Death of a Salesman Act II, Part 5: Questions and Answers

Arthur Miller

Act II, Part 5: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Who is The Woman?

2. Approximately what age is Biff when he visits Willy in Boston?

3. What event causes Biff to come to Boston to see Willy?

4. What favor does Biff ask Willy to do?

5. What gift does The Woman insist that Willy give her before she will leave his room?

6. How does Willy initially explain the presence of The Woman in his room?

7. What is Biff’s reaction to finding The Woman in his father’s room? What does he yell at Willy as he leaves the room?

8. Why is Linda angry with Biff and Hap when they return to the house?

9. What does Linda order Biff and Hap to do? How does Biff respond?

10. Where is Willy at the end of this section? What is he doing?

Answers
1. She is the woman with whom Willy has an affair during his sales trips to Boston. At one point he calls her “Miss Francis,” but we cannot be sure this is her real name.

2. Biff is a senior in high school (about 17 or 18 years old). Most importantly, this is the young Biff, not the adult Biff who is in the restaurant as the Boston flashback begins.

3. Biff comes to Boston to find Willy after flunking math, which will prevent him from graduating high school.

4. Biff asks Willy to convince his math teacher not to flunk him, thus allowing him to graduate.

5. She insists Willy give her the stockings he promised her.

6. Willy lies to Biff, explaining The Woman’s presence by saying that she is simply “Miss Francis,” a buyer whom he allowed to take a shower in his room while the hotel paints hers.

7. Biff is horrified at his father’s infidelity, losing all admiration for Willy. Weeping and rushing from the room, Biff yells, “You fake! You phony little fake! You fake!”

8. She is outraged that they abandoned Willy in the restaurant. She thinks such insensitivity may drive Willy closer to suicide.

9. Linda orders Biff and Hap to leave the house and never come back. Biff had tried to deny Linda’s accusations at first, but he then begins to feel guilty and self-hating, calling himself the “scum of the earth.”

10. Willy is in the yard, planting a garden in the middle of the night.