Death of a Salesman Act I, Part 4: Questions and Answers

Arthur Miller

Act I, Part 4: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Where does Linda lay the blame for Willy’s disoriented, hallucinatory condition?

2. While trying to convince Biff that he should stop continually fighting with Willy, does Linda argue that Willy has no faults?

3. Why is it that “attention must be paid” to Willy?

4. Why must Willy borrow $50 every week from Charley?

5. According to Biff, why did Willy originally throw him out of the house many years ago?

6. What did Linda learn about Willy from the insurance inspector?

7. What hidden object has Linda recently discovered and why has it caused her to worry?

8. Why does Biff intend to ask Bill Oliver for a loan?

9. What does Willy think of Biff’s idea to ask Oliver for a loan?

10. What does Biff remove from behind the gas heater?

Answers
1. Linda believes that Willy’s troubles stem partly from Biff’s failure to write Willy, to reconcile their differences, and to settle into a career.

2. No. Linda admits Willy is “not easy to get along with – nobody knows that better than me.”

3. Linda tells Biff and Hap that “attention must be paid” to Willy not because he is a great man, but simply because he is a human being – an aging man who is exhausted after working for so many years with very little to show for it.

4. He borrows the money because he is not earning very much as a salesman now that he is working on commission rather than receiving a salary. His friendly customers have either died or retired, leaving Willy with few easy sales.

5. Biff contends that Willy threw him out “because I know he’s a fake,” although Biff never explains precisely what he means by this.

6. Linda learned that Willy’s several recent car accidents were probably his deliberate attempts to injure himself – perhaps even attempts to commit suicide.

7. Linda has discovered a rubber pipe that Willy has hidden. She is worried because she believes Willy may commit suicide by using the pipe to breath gas from the heater.

8. Biff plans to ask Oliver for a loan so he and Hap can start a line of sporting goods.

9. Willy is thrilled by the plan. He pesters Biff with advice about how to behave during the meeting with Oliver, but he calls the sporting goods line a “one-million-dollar idea.”

10. He removes the rubber pipe that Linda said Willy might use to kill himself.