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Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller

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Act II, Part 3: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. How has Bernard changed from when he was a boy?

2. What is Bernard’s job and what will he do in Washington, DC?

3. Why did Biff not graduate from high school?

4. What big question does Bernard ask Willy? How does Willy respond?

5. According to Charley, why doesn’t Bernard mention the reason for his trip to Washington, DC?

6. Why does Willy ask Charley to borrow more than the usual $50?

7. Other than a loan of money, what does Charley offer Willy? Does Willy accept?

8. Does Willy conceal from Charley the fact that Howard fired him?

9. What does Charley say about Willy’s belief that success would come “if a man was impressive, and well liked”?

10. What might Willy mean when he says, “you end up worth more dead than alive”?

1. As an adult, Bernard is mature, likable, self-assured, and athletic – very different from the meek, timid, overly studious teenager whom Willy called “anemic.”

2. Bernard is a lawyer and will argue a case in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC.

3. Biff did not graduate because he flunked a math class. Although he planned to attend summer school to make up the class, he never went. The reasons he decided not to attend remain unclear.

4. Bernard asks, “What happened in Boston, Willy?” In other words, did Biff’s visit to see Willy in Boston have anything to do with Biff’s decision not to attend summer school? Willy replies that nothing happened in Boston, but this quick, defensive response makes us wonder if he is hiding something.

5. Charley explains that Bernard does not have to mention he will argue a case in front of the Supreme Court – “he’s gonna do it.” Unlike Bernard, Willy has always been all talk and no action.

6. Willy asks to borrow $110, rather than $50, because his insurance payment is due.

7. Charley, as he has done before, offers Willy a job working for him. Charley becomes insulted when Willy will not accept the job but will borrow money. Willy never explains to Charley why he will not accept the job.

8. At first, Willy does conceal the fact that Howard fired him. He pretends to have a job. However, he finally does admit to Charley that he has been fired.

9. Charley tries to tell Willy that business success depends not on being well liked, but on having something to sell, a fact Willy as a salesman should have learned.

10. Willy may mean that, if he dies, the insurance policy will pay his family more money than he could earn for them while still alive. His words also imply that he may be thinking about killing himself, although he does not seem to acknowledge that the insurance money would not be paid if it can be shown he committed suicide.

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Act II, Part 2: Questions and Answers


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