74 pages 2 hours read

Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 1949

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Act I, Scenes 1-6Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Act I, Scenes 1-2 Summary

The play opens on a Monday evening in the Loman household in Brooklyn. A melody played on a flute is heard as Willy Loman, a sixty-three-year-old traveling salesman returns from a trip early. Linda Loman greets her exhausted, troubled husband. Willy is confusing events in the past and present, and he repeatedly falls into a trance while driving. She reassures him that he is simply fatigued and asks if he had a car accident, as he once drove his car off a bridge. Linda suggests that Willy ask his boss, Howard Wagner, to be assigned a job in New York so he doesn’t have to travel. Though Willy hesitates, Linda convinces him to tell Howard about his accomplishments.

Their adult sons, Biff and Happy, are both visiting. Willy calls Biff a “lazy bum” (5) while Linda believes he is lost and needs to find himself. Willy immediately contradicts himself and calls Biff a hard worker, deciding to speak to him in the morning about getting a job as a salesman. Willy’s mind wanders into the past as he reminisces about Biff’s popularity in high school. He then tells Linda that he won’t argue with Biff about his career anymore.