Death of a Salesman Quotes

Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. "Willy Loman is here!" That’s all they have to know, and I go right through.

– Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman, Act 1. This speech showcases a delusional Willy’s tendency towards self-deception. Typical of the Loman men’s inflated view of themselves and their own abilities, Willy shows a false pride in his sons and himself. Using a simile he compares Biff and Happy to Adonis, the beautiful mortal lover of the goddesses Aphrodite and Persephone of Greek mythology. He convinces himself that he is some sort of super salesman that buyers cannot wait to buy from, when nothing can be further from the truth. Willy is contemptuous of educational pursuits being the key to delivering the American Dream. Instead he argues that success is achieved by looking good and being well liked, not by study and hard work. He is having a dig at Biff’s studious friend Bernard, who ironically goes on to be a highly successful lawyer. During this scene Willy is experiencing one of his hallucinatory episodes, imagining himself talking to his young sons Biff and Happy, as well as Bernard.