In this scene in the past, Willy can hardly wait to tell the story to his buyers.He considers himself famous as a result of his son's pride in him.Instead of acknowledging that he is not a well-known success, Willy retreats into the past and chooses to relive past memories and events in which he is perceived as successful.
Ben appears, and Willy confides "nothing's working out.
I don't know what to do." Ben quickly shifts the conversation to Alaska and offers Willy a job.
For example, Willy cannot resign himself to the fact that Biff no longer respects him because of Willy's affair.
Rather than admit that their relationship is irreconcilable, Willy retreats to a previous time when Biff admired and respected him.
All three themes work together to create a dreamlike atmosphere in which the audience watches a man's identity and mental stability slip away.
The play continues to affect audiences because it allows them to hold a mirror up to themselves.Throughout the play, Willy's behavior is riddled with inconsistencies.In fact, the only thing consistent about Willy is his inconsistency.Thus, Willy's memory has distracted him from the reality of losing his job.Denial, contradiction, and the quest for order versus disorder comprise the three major themes of Death of a Salesman.Each time Willy loses himself in the past, he does so in order to deny the present, especially if the present is too difficult to accept.As the play progresses, Willy spends more and more time in the past as a means of reestablishing order in his life.As the play continues, Willy disassociates himself more and more from the present as his problems become too numerous to deal with.The third major theme of the play, which is order versus disorder, results from Willy's retreats into the past.Willy vehemently denies Biff's claim that they are both common, ordinary people, but ironically, it is the universality of the play which makes it so enduring.Biff's statement, "I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you" is true after all.