The scene with Howard, Willy, and the tape recorder goes on for nearly two pages. What is the purpose of this scene?

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In Act two, Part one, Willy meets with his boss, Howard Wagner, and timidly asks him for a new, non-traveling job in the city. When Willy initially enters Howard's office, his boss is playing with a tape recorder, which was a relatively new invention at the time. Howard is completely...

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In Act two, Part one, Willy meets with his boss, Howard Wagner, and timidly asks him for a new, non-traveling job in the city. When Willy initially enters Howard's office, his boss is playing with a tape recorder, which was a relatively new invention at the time. Howard is completely focused on his new item and plays several recordings of his children for Willy. Howard casually remarks that the tape recorder is only one hundred and fifty dollars and suggests that Willy buy one. Despite being out his price range, Willy says that he will have to get one himself and struggles to bring up the topic of his visit. Howard proceeds to tell Willy that he can record anything by simply having his maid turn it on during the day and is shocked when Willy mentions that he doesn't even have a radio in his car.

Howard's fascination with his tape recorder makes it difficult for Willy to assert himself and portrays Willy's timid nature, which greatly contrasts with how Willy instructed his son to approach Bill Oliver. Howard's privileged lifestyle also illustrates the American Dream that Willy wishes to attain. Willy wishes that one day he could afford new amenities and items like Howard but has fallen short of his goals. Howard's casual remarks about Willy buying a recorder and having his maid turn it on during the day also reveal his lack of knowledge regarding Willy's difficult situation. As the scene progresses, Howard refuses to recognize Willy's offer and ends up firing him.

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