Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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In Death of a Salesman, what ideas does Arthur Miller develop regarding the ways in which Willy and Biff do or do not take effective, purposeful action?

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A classic example to consider when answering this question is how at the end of Act I both Willy and Biff talk about Biff going to Bill Oliver to ask for a loan to start a business. This is interestingly paralleled with Willy's resolution to go and speak to his boss, Howard, about having a desk job rather than continuing to work as a travelling salesman. Looking at this part of the play, it is fascinating to see how long both Willy and Biff talk about these ideas and how they discuss them in such intimate detail. Willy's imagination clearly runs away with him, and before Biff has even made contact with Bill Oliver, Willy is already thinking...

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