Death of a Salesman Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

Death of a Salesman book cover
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What does the quote said by Willy in The Death of a Salesman, "be liked and you will never want," mean?  

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Willy's point is that success (not being "in want") is based on getting other people to like you. As a salesman, he has to be the typical gladhander, conveying an amiable personality in order to make a sale. He evidently has been very good at this throughout his career—or most of it, at any rate.

There are two problems, however, with his analysis of how to succeed in business and in life. What we see in the play is that as the aging process catches up with him, Willy can no longer keep up with the physical demands of his job. Regardless of how well-liked he's presumably been in the company, he's no longer useful to it, and his boss, Howard, won't transfer him to a new position that would be easier for him. Howard is more interested in playing with his tape recorder than in doing something to help a longtime servant of...

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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