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Act Two - Part 2

When Willy is alone, he imagines that Ben is there with him. Ben again is in a hurry, and he cannot adequately answer Willy's questions. Ben offers a job to Willy in Alaska, but Linda, who is also present in Willy's imagination, reminds Willy that he already has a good job and that he has been promised a partnership in his company. Willy boasts about Biff again, but Ben abruptly leaves with Willy calling after him, asking if Ben has any advice for him since he admires him so much.

When Ben leaves, Willy enters another reverie about the past and young Bernard comes onto the scene. He wants to carry Biff's helmet to the big football game at Ebbets Field, which is what everyone is so excited over. Just as the family is leaving to watch the game, Charley enters and wants to know if Willy is free to shoot Casino. Willy is aghast that Charley does not know how special that day is, and Charley continues to kid with Willy and plead ignorance, much to Willy's agitation. Willy tells him that he does not think his kidding is funny, but Charley tells Willy that he has to grow up soon. Willy is extremely angry, even threatening to fight with Charley.

All while Willy has been remembering these past events, he has made his way over to Charley's office. Jenny, Charley's secretary, is irritated with his presence, so she asks Bernard, Charley's son, to talk with him so as not to bother his father. Willy is impressed with Bernard's tennis rackets, especially since he will be playing on private courts, and Willy starts to brag about Biff's deal with Bill Oliver. Bernard asks Willy about his job, but Willy overlooks the question and just keeps talking about Biff.

Willy then asks Bernard for his opinion on what happened with Biff, and why Biff was not as successful as Bernard despite all his trying. Bernard speaks candidly and says that after the football game at Ebbets Field, everything changed for Biff. He had flunked math and should have enrolled in summer school that year in high school, but he never did. Bernard says that Biff went up to Boston to talk with Willy about it, but the mention of that event seems to pain Willy who gets angry at the reminder. Willy starts to lash back at Bernard, asking why he should be at fault for Biff's failures.

Just then, Charley comes in, telling Bernard to go and catch his train. He boasts to Willy that Bernard is off to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. When Bernard is gone, Willy asks, with difficulty, if Charley can loan him $110 to cover his insurance payment. Charley responds to the request by saying that he has offered Willy a job many times that will pay good money and will not require him to travel at all. Willy refuses once again, infuriated at Charley, so Charley just sighs and asks Willy how much money he will need. At this, Willy admits that he has just been fired and sighs, wondering why being well-liked was not the key to success, as he previously thought. Charley tells him that being liked is not important, and again, he offers Willy the job. Willy refuses again, saying that he cannot work for Charley and will not say why. Charley gives the money to Willy, and Willy is grateful, asking Charley to tell Bernard that he was sorry for getting angry at him. Willy remarks that some people are just worth more dead than alive, but Charley tries to discourage that type of thinking. Before Willy leaves, he tells Charley that he is the only friend he has.

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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