A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.
—Arthur Miller, in Death of a Salesman
He’s a fake, and he doesn’t know the territory!
—Meredith Willson, in The Music Man
You’re gonna make something up, be sure it will help or keep your mouth closed.
—David Mamet, in Glengarry Glen Ross
The salesman, Uncle Charley reminds us, is first and foremost a spinner of dreams, a man who makes the world of illusions his special province.
Charley, Willy Loman’s old friend and next-door neighbor (a sort of adopted “uncle” to Willy’s boys), is the choric figure in Death of a Salesman; and when David Huddleston delivers the famous elegy over Willy’s new-made grave toward the end of the current revival of Salesman there isn’t a dry eye in the...