Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Summary and Analysis Act II: Scene 7

Summary

Scene 7 takes place in a local restaurant. Happy chats with Stanley, the waiter, and Stanley is impressed because Happy can predict when beautiful women will enter the café. Happy flirts with Miss Forsythe, a young woman seated at the next table. Biff enters, and Happy informs him that the girl is on duty. Happy instructs her to cancel her appointment and find a friend. Biff is upset. He went to Oliver's office and waited six hours to see him, but Oliver did not remember him at all. Biff was just a shipping clerk when he worked for Oliver, not a salesman. Biff stole Oliver's fountain pen. Happy directs Biff not to reveal to Willy what happened.

Analysis

Scene 7 provides the audience with insight into Happy's character. Happy is defined by his sexuality and desire for power. He wants everyone to believe he is an assistant buyer when he is really the "assistant to the assistant." Happy uses his good looks and sexual prowess as a means of gaining power over others, both females and males. For example, he does not care anything for Miss Forsythe, and it is later revealed that she is a prostitute, but he tells her to cancel her date and find someone to bring along with her. Happy enjoys commanding women. Here he gives Miss Forsythe an order simply because he knows she will do it. This gives him satisfaction and pleasure. Later, he will gain sexual pleasure from her or her friend.

Happy also relishes the fact that "respectable" women cannot resist him. He has seduced the fiancées of three executives just to gain pleasure and power. He thrives on sexual gratification, but even more than that, Happy savors the knowledge that he has ruined women engaged to men he works for and also despises. He states, "I hate myself for it. Because I don't want the girl, and, still, I take it and — I love it!" Happy is similar to Willy in two ways. Both deny their positions and exaggerate details in order to aggrandize themselves, and sexual interludes are the defining moments of both of their lives. Willy's life revolves around his attempt to forget his affair with the Woman, while Happy's life revolves around an active pursuit of affairs with many women.

Glossary

strudel a kind of pastry; here the term refers to a prostitute.

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