Act 1, Part 6 Notes from Death of a Salesman

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Death of a Salesman Act 1, Part 6

Happy comes downstairs and Willy snaps back into the present. Hap tries to calm his dad and take him upstairs to bed, but Willy rambles on about how Linda shouldn't have waxed the floor because it might hurt her back. Hap asks him why he came back from his trip, and Willy says that he almost ran over someone in Yonkers, and it scared him. He wonders aloud why he didn't go to Alaska with his brother, Ben, when he had the chance. Ben was rich by the age of twenty-one because he had a diamond mine. Hap tells Willy that he's going to retire him for life, and Willy ridicules him because he only makes $70 a week, and that won't retire him, and now Willy can't even drive past Yonkers anymore.

Topic Tracking: Failure 5

Amid Willy's frantic tirade, Charley comes in the kitchen to find out what the noise is all about because he can hear through the thin walls. Hap goes up to bed while Willy sits down at the kitchen table with Charley to play cards. Willy insults Charley with his condescension, but Charley ignores it. Charley offers him a job so that he won't have to travel; Willy is offended, but Charley only means well. Willy tells him that Biff is going back to Texas to be a farmhand, and Charley tells him not to worry about it, to forget Biff. Willy says if he does that, he'll have nothing to remember. He then changes the subject to the ceiling he put up. Charley tries to go along with the conversation, to seem interested, but Willy insults him more. As the men talk, Ben enters the forestage from the right corner of the house and his music plays. Willy calls Charley by Ben's name while Ben stands on the forestage looking around and then glances at his watch insisting that he only has a few minutes. Charley and Willy continue their card game as Willy explains that a couple of weeks ago, they got a letter from Ben's wife telling them he was dead. That was the only time they'd heard of him since he came to their home briefly on his way back to Africa. Ben asks Willy questions, and as Willy answers, Charley tries to follow the conversation that Willy seems to be having with himself. In the confusion of past and present colliding in Willy's head, he accuses Charley of cheating at their card game and Charley storms out. Willy walks through the wall-line of the kitchen to where Ben stands.

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