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.
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.
The three major themes within the play are denial, contradiction, and order versus disorder.
Each member of the Loman family is living in denial or perpetuating a cycle of denial for others.
From the very beginning of Act I, Scene 1, Willy reveals this tendency.
He labels Biff a "lazy bum" but then contradicts himself two lines later when he states, "And such a hard worker.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.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.For example, Willy's favorite memory is of Biff's last football game because Biff vows to make a touchdown just for him.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.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.Willy Loman is incapable of accepting the fact that he is a mediocre salesman.Instead Willy strives for his version of the American dream — success and notoriety — even if he is forced to deny reality in order to achieve it.