Death of a Salesman
From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ Death of a Salesman Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
Death of a Salesman (1949) | Written by: Arthur Miller | Published by: Penguin Plays
Death of a Salesman
Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
Sup bruh? This week we chasin dat pap with Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
Crusty old salesman Willy Loman ain’t been slingin’ shit lately. Not only is his family flat broke, but years in da sales game dun run his ass down and now his mind be SLIPPIN. Fool even been in a car accident and his wife Linda thinkin Willy wanna end it.
And what’s really been rubbin Willy’s shit raw is that his oldest son Biff ain’t done a damn thing with his life and Willy don’t know why. To Willy- Biff had it all. He was high baller back in high school but these days, he ain’t livin the life Willy want him to.
Later when Willy start trippin to Biff’s face bout bein a scrub, Biff all like “stay chill pops, After I meet with my old playboy boss, I’m a start my own bidness with my bro Hap and the world gonna be swingin from my nuts. You’ll see.”
Next morning, Willy step to his boss to ask for a lil slack with the travelin. But instead of hookin’ a brutha up, the boss straight up FIRES his bitch ass. Shit man.
Later, Biff, Willy and Happy hook up fo’ some grubbin.
Biff try to tell Willy dat his interview went bunk, But Willy ain’t even listenin and starts spillin his guts bout bein fired. Then Willy flashes back to dat time in Boston when Biff came a knockin to see his pops, and we find out why they been beefin for so long. Turns out, it wasn’t flunkin math that made Biff stop givin a fuck about shit. See, when Biff got to Willy’s hotel room, he find out his dad been gettin nasty with some chicken head hoochie behind his mama’s back. Scandalous. While Willy’s doin all this reminscin, he heads to the bathroom and start talkin to himself. Happy and Biff and Happy decide to ditch his ass and go party with some hunnies instead.
When they back home, mama gets crunk on errybody’s ass. After gettin all up in eachother’s grills, Biff decide he’s leavin for good and says “Look pa, I’m just some regular ass dude, just like you. Drop that bullshit dream before it destroys you.” But Willy only hear what he wanna hear. Thinkin he’s hookin his boy up, he peep that life insurance policy, gets up in his hoopty, and takes his last lonely ride.
Years of pushin product just to end up cashed out back on the struggle? While all literary cats agree that sucks a fat one for Willy, they don’t all agree that it makes him a tragic hero.
Some think they ain’t nuthin tragic bout a regular-ass street thug, a LOW-MAN, gettin dumped on. Cuz that’s just life son. Old-school scholars say that if you’re of low birth, it ain’t possible to be a tragic hero, cuz you ain’t GREAT- ain’t wastin no potential.
But up in the land of the American Dream, we’re all supposed to be equally great. If you bust yo ass hard enough, you can get those briefcases full of big faces, right? Willy dont just sell goods, he also sell himself. Dat fake smile he use to hustle homies been bradnded on his mug so long that the real Willy ain’t even there no mo.
So in the end, chasin dat dream don’t leave Willy with everything. It leave him with nothin. And to this thug, that’s a damn tragedy.
Peep this fine stage direction, son. Before the play start, we gettin hit in the face with some contradictions, yo. We hear a flute laying down some fresh beats that put images of freedom in yo dome, but on the real, the visuals showin us Willy’s broke ass house trapped by big-ass buildings. What our characters want is freedom, but they trapped in a world of business, bills and bullshit that won’t let em have it.
But hold up. It ain’t all gotta be depressing, B. The title Death of a Salesman ain’t just referring to Willy, but to Biff too. Some say Biff the hero of this story. Cuz by the end of the play, Biff ain’t bout rollin fake and givin it all up in a desperate grab for success. Naw man. He know that ain’t the right dream for him.
When Biff is havin it out with his pops, he say: Biff to Willy: “ 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!”
The American dream ain’t the only dream you gotta to have. And just
cuz you throwin that to he curb don’t mean you can’t be free. Freedom comes from recognizing who you are.
But I what’s fo damn sho is that you ain’t never gonna be free til you hit dat subscribe button, playa. Catch y’all lata. Peace.