Death of A Salesman: Novel Summary: Act 1, Scene 5

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Now, Linda steps in to persuade Willy to go to bed.  Unfortunately for her, Willy is still daydreaming about Ben, sauntering into the yard and street in his slippers, continuing to talk to himself.  Biff and Happy are surprised and embarrassed by their father's behavior, reproaching their mother for not telling them about how Willy acts.  Biff even asserts that Willy has no character.  But Linda defends her husband, telling Biff that he is partly to blame for Willy's insanity.  She gives Biff an ultimatum, saying, "Either he's your father and you pay him that respect, or else you're not to come here." Here, Linda, always Willy's arch supporter, feels that her husband has suffered unjustly.  Not only has the sales company taken away his salary after years of hard work (he has to borrow money from Charley every week), now even Biff has deserted him. 
Yet Biff seems to know something that the reader doesn't.  To explain why he and his father don't get along, he calls his father a fake, saying that "he doesn't like anybody around who knows." This crushes Linda even more, who divulges to the boys that Willy has been trying to commit suicide.  Apparently his car "accidents" were not accidents after all.  Linda places the burden of Willy's future on Biff's shoulders, saying, "Biff, his life is in your hands!"

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