WILLY (putting it in Stanley’s hand): No, take it. You’re a good boy.
STANLEY: Oh, no, you don’t have to...
WILLY: Here — here’s some more, I don’t need it any more. (After a slight pause.) Tell me — is there a seed store in the neighborhood?
STANLEY: Seeds? You mean like to plant?
(As Willy turns, Stanley slips the money back into his jacket pocket.) WILLY: Yes. Carrots, peas...
STANLEY: Well, there’s hardware stores on Sixth Avenue, but it may be too late now.
WILLY (anxiously): Oh, I’d better hurry. I’ve got to get some seeds. (He starts off to the right.) I’ve got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground.
(Willy hurries out as the light goes down. Stanley moves over to the right after him, watches him off. The other waiter has been staring at Willy.) STANLEY (to the waiter): Well, whatta you looking at?
(The waiter picks up the chairs and moves off right. Stanley takes the table and follows him. The light fades on this area. There is a long pause, the sound of the flute corning over. The light gradually rises on the kitchen, which is empty. Happy appears at the door of the house, followed by Biff. Happy is carrying a large bunch of long-stemmed roses. He enters the kitchen, looks around for Linda. Not seeing her, he turns to Biff, who is just outside the house door, and makes a gesture with his hands, indicating »Not here, I guess.« He looks into the living room and freezes. Inside, Linda, unseen is seated, Willy’s coat on her lap. She rises ominously and quietly and moves toward Happy, who backs up into the kitchen, afraid.) HAPPY: Hey, what’re you doing up? (Linda says nothing but moves toward him implacably.) Where’s Pop? (He keeps backing to the right and now Linda is in full view in the doorway to the living room.) Is he sleeping?
LINDA: Where were you?
HAPPY (trying to laugh it off): We met two girls, Mom, very fine types. Here, we brought you some flowers. (Offering them to her.) Put them in your room, Ma.
(She knocks them to the floor at Biff’s feet. He has now come inside and closed the door behind him. She stares at Biff, silent.) HAPPY: Now what’d you do that for? Mom, I want you to have some flowers...
LINDA (cutting Happy off, violently to Biff): Don’t you care whether he lives or dies?
HAPPY (going to the stairs): Come upstairs, Biff.
BIFF (with a flare of disgust, to Happy): Go away from me! (To Linda.) What do you mean, lives or dies? Nobody’s dying around here, pal.
LINDA: Get out of my sight! Get out of here!
BIFF: I wanna see the boss.
LINDA: You’re not going near him!
BIFF: Where is he? (He moves into the living room and Linda follows.)
LINDA (shouting after Biff): You invite him for dinner. He looks forward to it all day — (Biff appears in his parent’s bedroom, looks around, and exits) — and then you desert him there. There’s no stranger you’d do that to!
HAPPY: Why? He had a swell time with us. Listen, when I — (Linda comes back into the kitchen) — desert him I hope I don’t outlive the day!
LINDA: Get out of here!
HAPPY: Now look, Mom...
LINDA: Did you have to go to women tonight? You and your lousy rotten whores!
(Biff re-enters the kitchen.) HAPPY: Mom, all we did was follow Biff around trying to cheer him up! (To Biff.) Boy, what a night you gave me!
LINDA: Get out of here, both of you, and don’t come back! I don’t want you tormenting him any more. Go on now, get your things together! (To Biff.) You can sleep in his apartment. (She starts to pick up the flowers and stops herself.) Pick up this stuff, I’m not your maid any more. Pick it up, you bum, you!
(Happy turns his back to her in refusal. Biff slowly moves over and gets down on his knees, picking up the flowers.) LINDA: You’re a pair of animals! Not one, not another living soul would have had the cruelty to walk out on the man in a restaurant!
BIFF (not looking at her): Is that what he said?
LINDA: He didn’t have to say anything. He was so humiliated he nearly limped when he came in.
HAPPY: But, Mom, he had a great time with us...
BIFF (cutting him off violently): Shut up!
