Willy, a travelling salesman, is 60 years old and has recently begun talking to himself, driving the car off the road and, most worryingly, fitting a piece of rubber piping to the gas tap in the cellar. Linda, his wife, is aware of her husband’s suicidal plans and is full of love and compassion for him. In this speech, she calls her son Biff, who has a difficult history with his father, to tell him the good news that the rubber piping is gone…

Hello? Oh, Biff! I’m so glad you called, I just…Yes, sure, I just told him. Yes, he’ll be there for dinner at six o’clock, I didn’t forget. Listen, I was just dying to tell you. You know that little rubber pipe I told you about? That he connected to the gas heater? I finally decided to go down the cellar this morning and take it away and destroy it. But it’s gone! Imagine? He took it away himself, it isn’t there! [She listens.] When? Oh, then you took it. Oh – nothing, it’s just that I’d hoped he’d taken it away himself. Oh, I’m not worried, darling, because this morning he left in such high spirits, it was like the old days! I’m not afraid anymore. Did Mr. Oliver see you? . . . Well, you wait there then. And make a nice impression on him, darling. Just don’t perspire too much before you see him. And have a nice time with Dad. He may have big news too! . . . That’s right, a New York job. And be sweet to him tonight, dear. Be loving to him. Becuase he’s only a little boat looking for a harbour. [She is trembling with sorrow and joy.] Oh, that’s wonderful, Biff, you’ll save his life. Thanks, darling. Just put your arm around him when he comes into the restaurant. Give him a smile. That’s the boy . . . Good-bye, dear . . . You got your comb? . . . That’s fine. Good-bye, Biff dear.