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Tito Aznar

Death of a Salesman--Questions

English 1113.3
English 1113.4
English 2413.1
Humanities 3100
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Please, answer the following questions about Arthur Miller's _Death of a Salesman_ and email your answers to me.


1.  Make a list of at least three themes in the play.  Then, choose one and explore the theme--tell us how it is seen in the play, what it means, etc--by giving examples from the play.

2.  Choose a character (NOT Willy) and write a characterization.  What is this character like?  What do we know about him/her?  What is its importance in the play?  How does this character change?  Does it?  Etc, etc, etc.

3.  Consider the year when the play was first produced--1949.  How is the play relevant to American in the late 40's?  Is it still relevant to day?  How so?

4.  Examine Willy Loman's personality and character. What influences have shaped his view of his job, his family, and the world in general? What is responsible for his tendency to change temperament quickly? What contradictions in behavior does he exhibit?

5.  How does the playwright communicate Willy’s outlook and emotions to the reader or audience not only through Willy’s words but through his appearance, Linda’s reactions, the set design, and other means?

6.  Examine how Biff and Hap’s adult lives show the influence of their childhood as seen in the flashback.

7.  Should Willy be "happy right here, right now," as Linda says? Willy has a wife and two sons who love him, so why should he be unhappy? Examine how Willy continually plans for his own success and happiness but always seems unsatisfied, even angry. You might start by suggesting that Willy cannot meet the requirements for success that he sets for himself. Willy says "the sky’s the limit" when "it’s who you know and the smile on your face," but who does Willy know and what has his smile earned him?

8.  How does Miller begin and end flashbacks, memories, or hallucinations? For instance, show how Willy’s anger with Biff’s failure to get the loan triggers his vision of Bernard telling Linda about Biff flunking math in high school.


9.  What are Biff's and Hap’s reactions to Willy’s death? Has Willy’s death changed the way they viewed him before he committed suicide? Does Hap seem more upset in the “Requiem” section than he was in Act II? Does Biff not share Hap’s anger over Willy’s suicide or does he express it differently?

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