(Without another word, Happy goes upstairs.) LINDA: You! You didn’t even go in to see if he was all right!
BIFF (still on the floor in front of Linda, the flowers in his hand; with self-loathing): No. Didn’t. Didn’t do a damned thing. How do you like that, heh? Left him babbling in a toilet.
LINDA: You louse. You...
BIFF: Now you hit it on the nose! (He gets up, throws the flowers in the wastebasket.) The scum of the earth, and you’re looking at him!
LINDA: Get out of here!
BIFF: I gotta talk to the boss, Mom. Where is he?
LINDA: You’re not going near him. Get out of this house!
BIFF (with absolute assurance, determination): No. We’re gonna have an abrupt conversation, him and me.
LINDA: You’re not talking to him.
(Hammering is heard from outside the house, off right. Biff turns toward the noise.) LINDA (suddenly pleading): Will you please leave him alone?
BIFF: What’s he doing out there?
LINDA: He’s planting the garden!
BIFF (quietly): Now? Oh, my God!
(Biff moves outside, Linda following. The light dies down on them and comes up on the center of the apron as Willy walks into it. He is carrying a flashlight, a hoe, and a handful of seed packets. He raps the top of the hoe sharply to fix it firmly, and then moves to the left, measuring off the distance with his foot. He holds the flashlight to look at the seed packets, reading off the instructions. He is in the blue of night.) WILLY: Carrots... quarter-inch apart. Rows... one-foot rows. (He measures it off.) One foot. (He puts down a package and measures off.) Beets. (He puts down another package and measures again.) Lettuce. (He reads the package, puts it down.) One foot
— (He breaks off as Ben appears at the right and moves slowly down to him.) What a proposition, ts, ts. Terrific, terrific. ‘Cause she’s suffered, Ben, the woman has suffered. You understand me? A man can’t go out the way, he came in, Ben, a man has got to add up to something. You can’t, you can’t — (Ben moves toward him as though to interrupt.) You gotta consider, now. Don’t answer so quick. Remember, it’s a guaranteed twenty-thousand-dollar proposition. Now look, Ben, I want you to go through the ins and outs of this thing with me. I’ve got nobody to talk to, Ben, and the woman has suffered, you hear me?
BEN (standing still, considering): What’s the proposition?
WILLY: It’s twenty thousand dollars on the barrelhead. Guaranteed, gilt-edged, you understand?
BEN: You don’t want to make a fool of yourself. They might not honor the policy.
WILLY: How can they dare refuse? Didn’t I work like a coolie to meet every premium on the nose? And now they don’t pay off? Impossible!
BEN: It’s called a cowardly thing, William.
WILLY: Why? Does it take more guts to stand here the rest of my life ringing up a zero?
BEN (yielding): That’s a point, William. (He moves, thinking, turns.) And twenty thousand — that is something one can feel with the hand, it is there.
WILLY (now assured, with rising power): Oh, Ben, that’s the whole beauty of it! I see it like a diamond, shining in the dark, hard and rough, that I can pick up and touch in my hand. Not like — like an appointment! This would not be another damned-fool appointment, Ben, and it changes all the aspects. Because he thinks I’m nothing, see, and so he spites me. But the funeral... (Straightening up.) Ben, that funeral will be massive! They’ll come from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire! All the oldtimers with the strange license plates — that boy will be thunderstruck, Ben, because he never realized — I am known! Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey — I am known, Ben, and he’ll see it with his eyes once and for all. He’ll see what I am, Ben! He’s in for a shock, that boy!
BEN (coming down to the edge of the garden): He’ll call you a coward.
WILLY (suddenly fearful): No, that would be terrible.
BEN: He’ll hate you, William.
(The gay music of the Boys is heard.) WILLY: Oh, Ben, how do we get back to all the great times? Used to be so full of light, and comradeship, the sleigh-riding in winter, and the ruddiness on his cheeks. And always some kind of good news coming up, always something nice coming up ahead. And never even let me carry the valises in the house, and simonizing, simonizing that little red car! Why, why can’t I give him something and not have him hate me?
