Silhouette of a grinning person wearing a top hat with a skull-like face and a red nighttime sky in the background

Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller

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Requiem: Questions and Answers

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Study Questions
1. Do many people attended Willy’s funeral?

2. What is Hap’s mood? What does he plan to do?

3. According to Charley, to what should we attribute Willy’s frustration and death?

4. Where does Biff think Willy actually put his greatest feeling – into his job as a salesman or elsewhere?

5. According to Biff, why did Willy live a life of misplaced hope, a life that ended in suicide?

6. Will Biff stay in New York and pursue the career Willy hoped he would?

7. Has Willy’s family received the $20,000 that Willy thought the insurance company would pay them upon his death?

8. Why does Linda find it hard to understand why Willy killed himself?

9. What words does Linda repeat as the play ends?

10. What music lingers as the play ends? What becomes more prominent visually at the same time?

1. No. Unlike Dave Singleman’s funeral, Willy’s funeral is attended by very few people – only Linda, Biff, Hap, Charley, and Bernard.

2. Hap is very angry with Willy for killing himself, but he plans to stay in New York and work to see Willy’s dream come true.

3. Charley thinks growing frustration from his lack of success as a salesman caused Willy’s frustration and suicide; a salesman loses confidence when unliked, when customers no longer smile back.

4. Biff points out the way Willy actually put more feeling into his carpentry and home repair work than he put into his sales.

5. Biff believes that Willy “didn’t know who he was.” In other words, Willy pursued a life and career that did not correspond with his true feelings or abilities.

6. No. “I know who I am,” Biff asserts, distancing himself from Willy and Hap. Unlike Hap, Biff plans to leave New York, probably to return to the small, outdoor jobs he prefers over office work.

7. There is no indication that the insurance company paid the money. Most likely, the company refused to pay because Willy’s death was ruled a suicide, not an accident.

8. Linda believes their lives had been improving before Willy’s death, indicated by the fact that she has finally made the last house payment.

9. She sobs, “We’re free and clear. We’re free. We’re free. We’re free.” She means she and Willy are now free and clear of house payments, but her words also express an ironic recognition that any freedom attained has somehow come at the cost of Willy’s life. Her words also recognize the irony in Willy’s inability to grasp the idea that people are not commodities of materialistic value but intrinsically “free.”

10. The flute music identified with Willy’s flashbacks of happier days begins to play as the apartment buildings surrounding the Loman house become increasingly visible and threatening.

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Act II, Part 6: Questions and Answers