How about it, Mom? Better get some rest, heh? They'll be closing the gate soon...


Linda makes no move. Pause.


HAPPY, deeply angered: He had no right to do that. There was no necessity for it. We would've helped him.


CHARLEY, grunting: Hmmm.


BIFF: Come along, Mom.


LINDA: Why didn't anybody come?


BIFF: It was a very nice funeral.


LINDA: But where are all the people he knew? Maybe they blame him.


CHARLEY: Naa. It’s a rough world, Linda. They wouldn't blame him.


LINDA: I can't understand it. At, this time especially. First time in thirty-five years we were just about free and clear. He only needed a little salary. He was even finished with the dentist.


CHARLEY: No man only needs a little salary.




LINDA: I can't understand it.


BIFF: There were a lot of nice days. When he'd come home from a trip; or on Sundays, making the stoop; finishing the cellar; putting on the new porch; when he built the extra bathroom; and put up the garage. You know something, Charley, there's more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made.


CHARLEY: Yeah. He was a happy man with a batch of cement.


LINDA: He was so wonderful with his hands.


BIFF: He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong.


HAPPY, almost ready to fight Biff: Don't say that!


BIFF: He never knew who he was.


CHARLEY, stopping Happy's movement and reply. To Biff: Nobody dast blame this man. You don't understand: Willy was a salesman. And, for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back-- that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.


BIFF: Charley, the man didn't know who he was.


HAPPY, infuriated: Don't say that!


BIFF: Why don't you come with me, Happy?


HAPPY: I'm not licked that easily. I'm staying right in this city, and I'm gonna beat this racket! He looks at Biff, his chin set. The Loman Brothers!


BIFF: I know who I am, kid.


HAPPY: All right, boy. I'm gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. It's the only dream you can have-- to come out number one, Man. He fought it out here, and this is where I'm gonna win it for him.




BIFF, with a hopeless glance at Happy, bends toward his mother: Let's go, Mom.


LINDA: I'll be with you in a minute. Go on, Biff.  He hesitates. I want to, just for a minute. I never had a chance to say good-by.


Charley moves away, followed by Happy. Biff remains a slight distance up and left of Linda. She sits there, summoning herself. The flute begins, not far away, playing behind her speech.


LINDA: Forgive me, dear. I can't cry. I don't know what it is, but I can't cry. I don't understand it. Why did you ever do that? Help me, Willy, I can't cry. It seems to me that you're just on another trip. I keep expecting you. Willy, dear, I can't cry. Why did you do it? I search and search and I search, and l can’t understand it, Willy. I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear.  And there'll be nobody home. A sob rises in her throat. We're free and clear. Sobbing more fully, released: We're free. Biff comes slowly toward her. We're free  . . . We're free . . .


Biff lifts her to her feet and moves out up right with her in his arms. Linda sobs quietly. Bernard and Charley come together and follow them followed by Happy. Only the music of  the flute is left on the darkening stage as over the house the hard towers  of the apartment buildings rise into sharp focus, and


The Curtain Falls.