BEN: Let me think about it. (He glances at his watch.) I still have a little time. Remarkable proposition, but you’ve got to be sure you’re not making a fool of yourself. (Ben drifts off upstage and goes out of sight. Biff comes down from the left.)
WILLY (suddenly conscious of Biff, turns and looks up at him, then begins picking up the packages of seeds in confusion.): Where the hell is that seed? (Indignantly.) You can’t see nothing out here! They boxed in the whole goddam neighborhood!
BIFF: There are people all around here. Don’t you realize that?
WILLY: I’m busy. Don’t bother me.
BIFF (taking the hoe from Willy): I’m saying good-by to you, Pop. (Willy looks at him, silent, unable to move.) I’m not coming back any more.
WILLY: You’re not going to see Oliver tomorrow?
BIFF: I’ve got no appointment, Dad.
WILLY: He put his arm around you, and you’ve got no appointment?
BIFF: Pop, get this now, will you? Everytime I’ve left it’s been a fight that sent me out of here. Today I realized something about myself and I tried to explain it to you and I — I think I’m just not smart enough to make any sense out of it for you. To hell with whose fault it is or anything like that. (He takes Willy’s arm.) Let’s just wrap it up, heh? Come on in, we’ll tell Mom. (He gently tries to pull Willy to left.)
WILLY (frozen, immobile, with guilt in his voice): No, I don’t want to see her.
BIFF: Come on! (He pulls again, and Willy tries to pull away.)
WILLY (highly nervous): No, no, I don’t want to see her.
BIFF (tries to look into Willy’s face, as if to find the answer there): Why don’t you want to see her?
WILLY (more harshly now): Don’t bother me, will you?
BIFF: What do you mean, you don’t want to see her? You don’t want them calling you yellow, do you? This isn’t your fault; it’s me, I’m a bum. Now come inside! (Willy strains to get away.) Did you hear what I said to you?
(Willy pulls away and quickly goes by himself into the house. Biff follows.) LINDA (to Willy): Did you plant, dear?
BIFF (at the door, to Linda). All right, we had it out. I’m going and I’m not writing any more.
LINDA (going to Willy in the kitchen): I think that’s the best way, dear. ‘Cause there’s no use drawing it out, you’ll just never get along.
(Willy doesn’t respond.) BIFF: People ask where I am and what I’m doing, you don’t know, and you don’t care. That way it’ll be off your mind and you can start brightening up again. All right? That clears it, doesn’t it? (Willy is silent, and Biff goes to him.) You gonna wish me luck, scout? (He extends his hand.) What do you say?
LINDA: Shake his hand, Willy.
WILLY (turning to her, seething with hurt): There’s no necessity to mention the pen at all, y’know.
BIFF (gently): I’ve got no appointment, Dad.
WILLY (erupting fiercely). He put his arm around... ?
BIFF: Dad, you’re never going to see what I am, so what’s the use of arguing? If I strike oil I’ll send you a check. Meantime forget I’m alive.
WILLY (to Linda): Spite, see?
BIFF: Shake hands, Dad.
WILLY: Not my hand.
BIFF: I was hoping not to go this way.
WILLY: Well, this is the way you’re going. Good-by.
(Biff looks at him a moment, then turns sharply and goes to the stairs.) WILLY (stops him with): May you rot in hell if you leave this house!
BIFF (turning): Exactly what is it that you want from me?
WILLY: I want you to know, on the train, in the mountains, in the valleys, wherever you go, that you cut down your life for spite!
BIFF: No, no.
WILLY: Spite, spite, is the word of your undoing! And when you’re down and out, remember what did it. When you’re rotting somewhere beside the railroad tracks, remember, and don’t you dare blame it on me!
BIFF: I’m not blaming it on you!
WILLY: I won’t take the rap for this, you hear?
(Happy comes down the stairs and stands on the bottom step, watching.) BIFF: That’s just what I’m telling you!
WILLY (sinking into a chair at a table, with full accusation): You’re trying to put a knife in me — don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing!
