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MILLER, Arthur



The Crucible

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Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
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Let either of you breathe a word, or the edge of a word, about the other things, and I will come to you in the black of some terrible night and I will bring a pointy reckoning that will shudder you. And you know I can do it; I saw Indians smash my dear parents' heads on the pillow next to mine, and I have seen some reddish work done at night, and I can make you wish you had never seen the sun go down!
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Death of a Salesman

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LINDA. Biff, you can’t look around all your life, can you?

BIFF. I just can’t take hold, Mom. I can’t take hold of some kind of a life.

LINDA. Biff, a man is not a bird, to come and go with the springtime.

BIFF. Your hair … [He touches her hair] Your hair got grey.

LINDA. Oh, it’s been gray since you were in high school. I just stopped dyeing it, that’s all.

BIFF. Dye it again, will ya? I don’t want my pal looking old.

LINDA. You’re such a boy! You think you can go away for a year and … You’ve got to get it into your head now that one day you’ll knock on this door and there’ll be strange people here —

BIFF. What are you talking about? You’re not even sixty, Mom.

LINDA. But what about your father?

BIFF. [ lamely] Well, I meant him too.

HAPPY. He admires Pop.

LINDA. Biff, dear, if you don’t have any feeling for him, then you can’t have any feeling for me.

BIFF. Sure I can, Mom.

LINDA. No. You can’t just come to see me, because I love him. [With a threat, but only a threat, of tears] He’s the dearest man in the world to me, and I won’t have anyone making him feel unwanted and low and blue. You’ve got to make up your mind now, darling, there’s no leeway anymore. Either he’s your father and you pay him that respect, or else you’re not to come here. I know he’s not easy to get along with — nobody knows that better than me — but …

WILLY. [from the left, with a laugh] Hey, hey, Biffo!

BIFF. [starting to go out after Willy] What the hell is the matter with him? [Happy stops him]

LINDA. Don’t — don’t go near him!

BIFF. Stop making excuses for him! He always, always wiped the floor with you. Never had an ounce of respect for you.

HAPPY. He’s always had respect for —

BIFF. What the hell do you know about it?

HAPPY. Just don’t call him crazy!

BIFF. He’s got no character — Charley wouldn’t do that. Not in his own house — spewing out that vomit from his mind.

HAPPY. Charley never had to cope with what he’s got to.

BIFF. People are worse off than Willy Loman. Believe me, I’ve seen them!

LINDA. Then make Charley your father, Biff. You can’t do that, can you? I don’t say he’s a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person. You called him crazy —

BIFF. I didn’t mean —

LINDA. No, a lot of people think he’s lost his — balance. But you don’t have to be very smart to know what his trouble is. The man is exhausted.

HAPPY. Sure!

LINDA. A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man. He works for a company thirty-six years this March, opens up unheard-of territories to their trademark, and now in his old age they take his salary away.

HAPPY. I didn’t know that, Mom.

LINDA. You never asked, my dear! Now that you get your spending money someplace else you don’t trouble your mind with him.

HAPPY. But I gave you money last —

LINDA. Christmas time, fifty dollars! To fix the hot water it cost ninety-seven fifty! For five weeks he’s been on straight commission, like a beginner, an unknown.

BIFF. Those ungrateful bastards!

LINDA. Are they any worse than his sons? When he brought them business, when he was young, they were glad to see him. But now his old friends, the old buyers that loved him so and always found some order to hand him in a pinch — they’re all dead, retired. He used to be able to make six, seven calls a day in Boston. Now he takes his valises out of the car and puts them back and takes them out again and he’s exhausted. Instead of walking he talks now. He drives seven hundred miles, and when he gets there no one knows him any more, no one welcomes him. And what goes through a man’s mind, driving seven hundred miles home without having earned a cent? Why shouldn’t he talk to himself? Why? When he has to go to Charley’s and borrow fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it’s his pay? How long can that go on? How long? You see what I’m sitting here and waiting for? And you tell me he has no character? The man who never worked a day but for your benefit? When does he get the medal for that? Is this his reward — to turn around at the age of sixty-three and find his sons, who he loved better than his life, one a philandering bum —

HAPPY. Mom!

LINDA. That’s all you are, my baby! [to Biff] And you! What happened to the love you had for him? You were such pals! How you used to talk to him on the phone every night! How lonely he was till he could come home to you!

BIFF. All right, Mom. I’ll live here in my room, and I’ll get a job. I’ll keep away from him, that’s all.

LINDA. No, Biff. You can’t stay here and fight all the time.

BIFF. He threw me out of this house, remember that.

LILNDA. Why did he do that? I never knew why.

BIFF. Because I know he’s a fake and he doesn’t like anybody around who knows!

LINDA. Why a fake? In what way? What do you mean?

BIFF. Just don’t lay it all at my feet. It’s between me and him — that’s all I have to say. I’ll chip in from now on. He’ll settle for half my pay check. He’ll be all right. I’m going to bed. [He starts for the stairs ]

LINDA. He won’t be all right.

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