I would like someone to explain the meaning of the quote by Charley in the Death of a Salesman Requiem.  What does he mean by "And for a salesman there is no rock bottom to the life."

jeffworcester | Student

Charley, who is one of the only characters in DoaS with a true sense of perspective, recognizes the self-fulfilling prophecy and fallacy of the misguided pursuits of Willy Loman. However, he begins this statement with "Nobody dast (dares) blame this man." Though Willy may condemn the lifestyle of materialism and pursuit of a false American Dream, Charley recognizes the problem to be systemic, not individual. The culture is to blame, as a whole; Charley compares the job of salesman unfavorably to that of the manufacturer, who produces something tangible, or the lawyer or doctor whose areas of expertise are lauded, to suggest that goals of sales are more ephemeral, and their successes rooted in "a smile and a shoeshine" - superficial elements that can slip beyond one's control. This is part of Miller's overall critique (one rooted in his Marxist beliefs) of the money-moving manipulations of capitalist culture. Interestingly, it's an argument as relevant in today's world of banking crises and Euro-zone failures as ever.

Read the study guide:
Death of a Salesman

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question