BIFF: All right, phony! Then let’s lay it on the line. (He whips the rubber tube out of his pocket and puts it on the table.)
HAPPY: You crazy...
LINDA: Biff! (She moves to grab the hose, but Biff holds it down with his hand.)
BIFF: Leave it there! Don’t move it!
WILLY (not looking at it): What is that?
BIFF: You know goddam well what that is.
WILLY (caged, wanting to escape): I never saw that.
BIFF: You saw it. The mice didn’t bring it into the cellar! What is this supposed to do, make a hero out of you? This supposed to make me sorry for you?
WILLY: Never heard of it.
BIFF: There’ll be no pity for you, you hear it? No pity!
WILLY (to Linda): You hear the spite!
BIFF: No, you’re going to hear the truth — what you are and what I am!
LINDA: Stop it!
HAPPY (coming down toward Biff): You cut it now!
BIFF (to Happy): The man don’t know who we are! The man is gonna know! (To Willy) We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!
HAPPY: We always told the truth!
BIFF (turning on him): You big blow, are you the assistant buyer? You’re one of the two assistants to the assistant, aren’t you?
HAPPY: Well, I’m practically —
BIFF: You’re practically full of it! We all are! And I’m through with it. (To Willy.) Now hear this, Willy, this is me.
WILLY: I know you!
BIFF: You know why I had no address for three months? I stole a suit in Kansas City and I was in jail. (To Linda, who is sobbing.) Stop crying. I’m through with it. (Linda turns away from them, her hands covering her face.)
WILLY: I suppose that’s my fault!
BIFF: I stole myself out of every good job since high school!
WILLY: And whose fault is that?
BIFF: And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That’s whose fault it is!
WILLY: I hear that!
LINDA: Don’t, Biff!
BIFF: It’s goddam time you heard that! I had to be boss big shot in two weeks, and I’m through with it.
WILLY: Then hang yourself! For spite, hang yourself!
BIFF: No! Nobody’s hanging himself, Willy! I ran down eleven flights with a pen in my hand today. And suddenly I stopped, you hear me? And in the middle of that office building, do you hear this? I stopped in the middle of that building and I saw — the sky. I saw the things that I love in this world. The work and the food and time to sit and smoke. And I looked at the pen and said to myself, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be? What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am! Why can’t I say that, Willy? (He tries to make Willy face him, but Willy pulls away and moves to the left.)
WILLY (with hatred, threateningly): The door of your life is wide open!
BIFF: Pop! I’m a dime a dozen, and so are you!
WILLY (turning on him now in an uncontrolled outburst): I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!
(Biff starts for Willy, but is blocked by Happy. In his fury, Biff seems on the verge of attacking his father.) BIFF: I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you. You were never anything but a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash can like all the rest of them! I’m one dollar an hour, Willy I tried seven states and couldn’t raise it. A buck an hour! Do you gather my meaning? I’m not bringing home any prizes any more, and you’re going to stop waiting for me to bring them home!
WILLY (directly to Biff): You vengeful, spiteful mut!
(Biff breaks from Happy. Willy, in fright, starts up the stairs. Biff grabs him.) BIFF (at the peak of his fury): Pop, I’m nothing! I’m nothing, Pop.
Can’t you understand that? There’s no spite in it any more. I’m just what I am, that’s all.
(Biffs fury has spent itself, and he breaks down, sobbing, holding on to Willy, who dumbly fumbles for Biff’s face.) WILLY (astonished): What’re you doing? What’re you doing? (To Linda.) Why is he crying?
BIFF (crying, broken): Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens? (Struggling to contain himself, he pulls away and moves to the stairs.) I’ll go in the morning. Put him — put him to bed. (Exhausted, Biff moves up the stairs to his room.)
WILLY (after a long pause, astonished, elevated): Isn’t that — isn’t that remarkable? Biff — he likes me!
LINDA: He loves you, Willy!
HAPPY (deeply moved): Always did, Pop.
