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ICKi Plays

Death of a SalesBAD

Death of a Salesman is a 1949 stage play written by American playwright Arthur Miller. It won the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play. The play premiered on Broadway in February 1949, running for 742 performances, and has been revived on Broadway four times, winning three Tony Awards for Best Revival. It is considered by some critics to be one of the greatest plays of the 20th century.

– Wikipedia


ACT I

SCENE I

A flute melody plays in Willy Loman’s home as he enters.

His wife Linda is also there. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m back home from my failed sales trips. My home is in Brooklyn, and I’m exhausted. 

LINDA

Can I convince you to ask your boss, Howard Wagner, to let you work in New York so that you don’t have to travel so much? 

WILLY LOMAN

I’ll talk to Howard tomorrow. 

LINDA

Good. Biff, our oldest son, is back to visit. 

WILLY LOMAN

It bothers me that he’s made nothing of his life. 

LINDA 

Don’t be so critical. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m going to the kitchen to get a snack. 

SCENE II

Willy Lowman goes to the kitchen. 

WILLY LOMAN 

No one’s here and I’m still talking. 

From a room that’s not the kitchen (but from where they can still hear Willy Loman talking to himself), Biff and Happy talk: 

BIFF

Do you remember our childhood, Happy? 

HAPPY

I’m also visiting home. Yes, I do remember it. 

BIFF

Our father is babbling to himself again. 

HAPPY

Most of his ramblings are criticisms of you, and the fact that you haven’t lived up to his expectations. 

BIFF

I’m dissatisfied with my life. 

HAPPY

I’m dissatisfied with my life, too. 

BIFF

Wouldn’t it be such a fantasy to buy a ranch out West? 

HAPPY

It really would. 

SCENE III

A fantasy: 

WILLY LOMAN

Biff and Happy, my young sons, I praise you both for your abilities to wash my car. 

BIFF (young)

I’m a high school star, and I love you, Dad. 

HAPPY (young)

I’m so happy you’re back from your business trip. 

WILLY LOMAN

Here’s a secret, sons: I’m going to open my own business one day, and it’s going to be bigger than our neighbor Charley’s business. 

Bernard enters the fantasy. 

BERNARD (young)

Where’s Biff? 

BIFF (young)

Here I am. 

BERNARD (young)

We have to go study for math class, or you’ll fail. 

WILLY LOMAN

See, Bernard is smart, but he’s not “well-liked,” which will ultimately hurt him in the long run. 

Linda (but she’s younger) enters the fantasy.

LINDA (young)

Here I am. 

BIFF (young)

I have to do chores. 

HAPPY (young)

I also have to do chores. 

BERNARD (young)

I also have to do chores. 

All the boys leave the fantasy. 

WILLY LOMAN

My sales trip was a phenomenal success. 

LINDA (young)

Was it really? 

WILLY LOMAN

It was only meagerly successful. Soon I won’t be able to make the payment on our appliances and our car. No one likes me and I’m bad at my job. 

LINDA (young)

Let me console you. 

WILLY LOMAN

Okay. 

THE WOMAN

Ha ha ha…

Fantasy Willy Loman approaches The Woman. This is a fantasy within the fantasy: 

THE WOMAN

Ha ha ha ha ha ha…

WILLY LOMAN

I’m flirting with you. 

THE WOMAN

I’m flirting back. Thanks for the stockings. 

This fantasy shifts back to Willy Loman’s earlier fantasy in the kitchen. 

LINDA (young)

I assure you that all of the worries you mentioned will turn out okay. 

WILLY LOMAN (angry)

Stop mending those stockings and throw them out.

Bernard bursts in. 

BERNARD (young)

Again, where is Biff?! 

LINDA (young)

Willy, remember that Biff has to return the football that he stole. Also, I think that Biff is a bit too rough with the neighborhood girls. 

THE WOMAN

Ha ha ha… 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m EXPLODING.

LINDA (young)

I’m leaving. 

BERNARD (young)

I’m also leaving. 

They leave and the daydream ends. 

SCENE IV

WILLY LOMAN (muttering to himself)

Exploding, exploding. 

Happy comes downstairs into the kitchen. 

HAPPY

Dad, be quiet. 

WILLY LOMAN (shouting)

I regret not going to Alaska with my brother Ben because he eventually found a diamond mine in Africa and became rich! 

Charley enters. 

CHARLEY

I entered because I heard the commotion. 

