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Act One - Part 4

Charley comes in and tells Willy that if the boys steal any more lumber from the construction site that the cops will come after them. Willy ignores Charley's warnings and boasts of the fearless characters he has reared, but Charley says that the jails are full of fearless characters. As Ben leaves, he calls the boys "manly chaps," and Willy is grateful but he wants to know if he is raising them correctly.

In the present time, Linda comes downstairs and asks Willy if he is okay. Willy decides to talk a walk outside, even though he is in his slippers. Happy and Biff come downstairs to accompany Linda and Biff asks how long Willy has been this way. Linda says that she would have told Biff about Willy except that she never had an address for Biff since he was always moving around. Moreover, each time Biff writes to say that he is coming home for a visit, Willy starts out very happy and excited, but when the actual time for his visit comes around, he gets very moody and agitated. Linda then continues and says that if Biff cannot respect Willy during his visits, then he cannot come to see her. Willy is the man she loves and he deserves his son's attention. Biff does not know Willy's unfortunate situation at all, so Linda tells him. Willy has been put on straight commission after 34 years with his company, and he even has to borrow money from Charley and tell Linda that it is his salary. Biff comments that the company is ungrateful to treat Willy this way, but Linda says it is no worse than how Happy and Biff threat him.

Biff refuses to believe Linda and calls Willy a fake. Then Linda reveals that Willy has attempted suicide a couple times in the past. Last month, Willy was involved in a car crash and the insurance company had to investigate whether or not it was intentional. Then, Linda also found a rubber hose attached to the gas heater, but she is too ashamed to remove it, since then Willy would know that she had seen it. She emotionally tells Biff that Willy's life is in his hands. Biff tries to call her down, by reassuring her that he will be better. Then he and Happy get into a small argument, since Happy does not believe that Biff is responsible enough to understand what is going on. Biff says that he is just trying to find a job where he can whistle when he wants to and not get in trouble, and also a job where no one will laugh at him.

At this comment, Willy re-enters and starts to argue with Biff, saying that everyone should be more than a carpenter. Happy interrupts and tells Willy that Biff is going to see Bill Oliver tomorrow, and Willy is immediately pleased. He asks Biff how much he is going to ask for and tells him to ask big, to get big. Happy reveals his own idea to have a sporting goods company called the Loman Line, which pleases Willy even more. Linda tries to take part in the conversation, but Willy snaps at her, causing Biff to defend her. Willy leaves, full of guilt. Linda follows him, leaving a sullen Biff, although he is inspired by the idea that Bill Oliver might loan him a great deal of money. Happy tells Biff that he is full of confidence now, like he used to be, and the boys go to their parents' bedroom to say good night. Linda asks Willy to please fix the plumbing when he gets a chance, and Willy laments how everything is falling apart. Linda also asks Willy if he is going to talk with Howard tomorrow morning, and Willy tells her everything will be okay.

Happy tries to tell Linda that he is planning to get married, but Linda does not respond and simply tells him to go to bed. Before heading to bed, Biff goes out to smoke a cigarette. On his return, he stops by the gas heater and removes the rubber pipe that Linda suspects Willy is using to try to kill himself. He wraps the tube around his hand and heads up to his room.

Browse all book notes

Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Act One - Part 1
Act One - Part 2
Act One - Part 3
Act One - Part 4
Act Two - Part 1
Act Two - Part 2
Act Two - Part 3
Act Two - Part 4
Act Two - Part 5


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