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Death of a Salesman Act II and Requiem

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Terms in this set (15)

•Dave Singleman was an 84-year-old salesman. He made sales from his house and made his living from home. Willy explains how back than it was more personal and there was respect, and comradeship, and gratitude in salesmanship. Willy tells Howard about Dave Singleman because he wants a non-traveling job that still embodies what Willy believes in (Dave drove Willy to become a salesman and not go to Alaska with his brother and father).
•By placing the importance of the recorder above Willy's need to speak with him, Howard illustrates that he perceives Willy as insignificant. Although Willy desperately needs to ask Howard, Willy patiently engages himself by demonstrating interest as he listens to the recordings of Howard's family. By indulging Howard, this is an opportunity for Willy to bond with him (gaining Howard's sympathy toward his argument and making Howard more susceptible to Willy's request). Howard tells Willy that his daughter is crazy about him and that his son has great potential. This is very important from the standpoint that it's reflective of how Willy's own children once felt about him and the potential he saw in them (particularly Biff). Willy thinks that once he's listened to Howard's recordings and shown interest that he will have Howard's undivided attention. But Willy's efforts go unnoticed and Howard refuses Willy's requests.
•Howard doesn't want Willy to represent the firm anymore and he's been meaning to tell Willy that for a while. Howard says the Willy needs a good long rest and when he feels better he can come back in and they'd work something out. Howard tells Willy to drop off his samples whenever he can during the week. He basically fires Willy.
•This is such a blow to Willy because he came into the day with such high hopes and expectations. It is also a huge blow to his fragile ego. It blows because he got fired
•Biff realizes that he was never a salesman for Oliver and that he merely worked for him as a low level employee. Biff realizes his life is a lie and he's tired of it. Biff takes the pen because it's something Biff will never have. The pen in itself is a metaphor/symbol for the American Dream. Since Biff hasn't acquired the dream through good deeds and hard work he gets upset and metaphorically tries to take it by force.
•Biff waited for six hours, nearly the entire day. He kept having the secretary send his name in to Mr. Oliver's office but there was no answer. When Oliver finally came out he didn't recognize Biff. Biff was so embarrassed he didn't even talk to Oliver as he left. So, because Oliver doesn't remember Biff and he can't get a loan, Biff takes his fountain pen. Biff stole while growing up and he still steals as an adult. He takes what he wants without hesitation. He blames his father for this habit because Willy didn't punish him for stealing when he was young and instill in him a sense of integrity.
•Biff tries to tell Willy the truth about what happened. However, Willy interrupts him and tells Biff that Howard had fired him today. Willy says he needs to go home with good news to tell Linda.
•Biff leaves Willy at the restaurant in anger because of his father's inability to accept reality as it is. Willy starts to mentally break down and begins talking to himself. Happy tells the girls that Willy isn't his father, and leaves to prevent anymore problems, trying to make sure he will sleep with the girls. Happy shows his obsession with women, and his father having a wife and a mistress, has influenced him.