WILLY: Oh, Biff! (Staring wildly.) He cried! Cried to me. (He is choking with his love, and now cries out his promise.) That boy — that boy is going to be magnificent! (Ben appears in the light just outside the kitchen.)
BEN: Yes, outstanding, with twenty thousand behind him.
LINDA (sensing the racing of his mind, fearfully, carefully): Now come to bed, Willy. It’s all settled now.
WILLY (finding it difficult not to rush out of the house): Yes, we’ll sleep. Come on. Go to sleep, Hap.
BEN: And it does take a great kind of a man to crack the jungle. (In accents of dread, Ben’s idyllic music starts up.)
HAPPY (his arm around Linda): I’m getting married, Pop, don’t forget it. I’m changing everything. I’m gonna run that department before the year is up. You’ll see, Mom. (He kisses her.)
BEN: The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy.
(Willy turns, moves, listening to Ben.) LINDA: Be good. You’re both good boys, just act that way, that’s all.
HAPPY: ‘Night, Pop. (He goes upstairs.)
LINDA (to Willy): Come, dear.
BEN (with greater force): One must go in to fetch a diamond out.
WILLY (to Linda, as he moves slowly along the edge of kitchen, toward the door): I just want to get settled down, Linda. Let me sit alone for a little.
LINDA (almost uttering her fear): I want you upstairs.
WILLY (taking her in his arms): In a few minutes, Linda. I couldn’t sleep right now. Go on, you look awful tired. (He kisses her.)
BEN: Not like an appointment at all. A diamond is rough and hard to the touch.
WILLY: Go on now. I’ll be right up.
LINDA: I think this is the only way, Willy.
WILLY: Sure, it’s the best thing.
BEN: Best thing!
WILLY: The only way. Everything is gonna be — go on, kid, get to bed. You look so tired.
LINDA: Come right up.
WILLY: Two minutes.
(Linda goes into the living room, then reappears in her bedroom. Willy moves just outside the kitchen door.) WILLY: Loves me. (Wonderingly.) Always loved me. Isn’t that a remarkable thing? Ben, he’ll worship me for it!
BEN (with promise): It’s dark there, but full of diamonds.
WILLY: Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket?
LINDA (calling from her room): Willy! Come up!
WILLY (calling into the kitchen): Yes! Yes. Coming! It’s very smart, you realize that, don’t you, sweetheart? Even Ben sees it. I gotta go, baby. ‘By! ‘By! (Going over to Ben, almost dancing.) Imagine? When the mail comes he’ll be ahead of Bernard again!
BEN: A perfect proposition all around.
WILLY: Did you see how he cried to me? Oh, if I could kiss him, Ben!
BEN: Time, William, time!
WILLY: Oh, Ben, I always knew one way or another we were gonna make it, Biff and I!
BEN (looking at his watch): The boat. We’ll be late. (He moves slowly off into the darkness.)
WILLY (elegiacally, turning to the house): Now when you kick off, boy, I want a seventy-yard boot, and get right down the field under the ball, and when you hit, hit low and hit hard, because it’s important, boy. (He swings around and faces the audience.) There’s all kinds of important people in the stands, and the first thing you know... (Suddenly realizing he is alone.) Ben! Ben, where do I... ? (He makes a sudden movement of search.) Ben, how do I... ?
LINDA (calling): Willy, you coming up?
WILLY (uttering a gasp of fear, whirling about as if to quiet her): Sh! (He turns around as if to find his way; sounds, faces, voices, seem to be swarming in upon him and he flicks at them, crying.) Sh! Sh! (Suddenly music, faint and high, stops him. It rises in intensity, almost to an unbearable scream. He goes up and down on his toes, and rushes off around the house.) Shhh!
(There is no answer. Linda waits. Biff gets up off his bed. He is still in his clothes. Happy sits up. Biff stands listening.) LINDA (with real fear): Willy, answer me! Willy!
(There is the sound of a car starting and moving away at full speed.) LINDA: No!
BIFF (rushing down the stairs): Pop!
