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Willy Loman is a salesman in a district. One day he comes home early. Linda, his wife, is worried. When Willy tries to explain why he is early Linda will not listen, and wants to believe that he only needs a pair of spectacles. Willy on the other hand seems to know that it is in his mind, and not in his eyes. He seems to be getting old and confused. Willy is complaining about all the new houses that "box them in", and about Biff, his eldest son, whom he does not think have a proper job and is not earning enough money. Willy is tired of the competition he meets. He wants another job in the firm so he will not have to drive, but the young boss does not seen to care.
Biff and Happy, the youngest son, are talking about their dreams. Biff wants to buy a ranch, and Happy says that he wants a good job in business, get married, and then he might come and work with Biff.
They hear their father talking to himself about how good it had been when the boys where young, how proud he had been when he took them to his office. We see onstage what is going on in Willy's head.
Willy is talking to his nephew Bernard whom is telling him that Biff will not get to graduate if he does not start studying. Bernard wants to help Biff, but Willy just laughs at him, and tells him it is more important to be well liked than to have good grades.
In this dialog Happy often tells his father that he is going to loose weight by pedaling.
Linda appears in his mind. They talk about expenses and salaries, and how the boys obeyed him before. Willy is sad because he feels that some of his colleagues are talking about him behind his back, saying he is fat and that he talks too much. Linda just says he is lively. A woman appears in his mind. She seems to be helping him with more than just selling. Linda and Willy are talking about Biffs stealing problem. Willy defends him.