Death Of A Salesman Summary

Death Of A Salesman Summary - Find out about the plot of this famous play and find links to book club questions and themes....

Probably one of the most unhappy characters you'll find in a play!

But this play will really make you strive to find a job that makes you happy.

It is also a great reminder of all you parents out there, about being a positive role model for your kids....

For links to book club questions and themes visit

death of a salesman review

Death Of A Salesman Summary

The Plot

Death of a Salesman Summary

The main character is Willy Loman, a particularly unhappy soul and we first meet him on his return from a cancelled business trip away. He' s just crashed the car in fact.

His wife Linda is worried about him and his mental health. She thinks Willy should ask his boss to let him work in the local office so he doesn't have to travel anymore. He's getting old and keeps talking to himself. He probably isn't fit to be driving a car.

They have two grown up sons, Biff and Happy. Neither of them have amounted to much in their lives. Is it any wonder with Willy as their role model?

Willy gets angry at his sons for not making more of their lives. Trying to please their father, they tell him that Biff has a new business proposition and even has a meeting set up for the next day.

So, the following day, Willy goes to work to ask for a different job where he can be based in the office. He's told that he needs a rest and is no longer fit to be part of the company. He gets fired and Willy gets angry.

Biff is equally unsuccessful - he's supposed to be meeting a former employer but the guy doesn't even remember him so his proposition goes nowhere.

The three men meet up in a restaurant. We then flash back in time to try and understand what happened to Biff as a child. He was reasonably talented at sport and did well in his exams but an event changed all that, causing him to flunk out at school. It turns out that Biff came to visit his father Willy whilst he was away working. He found him up to no good with a woman.

Biff never told his mother but from that moment onwards, he  despised his father and struggled at school.

Biff and Happy leave the restaurant, picking up a couple of girls, leaving Willy alone in the restaurant. Linda is later cross with the boys for leaving their father all alone.

Biff tries to talk to his father but they end up arguing. He tries to convey to him that he isn't destined for anything great - he's just ordinary. He wants to be loved by his father, Willy,  for who he is and that's not some great business man. Biff hugs his father and tells him he loves him.

But Harry doesn't really listen to what Biff is trying to tell him. He interprets the conversation as forgiveness for cheating on Linda.

Willy decides to commit suicide by crashing his car so that Biff can have enough money to start his own business (through the life insurance) (Not actually what Biff wanted.) But Happy takes his part of the money and wants to follow in his father's footsteps and be a successful (?) business man.

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