Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman Summary and Analysis of Act I.4

Act I (Hotel Room, Past):

Willy crosses from one part of the stage to another, where a woman is standing, putting on her scarf. Willy says that he gets so lonely, and gets the feeling that he'll never make a living for her or a business for the boys. The woman claims that she picked Willy for his sense of humor. Willy tells her that he will be back in about two weeks and that he will see her the next time he is in Boston.


Miller readily switches from location to location during Death of a Salesman, as the flashback to Willy at home switches to a flashback of Willy in a hotel room in Boston. This serves as an ironic counterpoint to Linda's comment that Willy is idolized by his children; the fact that he is having an affair shows that Willy is not a man worthy of such fervent admiration. He displays the same callous disregard for women that Happy demonstrates as an adult, yet where Happy disregards women with whom he has insubstantial relationships, Willy is unfaithful to the devoted Linda. The flashback also demonstrates that Willy is not a man respected by others; the woman with whom he has an affair selected Willy for his sense of humor rather than for any substantial qualities.