HAPPY

I’m going to bed. 

Happy goes. 

CHARLEY

Let’s play cards. 

WILLY LOMAN 

Okay. 

They play cards. 

CHARLEY

Do you want a job with me? 

WILLY LOMAN

That’s insulting and I refuse your offer. 

CHARLEY

Take the job. 

Ben enters, but he’s in Willy Loman’s imagination. 

WILLY LOMAN

No, Ben. 

BEN

I’ve inspected your house, and I have to catch a train soon to look at properties in Alaska. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m interested in the prospect of going to Alaska. 

CHARLEY

Willy, no one’s there. I’m confused, and I’m questioning who you think you’re talking to right now. 

WILLY LOMAN

Aaah! 

CHARLEY

I’m leaving. 

Charley leaves. Now this is just a fantasy. The younger version of Linda enters. 

LINDA (young)

Hi, I’m Linda. 

BEN

Hi, I’m Ben. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m impatient, how is your life? 

BEN

I’ve travelled, and of course I have to mention our father. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m daydreaming even further now. 

BEN

I’m about to leave now. 

Bernard and Charley rush inside. 

BERNARD & CHARLEY (young)

We’ve rushed here to tell you that Biff and Happy are stealing lumber. 

BEN

I’m leaving. 

Ben leaves. 

WILLY LOMAN

Wait, I’m still talking to you. 

SCENE V

Outside. Back in reality. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m outside. 

LINDA

I found you. 

SCENE VI

Inside the house. Biff and Happy come downstairs. 

BIFF & HAPPY

Let’s discuss our father’s condition. 

BIFF

I judge him for his condition. 

LINDA

You’re being too harsh with your judgments. 

BIFF

I know Willy is a fake. 

LINDA

Can you elaborate on that? 

BIFF

I could, but I refuse to. 

LINDA

Willy tried to commit suicide, you know. 

HAPPY

That makes me angry! Biff, I disapprove of your failures in the business world! 

Willy Loman enters. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m also yelling at Biff! For the same reason!

HAPPY

Let me get in the middle of this argument. Dad, what if… Biff and I go into the sporting good business together? 

WILLY LOMAN

That prospect brightens up my spirits immediately. I have a ton of tips for you about how to ask for a loan from Bill Oliver, because he was one of my old employers. 

BIFF

Let’s argue again! 

HAPPY

No, let’s reconcile! 

WILLY LOMAN

Let’s argue! 

LINDA

Let’s reconcile and go to bed! 

WILLY LOMAN

Okay. 

BIFF

Okay. 

HAPPY

Okay. 

They all go to bed. 

ACT II 

SCENE VII

Willy Loman and Linda are in the kitchen. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m really enjoying this breakfast that you made for me, Linda. 

LINDA

Thank you for saying that. 

WILLY LOMAN

The future seems bright… But these expensive appliances make me angry! 

LINDA

Biff and Happy are going to take you out to dinner tonight. 

WILLY LOMAN

That’s exciting! And, I’m going to make Howard Wagner give me a job in New York! 

The phone rings, and Biff enters. 

BIFF

Let’s chat, Mom. 

LINDA

Be nice to your father at the restaurant tonight. 

SCENE VIII

Willy Loman and Howard in Howard’s office. 

HOWARD

I’m playing with this wire recorder. 

WILLY LOMAN

I want to broach the topic — 

HOWARD

Listen to my wife and kids on the wire recorder, will you? 

WILLY LOMAN

Okay. I wanted to broach — 

HOWARD

Keep listening to them. 

WILLY LOMAN

— the topic of working in New York? 

HOWARD

No. 

WILLY LOMAN

Dave Singleman, the legendary salesman, was the person who inspired me to go into sales. 

HOWARD

That was a lengthy recalling. I have to leave now. 

Howard leaves. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m so angry. 

Howard re-enters. 

HOWARD

Why don’t you take some time off? 

Howard leaves. And… the imagined Ben enters! 

BEN

Why don’t you join me in Alaska? 

The younger Linda enters. 

LINDA (young)

Remember how you have sons and a job? 

The younger Biff enters. 

BIFF (young)

I’m your son, but as you remember me younger. 

WILLY LOMAN

You have great prospects, and you’re also so well liked. 

Ben leaves, and the younger Bernard rushes in. 

BERNARD (young)

I rushed here because I’m so eager for Biff’s big football game! 

