Uploaded by Brent Goodin on Feb 15, 2002
At Willy's graveside Biff made a statement, “the man didn’t know who he was.” This revives the implication that Willy chose the wrong profession. He remembers that Willy loved to renovate his house. He recalls that Willy was in highest spirits and most gratified when he labored at building something with his own hands. This is emphasized in this quote by Biff: “There were a lot of nice days when he’d come home form a trip; or on Sundays, making the stoop; finishing the cellar; putting on the new porch; when he built the extra bathroom; and put up the garage. You no something, Charley, there is more of him in that front stoop than in all of the sales he ever made”(138). Biff refreshes the audience with Willy’s happiest moments and fortifies the claim that Willy chose the wrong business. However, his garden does not only embody his dream of business success but it is also used as a means of salvation. For example, on the way out of the restaurant, Willy asks the waiter where he can purchase seeds for his garden. He tells Stanley, “I’ve got to get some seeds. I’ve got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground.” This is a last, desperate endeavor by Willy to salvage what is left of his life and his legacy. Planting seeds represents the success he hopes to leave for his sons and his wife. Like his brother Ben who conquered the wilderness, Willy feels that he must live on the frontier, building a house and planting a garden for his family if he wants to properly care for them. The fact that Willy uses gardening as a metaphor for success and failure indicates that Willy subconsciously acknowledges that his chosen profession is a poor choice given his natural inclinations. He tells Linda, “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…” Unfortunately, times have changed and his vision is no longer achievable in twentieth century New England. Willy was an ordinary man rummaging around for unrealistic standards. His unattainable dream drove him to his poor mental conditions. The mental struggle with himself played an overshadowing role in his death.