Study Help Essay Questions

1. Write an essay explaining Willy's philosophy "Be liked and you will never want." How does this statement apply to Willy? To Charley? To Howard? To Bernard?

2. Biff claims he has made every attempt to avoid wasting his life, but he feels like a failure every time he returns home. What type of life or career would make Biff feel successful? Why is he so critical of himself whenever he returns to New York?

3. Compare and contrast Willy's conflicting images of Biff. Why does he defend him and criticize him?

4. Write an essay analyzing Biff's tendency to steal. What compels him to steal? How do his actions shape his future?

5. Explain Happy's obsession with women. Why does he pursue so many women, especially women associated with his employers? How do Happy's affairs relate to Willy's affair?

6. Linda states "life is a casting off." Explain her statement in relation to the play. Who or what is casting off? Or is being cast off? Focus on Willy, Linda, Biff, and Happy.

7. Compare and contrast Willy's death with Dave Singleman's death. What does it mean to die "the death of a salesman" and did Willy achieve that?

8. Think about the significance of Miller's narrative technique. Memories and illusions make up a large portion of the play. How do they affect the play? Consider such things as the story line, character interaction, and overall audience reaction.

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