The younger Charley also enters. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m so optimistic about this big game. 

CHARLEY (young, mocking him)

i’M sO OpTiMiStiC AbOut tHIs BiG gAme. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m gonna get you! 

Willy Loman chases Charley off. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m still yelling! I’m still yelling! 

SCENE IX

Now reality and fantasy are colliding!! We’re at Charley and I think also Bernard’s office now.

JENNY

I’m Charley’s secretary. Bernard, can you quiet him down? 

Willy Loman enters. 

WILLY LOMAN

You know, Bernard, Biff is working on a very big deal. Very very big. 

BERNARD

I’m going to Washington to fight a case. 

WILLY LOMAN

Your success is daunting. Why has Biff turned out to be such a failure? 

BERNARD

Well, what happened in Boston that made Biff decide not to go to summer school? 

WILLY LOMAN

Don’t blame me for Biff’s failures.

Charley enters. 

CHARLEY

Bernard, I’ll see you off now. 

BERNARD

Okay. 

Bernard exits. 

WILLY LOMAN

Can I have more money than the amount that you usually loan me? 

CHARLEY

I’m offering you a job again. 

WILLY LOMAN

No, I don’t want to take a job from you… Also, I was fired. 

CHARLEY

You always need to be liked! Here, I’m angry, take the money. 

WILLY LOMAN

You’re my only friend. I’m not gonna cry. 

Willy Loman exits. 

SCENE X

At Frank’s Chop House. Stanley, a waiter, sets the table. 

STANLEY

I’m setting the table because I’m a waiter. 

HAPPY

I’ll help you set the table. 

Mrs. Forsythe enters the restaurant. 

STANLEY & HAPPY

Get a load of that woman who just entered. 

STANLEY

I’m going to look at her only because I’m attracted to her appearance. 

HAPPY

I’m going to flirt with her. 

MRS. FORSYTHE

I’m going to flirt back. 

HAPPY

Ohhhh. 

Biff enters the restaurant. 

HAPPY

Biff, this is Mrs. Forsythe. 

MRS. FORSYTHE

Hello. 

BIFF

Hello. 

HAPPY

Mrs. Forsythe, should we continue to flirt? 

MRS. FORSYTHE

Yes, yes we should. 

HAPPY
Great. 

MRS. FORSYTHE

I’m a call girl. 

HAPPY

Will you call another call girl? 

MRS. FORSYTHE

Yes. Let me go telephone her now. 

She goes to the phone. 

BIFF

I waited six hours for Bill Oliver to show up today, and when he did, he didn’t even recognize me. I’m upset at our father’s unrelenting misconception that I’m actually a salesman for Oliver. I’m so mad that I plan to shatter all of Willy’s illusions tonight. 

Willy Loman enters and joins them at the table. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’ve arrived for dinner. 

BIFF (gently)

I waited six hours for Bill Oliver to show up today, and when he did, he didn’t even recognize me. 

WILLY LOMAN

I was fired today. 

BIFF

I’m stunned. (gently) I waited six hours for Bill Oliver to show up today, and when he did —

HAPPY

But Biff is going to be really, really successful anyway! 

WILLY LOMAN

I can’t wait to hear the good news. 

BIFF (exploding)

You’re being so unwilling to listen!! 

WILLY LOMAN

No I’m not! 

BIFF

Yes you are! 

Fantasy and reality are blending again!! The younger Bernard and Linda enters the scene:

BERNARD (young)

Linda! Linda! 

LINDA (young)

What happened? 

BERNARD (young)

Biff failed math. 

Back in the restaurant: 

WILLY LOMAN

Biff, I can’t believe you failed math. 

THE VOICE OF A HOTEL OPERATOR

I’m the operator of a hotel in Boston. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m not in my room right now! 

BIFF

Be quiet! Actually, Oliver is talking to his partner about loaning me the money I asked for. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m so interested to know more! I have so many probing questions to ask you about the meeting and the loan.

BIFF (screaming)

Your questions irk me!!!

THE WOMAN

Ha ha ha… 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m so angry that I am going to hit you!! 

He does, and then he staggers. 

WILLY LOMAN

Hitting you has caused me to stagger. 

Mrs. Forsythe and Letta enter.

MRS. FORSYTHE

I’m back with another call girl. 

LETTA

I’m the other call girl, my name is Letta. 

HAPPY

Hello. I think I’ll flirt with you both. 

MRS. FORSYTHE

Alright. 

LETTA

Alright. 

BIFF

Let me help you to the washroom, Dad. 

Biff approaches Happy. 

BIFF

Seeing you flirting with these women right now makes me want to argue with you about our father’s condition. And now I’m leaving. 

Biff leaves. 

HAPPY

I’m going to follow him. 

MRS. FORSYTHE & LETTA

We’ll come with you. 

SCENE XI

In a hotel room. All fantasy-mode. Willy and The Woman. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m dressing myself and flirting with you at the same time. 

THE WOMAN

I’m dressing myself and flirting back. 

There is a knock on the door. 

THE WOMAN

Who could that be? 

WILLY LOMAN

Quick, get in the bathroom. 

Willy answers the door. 

WILLY LOMAN

It’s Biff at the door, my young son. 

BIFF (young)

I failed math. 

WILLY LOMAN

I don’t want you to come into the room but I’m not going to say that… 

BIFF (young)

My math teacher has a lisp. 

WILLY LOMAN & THE WOMAN

Ha ha ha ha ha

BIFF (young)

Who is that woman? 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m not cheating on your mother. 

BIFF (young)

I don’t believe you. You’re a phony little fake. I’m leaving. 

Biff storms out. 

SCENE XII

Back in the restaurant again, which means we’re back in reality again. 

STANLEY

You fell down, let me help you up. 

WILLY LOMAN

Do you know where I can find a seed store? 

STANLEY

Yes, and I can give you the directions there. 

WILLY LOMAN

I have to go there quickly. 

SCENE XIII

The kitchen in the Loman house. Happy enters. 

HAPPY

Where’s Willy? 

He goes into the living room. Biff also enters. 

HAPPY

There’s Linda. Where’s Dad? I have these flowers in my hand. 

BIFF

I’m inside too. 

LINDA

You both didn’t listen to me when I asked you to be nice to your father! 

HAPPY
You slapped my flowers!

LINDA

You abandoned Willy! 

HAPPY

I’d like to try to appease you right now. 

BIFF

I’ll go look for him. 

He looks for a moment. 

BIFF

He’s out here, planting seeds in the garden… at night… but he has a flashlight. 

In Willy Loman’s fantasy, Ben is there. 

WILLY LOMAN

Can I consult with you about a $20,000 proposition? 

BEN

Of course. 

BIFF

I’m here to say goodbye. Can I bring you inside? 

WILLY LOMAN

Alright. 

They move into the house. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m so angry about your failures! 

HAPPY

Dad, calm down — 

BIFF

I’m so furious at you!!

WILLY LOMAN
I’M so furious at YOU!!! 

Biff sobs. 

WILLY LOMAN

The fact that you’re crying right now touches me. 

LINDA

I’m going to bed. 

BIFF

Me too. 

HAPPY

Me too. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m not. 

They all go. Just Willy and his fantasies now. 

WILLY LOMAN 

Can we renew our conversation about the $20,000 proposition? 

BEN

Of course. 

WILLY LOMAN

I’m so excited about the prospect. Biff is going to do great with $20,000 of insurance money. 

LINDA

Willy? 

No response. 

LINDA

I’m still listening for a response! 

BIFF

I am, too. 

HAPPY

Me too. 

The sound of Willy Loman’s car speeding away. 

BIFF & HAPPY

Did you hear that sound? 

LINDA

Yes, it sounded like Willy’s car speeding away. 

SCENE XIV

In the requiem which I think is still in the Loman’s house. 

LINDA

I’m shocked that Willy’s funeral was so poorly attended. 

HAPPY

I’m so shocked. 

BIFF

He had the wrong dreams. 

CHARLEY

Actually, Willy was just a victim of his profession. 

Some time passes. 

BIFF

I’m just about ready to leave. Happy, do you want to come back out West with me? 

HAPPY

No, I’m going to stick it out in New York to honor Dad’s death. 

Some time passes. 

LINDA

Willy, will you ever forgive me for being unable to cry for you? 

She starts crying. 

LINDA

We’re free, we’re free, we’re free…

They all exit as the flute melody is heard again. 

T H E  E N D

By ICKipedia

ICKipedia Theatre is a theatre comedy podcast which engages with classic plays and their contemporary adaptations. By reducing revered works to their truest forms — the Wikipedia plot summary — we poke fun at, and poke holes in, the western canon.

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