Summary Of The Death Of A Salesman

Summary Of The Death Of A Salesman

This play, Death of a Salesman, is a story of an unsuccessful father and his two unsuccessful sons. The play was written by Arthur Miller in 1948 and was published in 1949.

It was such a successful play that Arthur Miller was also given the Pulitzer prize in drama for it in 1949. 

By a successful play, I mean that this play is believed to be one of the greatest plays of the 21st century.

Let me now take you to the summary The Death of A Salesman along with The Death Of A Salesman analysis, so keep reading. 

Summary Of The Death Of A Salesman

The story of the play begins with a poor old salesman, Willy Loman, who travels. He returns to his home in Brooklyn after a sales trip. At the age of 63, he doesn’t get any salary and only lives on the commission of his sales. During his trip, he is unable to sell anyone anything. 

His elder son is Biff who has been working in the fields for years and recently has returned home. Biff wants to give a new direction to his life. Biff’s younger brother is Happy and he works as an assistant in a department store. 

In the kitchen, Willy is alone and is remembering his old days when he used to return from his business trip and his two kids would run to him and he was no less than a hero for both his kids. 

At that time, they also had a neighbor, Charley, who was a successful businessman, and his son Barnard was a serious student. However, Willy’s thinking is completely different from these neighbors. 

Willy used to believe that these two lacked natural skills. According to Willy, a person should have natural skills rather than educational knowledge and these educational degrees are of no use, and he used to teach the same to his two kids Biff and happy. 

But, the condition of Willy and his family was so worse that they couldn’t even pay their bills. 

Charley and Willy are still neighbors and they are not like enemies to each other. Charley comes to Willy to see if he is fine and the two play cards together. Then Willy starts talking about his dead brother Ben who had left his home at the age of 17 and went to Africa and Alaska for his diamond business. 

Then Charley offers a job to Willy, but Willy refuses because of his pride. But, he doesn’t hesitate in asking Charley to lend him money. Every week, he asks Charley for money for his household expenses. 

Willy regrets a lot when he compares himself with his brother Ben and thinks that he should also have gone with his brother Ben for the business of diamonds, then the condition of his family today would have been better. 

Willy’s wife talks to her sons about the worsening condition of Willy’s mental health. She tells the children that their father has already attempted suicide twice, once by crashing a car. 

After hearing this, Biff says that he will only stay here with his parents and he will lend some money from his former boss Bill Oliver to start his own business of sports shoes with his brother Happy and his father. 

Willy gets quite excited about hearing this idea of his son Biff and starts giving his son useless advice on how he should ask for a loan. 

The next morning, on Linda’s request, Willy goes to his boss in his New York office to ask for a job so that he could stay somewhere around his house and doesn’t have to suffer more he was also too aged so it was not good for him to travel a lot. 

But, his original boss Frank Wagner had died and his son Havard Wagner was taking care of his business. He refused to accept Willy’s request because he got irritated with that many requests by Willy and fired him from the work. 

Now, Willy was feeling very humiliated and he again goes to Charley’s office to take a loan from him. He met Barnard there who had already become a successful lawyer and Willy then remembers that there was a time when his son Biff also used to study with Barnard and today Barnard is successful while Biff is still nothing. 

Both the sons of Willy, Biff and Happy make arrangements to meet their father Willy at night. Before Willy arrives, Biff tells Happy that his boss Oliver has refused to give him any loan. Then Happy advises Biff to lie to their father so that he doesn’t lose any hope.

Willy arrives and sits that the dinner table and tells everyone that he has been fired from work. At this, Biff and Willy start arguing. Willy remembers his past memories when he limps while going to the washroom. He remembers that the high school career of his son Biff was ruined by Willy himself. 

When Biff failed his Maths exam in high school, he went to Boston to inform his father about it. There, he saw that his father Willy was with a woman in a hotel room. Biff once used to consider his father to be a hero, but now his image was ruined in front of his son. 

Then Biff left his high school education and started following in the footsteps of his father. Willy gets really depressed thinking of this over and over again. Then both his sons leave the restaurant with two call girls. 

When Biff and Happy return home, their mother Linda gets very angry at them for behaving badly with their father. Biff also realizes that his behavior was wrong and feels ashamed and he goes to the backyard of his home where his father was sowing some seeds at midnight.  

Willy was presumably talking to the ghost of his dead brother Ben. Willy has a plan in his mind that the whole life he couldn’t do anything for his family, but if he dies, then his family would get the insurance amount which is about 20000 dollars. 

When he is thinking of this, Biff comes to Willy and starts arguing with him that he has always shown false dreams to both his sons throughout their life. Biff says that neither he nor his father has any great qualities and that his father should also accept this and leave his American dream behind and come to reality. 

After saying this, Biff leaves while crying. Willy decides that he will kill himself for his son and his family. He takes his car and meets an accident and dies. 

At Willy’s funeral, only his own family, Charley, and Barnard arrived. Biff still used to think that his father was an unsuccessful man who did nothing throughout his life and he also died for no reason. 

However, Willy’s neighbor Charley used to think of Willy as a salesman who traded his dreams for his needs. 

Linda was thinking that Willy’s death has paid off all their loans because of the insurance money they have received. But now, there was no main person to live in that house. 

This shows that it is good to be practical, but not so much that we start thinking of educational knowledge to be useless. Reality and illusions are different. It is good to see dreams but to go to such an extreme point and ruin your own life is not practical. 

Final Words

I am glad that you have come this far reading my article on the summary of The Death Of A Salesman by Arthur Miller. Kindly let me know if there are any suggestions that I should imply in my content. And, also check out my other articles including Summary Of The Hairy Ape, Summary Of The Glass Menagerie By Tennessee Williams, and An Otter By Ted Hughes Summary

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