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Study questions for Death of a Salesman

Study questions for Death of a Salesman

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Study Questions for Death of a Salesman

Use these questions to check the accuracy of your reading of the play.

  • The unrealistic setting of the play causes some confusion for some readers. Pay particular attention to the importance of details of the setting. Note the importance of the following: flute music, apartment houses, kitchen, silver trophy
  • Describe Willy’s condition.
  • How does Willy see himself?
  • Provide evidence of Willy’s contradictions.
  • Provide evidence that Willy feels entrapped.
  • What is Linda’s relationship to Willy?
  • How does Linda treat Willy?
  • Contrast their sons Biff and Happy.
  • What does Biff think is Willy’s problem?
  • What are Biff and Happy’s frustrations?
  • Provide evidence of Biff’s sense of guilt.
  • Background or exposition is given in the first flashback. Note the importance of each: Polishing the car, Stockings, Punching bag, Theft of football, Emphasis on being “well-liked”, Willy’s exaggerations – What are they? Why does he exaggerate," Willy’s flashbacks — Of what do they consist?, Significance of “walrus," Significance of “The Woman," Biff’s wrongdoing
  • What is Willy’s saving lie?
  • What does Ben represent?
  • Second flashback, Ben’s formula for success, Willy’s mental confusion
  • What did Willy’s father do for a living? What is the significance of this fact?
  • How was Willy a failure in bringing up his sons?
  • What is the significance of “I feel kind of temporary about myself”?
  • What slurs at Charley does Willy make?
  • What is the significance of “A man is not a bird”?
  • What is Willy’s condition according to Linda?
  • Offer some evidence of Willy’s thoughts of suicide.
  • Why does Biff not fit into the business world?
  • What plans are being made?
  • What are Happy’s suggestions?
  • What are Willy’s instructions to Biff?
  • What are Biff’s plans for tomorrow?
  • What is Willy’s unreal view of Biff?
  • What does Biff discover near the heater?
  • How have times changed in Act II?
  • What is the significance of things breaking down?
  • What are the details of the scene between Howard and Willy?
  • What does Dave Singleton mean to Willy?
  • What is Willy’s view on how to get on?
  • What has become of Bernard?
  • Describe the relationship between Charley and Willy.
  • What can’t Willy work for Charley?
  • What happened in Oliver’s office?
  • What does Biff steal?
  • Why does Willy refuse to hear what Biff has to say?
  • In the third flashback, to what does Willy attribute Biff’s not getting settled?
  • How does the flashback of the scene involving the Woman, Willy, and Biff explain the animosity between Willy and Biff?
  • What does Linda think of Happy’s and Biff’s leaving Willy at the restaurant?
  • What is the significance of Willy’s planting seeds?
  • What are the ideas in Biff’s self-recognition?
  • What is Charley’s explanation of Willy?
  • What is the significance of Linda’s final words: “We’re free...”?

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Study questions for AP class examining plot, character, symbol, setting, and theme.

Tags: Death of a Salesman, Exercises & Activities, Grade 12, Literature, Teachers

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