Death of a Salesman

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Death of a Salesman Requiem Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The only people at Willy's funeral are his family, Charley and Bernard. Linda is bewildered by the absence of all Willy's business associates, and wonders if everyone else Willy knew blamed him for having committed suicide. Charley comforts her, saying that everyone knows "it's a rough world."
Willy's funeral stands in contrast to that of his hero, Dave Singleman. His imagined legion of business contacts has disappeared. Though he valued success more than love, only the people that love him are left.
Themes
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Happy, upset, says that Willy's death was unnecessary. Linda wonders why Willy would kill himself now, when they had nearly paid off all their debts. Biff brings up the memory of Willy doing craftsman's work around the house, and maintains that more of him went into that work than into his life's work of sales. "He had the wrong dreams," Biff says, and adds that his father didn't know who he was in the way that Biff now knows himself.
Happy and Linda view Willy's death here on the terms that Willy himself saw it: a business investment, one they believe didn't need to be made. Biff sees him as a tragic figure whose happiness was literally at his fingertips, but who had been so warped by his dreams of success that he couldn't see it.
Themes
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Charley delivers an eulogy in Willy's defense. He says that a salesman doesn't do anything concrete like bolting a nut or prescribing medicine, but that all a salesman has is his smile and the trust that people will smile back. When a salesman loses his dreams, Charley says, he is finished.
Charley sees Willy as an exemplar of his profession, and by extension just one among many who have been misled by the American Dream, which reduces people to products.
Themes
The American Dream Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Biff again says that that their father didn't know who he was, angering Happy. When Biff invites Happy to come out west with him, Happy responds that he refuses to be beaten that easily, and promises to stay in the city and fulfill his father's dream by becoming a top businessman. Biff gives him a hopeless look.
Happy continues to buy into Willy's "wrong dreams." He sees Biff's repudiation of Willy's dreams not as a triumph, but as a cowardly failure.
Themes
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
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Linda asks for some privacy to say goodbye to Willy, and she is left alone at the grave. She can't cry yet, she confesses, because it seems to her as if Willy is just gone on another sales trip. Emotionally, she keeps expecting him to come back. She tells him that she made the last payment on the house that day, and now there will be nobody home. "We're free," she tells him, and begins to cry.
Since Willy's job was to abandon his family for short periods of time, Linda isn't yet able to accept the notion that he has abandoned them for good. The material gain from his death is superfluous next to his family's overwhelming love for him, which he failed to see.
Themes
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Biff enters, and supporting Linda, leads her away. All the characters exit the stage as flute music plays, and the final image is of the apartment buildings that surround the Loman house.
Willy's humanity and family, symbolized by his home, has been overwhelmed by the city, with its insistence on success.
Themes
The American Dream Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon