Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Analysis of Chunk 4

It is this chunk that reveals the intense tension that exists between Willy and Biff. Biff has no respect for Willy, but the reader doesn't know why yet. This lack of respect has caused Biff to dismiss his father and his wishes. This scene also exposes Linda as the peace keeper and moderator of the family. She knows that Willy has been trying to commit suicide, but she lets it continue. Linda does not want to confront this reality, thinking that doing so will only make family matters worse than they are.

Biff sees that Linda's hair is gray and says, "Dye it again, will ya'?" showing his inability to see change. Willy has this same inability. In fact, it is probably Willy that passed this attribute onto his son. Willy tells Biff, "Don't be so modest. You always started too low. It's not what you say, it's how you say it, because personality wins the day."

Again, we see that Happy has a desire to get Willy's attention, and please him. Happy tells his parents, "I'm gonna get married, Mom. I wanted to tell you." Also, Hap's sporting goods business idea does not seem sound. He simply made it up knowing that it would please Willy. Such lies and deceit are a vicious cycle in the Loman household: Hap and Biff will soon be making up stories to cover for their last one, leading the family lower and lower.

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