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\Studyworld\ Studyworld Studynotes \ Death of a Salesman:
Act Two - Part 5

Willy's memories are interrupted by Stanley, the waiter, who tells him that the boys have left the restaurant with the girls. Willy calls Stanley a good boy and pays him, even though the boys have already paid the bill, and then Willy asks if there is a store nearby where he can buy some seeds. Stanley tells him of a place, and Willy rushes off.

Biff and Happy return to the house, to find an outraged Linda who tells them to pack and leave the house for good. She cannot understand how they can be so callous with Willy and how they could have left him in the restaurant all by himself. She accuses them of not caring whether or not Willy dies. Biff insists on seeing him one last time, despite Linda's protests. She finally says that he is planting seeds in the garden.

Outside, Willy is measuring the proper distance between seed plantings. Ben appears to him and Willy starts telling him about his great twenty thousand-dollar proposition (to kill himself and have Linda collect on the policy), but Ben tells him that he might not get the money at all if the insurance company will not honor it. Ben says it might be considered a cowardly thing, but Willy says it is not, compared to living the rest of his life and "ringing up a zero." Ben relents, saying that indeed $20,000 is something much more than __BODY__. Willy then starts talking about the funeral, which he expects people from all over New England will attend, and he is hopeful that Biff will see the great attendance and have to respect him. Biff will no longer be able to be spiteful towards Willy, which Willy believes Biff has been his whole life. Ben says that Biff would nonetheless call Willy a coward, but then Ben leaves, saying that he will think about Willy's proposition.

Biff comes outside and tells Willy that he is leaving, but unlike past times when he has left in anger, he wants to go with Willy to tell Linda about what happened and leave on a better note. Willy still refuses to believe what Biff has been telling him and starts to ask about his appointment with Bill Oliver. Willy says he does not want to see Linda, and he quickly walks into the house to get away from Biff. Biff follows him and extends his arm to shake with Willy, saying good bye for good, but Willy cannot shake his hand and instead keeps bringing up Bill Oliver. Biff makes his way to leave, and Willy finally shouts after him that he may rot in hell if he leaves the house. Biff asks what Willy wants from him, and Willy starts shouting at him that Biff is so hateful and says that Willy will not be to blame for Biff's destruction.

At this, Biff whips out the rubber house and tells Willy that he is laying everything on the line. Willy tries to pretend that he has never seen that before, but Biff is relentless, saying that no one has any pity for Willy anymore and that it is finally time to face the truth. He says that no one has ever told the truth in this house for ten years. Biff starts to fill every one in on his unfortunate situations in the past, saying that he has stolen himself out of every good job he has ever had. Moreover, when he stole the pen, he finally realized what a fake he was being, since he does not want to be a salesman at all, yet he has kidded himself for too long. Willy gets extremely outraged at Biff, and they look like they are really to attack each other, but Happy stands in the middle of them.

Biff finally breaks down and tells his father that he is nothing and why can Willy not see that? He starts to cry, holding on to Willy, saying that he is what he is and no more. Willy is dumbfounded to see Biff crying and holding on to him. Biff manages to tell Willy that he should burn his phony dreams before something awful happens, and then he rushes to his room. Willy is shocked at what has just happened, and he is suddenly happy to know that Biff has loved him all this time. Willy had thought all this time that Biff was being intentionally hateful towards him, but now he thinks that Biff will be magnificent.

Ben reappears and says that the $20,000 proposition is feasible, and Willy is delighted, since $20,000 will make Biff even more magnificent. Happy and Linda head up to bed, with Happy mentioning again how he will do good with his life and get married and run the department where he works. Linda does not want to leave Willy alone, but Willy tells her he will be right up. All the while, in the background, Ben is reminding Willy that it is time to do the deed.

Willy goes outside and starts mumbling to himself, telling Biff how he should play football and then talking to the audience for a short time. He is interrupted by Linda's calling, which shocks him into accomplishing his task. There is the sound of speeding car driving away from the house. Soon, Happy, Biff, and Linda realize what has happened (Willy has killed himself) and then don mourning clothes and stare at an imaginary grave in the middle of the stage.

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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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