Death of a Salesman Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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What is the purpose of the requiem in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman?

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Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman is a tragedy. It is the story of a man, Willy Loman, who has lived his whole life in a perpetual state of regret. He regrets not going into business with his brother; he regrets the failure of his sons to grow as human beings and to succeed in the world; he regrets the fact that he has spent his life traveling around trying to sell; and, he regrets the stultifying environment in which his marriage has long-ago settled. He is tired and emotionally- and physically-exhausted. In his opening instructions to the cast and director, Miller describes Willy's initial entrance on stage with the following comment:

"He is past sixty years of age, dressed quietly. Even as he crosses the stage to the doorway of the house, his exhaustion is apparent."

The requiem that occurs at the end of Death of a Salesman might not have been necessary. Late in Act One, there is a touching scene in which Willy's long-suffering wife, Linda, passionately comes to her husband's...

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