Silhouette of a grinning person wearing a top hat with a skull-like face and a red nighttime sky in the background

Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller
Start Free Trial

In act 2, Willy talks wistfully about another salesman. What is so alluring about this former salesman to Willy?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Dave Singleman was the man Willy admires. Note the symbolism of his name...Singleman...Willy longs to not be tied down by his responsibilities. Dave lived a long life, and was so succcessful that in later years he no longer had to go on the road (something Willy wants to do as well.) He had made a success of his career and reaps the rewards of money, contentment, and relaxation.

Here is the passage in which Willy explains his admiration:

His name was Dave Singleman. And he was eighty-four years old, and he'd drummed merchandise in thirty-one states. And old Dave, he'd go up to his room, y'understand, put on his green velet slippers -- I'll never forget -- and pick up his phone and call the buyers without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, he made his living. And when I saw that, I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team