(As the car speeds off, the music crashes down in a frenzy of sound, which becomes the soft pulsation of a single cello string. Biff slowly returns to his bedroom. He and Happy gravely don their jackets. Linda slowly walks out of her room. The music has developed into a dead march. The leaves of day are appearing over everything. Charley and Bernard, somberly dressed, appear and knock on the kitchen door. Biff and Happy slowly descend the stairs to the kitchen as Charley and Bernard enter. All stop a moment when Linda, in clothes of mourning, bearing a little bunch of roses, comes through the draped doorway into the kitchen. She goes to Charley and takes his arm. Now all move toward the audience, through the wall-line of the kitchen. At the limit of the apron, Linda lays down the flowers, kneels, and sits back on her heels. All stare down at the grave.)
CHARLEY: It’s getting dark, Linda.
(Linda doesn’t react. She stares at the grave.) BIFF: How about it, Mom? Better get some rest, heh? They’ll be closing the gate soon.
(Linda makes no move. Pause.) HAPPY (deeply angered): He had no right to do that. There was no necessity for it. We would’ve helped him.
CHARLEY (grunting): Hmmm.
BIFF: Come along, Mom.
LINDA: Why didn’t anybody come?
CHARLEY: It was a very nice funeral.
LINDA: But where are all the people he knew? Maybe they blame him.
CHARLEY: Naa. It’s a rough world, Linda. They wouldn’t blame him.
LINDA: I can’t understand it. At this time especially. First time in thirty-five years we were just about free and clear. He only needed a little salary. He was even finished with the dentist.
CHARLEY: No man only needs a little salary.
LINDA: I can’t understand it.
BIFF: There were a lot of nice days. When he’d come home from a trip; or on Sundays, making the stoop; finishing the cellar; putting on the new porch; when he built the extra bathroom; and put up the garage. You know something, Charley, there’s more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made.
CHARLEY: Yeah. He was a happy man with a batch of cement.
LINDA: He was so wonderful with his hands.
BIFF: He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong.
HAPPY (almost ready to fight Biff): Don’t say that!
BIFF: He never knew who he was.
CHARLEY (stopping Happy’s movement and reply. To Biff): Nobody dast blame this man. You don’t understand: Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell you the law or give you medicine. He’s man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a Shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back — that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you’re finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.
BIFF: Charley, the man didn’t know who he was.
HAPPY (infuriated): Don’t say that!
BIFF: Why don’t you come with me, Happy?
HAPPY: I’m not licked that easily. I’m staying right in this city, and I’m gonna beat this racket! (He looks at Biff, his chin set.) The Loman Brothers!
BIFF: I know who I am, kid.
HAPPY: All right, boy. I’m gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream. It’s the only dream you can have — to come out number-one man. He fought it out here, and this is where I’m gonna win it for him.
BIFF (with a hopeless glance at Happy, bends toward his mother): Let’s go, Mom.
LINDA: I’ll be with you in a minute. Go on, Charley. (He hesitates.) I want to, just for a minute. I never had a chance to say good-by.
(Charley moves away, followed by Happy. Biff remains a slight distance up and left of Linda. She sits there, summoning herself. The flute begins, not far away, playing behind her speech.) LINDA: Forgive me, dear. I can’t cry. I don’t know what it is, I can’t cry. I don’t understand it. Why did you ever do that? Help me Willy, I can’t cry. It seems to me that you’re just on another trip. I keep expecting you. Willy, dear, I can’t cry. Why did you do it? I search and search and I search, and I can’t understand it, Willy. I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there’ll be nobody home. (A sob rises in her throat.) We’re free and clear. (Sobbing more fully, released.) We’re free. (Biff comes slowly toward her.) We’re free... We’re free... (Biff lifts her to her feet and moves out up right with her in his arms. Linda sobs quietly. Bernard and Charley come together and follow them, followed by Happy. Only the music of the flute is left on the darkening stage as over the house the hard towers of the apartment buildings rise into sharp focus, and the curtain falls.)