“I simply asked him if he was making any money. Is that a criticism?”
Just look at what Willy has to say to his boss upon being fired:
“You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away — a man is not a piece of fruit.”
but this criticism is more existional:
“After all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.”
“Work a lifetime to pay off a house — You finally own it and there’s nobody to live in it.”
“Nothing’s Planted, I don’t have a thing in the ground.”
Unless you are rich, money is a very strong determinant of your self-worth. Willy and Biff struggle with the realty of fact that they haven’t made much. The desire for greatness and having to accept that one is not great is another theme. Awesome.
“Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.”
I’ve always made a point of not wasting my life, and every time I come back here I know that all I’ve done is to waste my life.