In Death of a Salesman, why is Willy's mood upbeat at the start of Act Two? What does he expect to happen?

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jseligmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

As darkly portentous as Act One was, Act Two starts with hope. This sense of hope is important because when things work themselves out in the worst ways imaginable, we will come to better understand Willy's fatal decision.

The things that Willy is hopeful for in the bright morning that begins Act Two are:

1) Willy is tired. He has decided that he will go into the office and ask his boss, Howard, for a job with the firm that does not entail traveling.

2) Biff is going to see his old employer, Bill Oliver. He's going to ask Oliver for a a large loan so that he can start a sorting goods company. Willy hopes that his favorite son will get the job and finally become a success.

3) With Willy's new job and Biff's loan, Willy imagines that he will eventually be able to retire and says:

...before it’s all over we’re gonna get a little place out in the country, and I’ll raise some vegetables, a couple of chickens...

4) Linda tells Willy that the boys want to take their father out to dinner in the evening... just Pop and his boys. Willy is thrilled and full of high spirits and pride at the news.

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Death of a Salesman

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