Answer these 4 questions in regards to Death of a
Salesman by Arthur Miller.
1) Using the four levels of characteristics, physical, societal, psychological, and moral describe Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman?
Willy Loman is a quietly dressed, balding, old man. Pass sixty years old, overweight, walrus-like. He is slowly losing himself in a depression where he finds himself not selling as well as he used to, and realizes he has become obsolete. He daydreams of the past, talking to past dead friends as if they were still alive. He is quick, changeable and fickle. Willy Loman believes in achieving through hard work, however asks Biff’s friend Bernard to cheat for him on a Math test so Biff can graduate and he cheats on his wife Linda, on the road when he feels lonely.
2) What does it mean when we say that a play follows a cause- to effect arrangement of events? The definition of cause to effect in a play is anything producing an effect or result. A reason and motive that causes an effect. To what extent does Death of a Salesman follow such a pattern? It follows such a pattern in the Act One when Willy enters the house after coming from Florida and tells Linda he was driving sixty miles an hour and kept going off onto the shoulder of the road. Linda Loman finds an attachment on a rubber pipe in the basement and is constantly afraid for Willy and themselves. She takes away the rubber nipple every day and is afraid to mention it to Willy. Biff gets a job interview for Bill Oliver’s, Willy Loman’s old friend. Biff leaves after waiting six hours and steals the bosses pens who doesn’t remember him. In the restaurant, Willy disappears into his daydreams and runs out of the restaurant to get some seeds for his garden. And lastly when Willy Loman runs out of the house and crashes the car into a pole after Biff tells Willy he is not the big man he thinks he is and that he is a dime a dozen because he cannot take the truth.
3) What is a spectacle? A spectacle is a public display or show. What a few important examples of spectacle that contribute to the dramatic effectiveness of Death of A Salesman? In Act two in the restaurant, Willy disappears into his daydreams after Biff tells himabout the failed job interview. He falls out of his chair and begins screaming at the top of his voice in the middle of the restaurant as he daydreams about Biff catching him at a hotel room with another woman.
The next is when Willy leaves his bosses office and begins to daydream about when Biff is getting ready for his school’s big game. He is caught arguing out loud with nobody in the halls. After the restaurant Willy returns home and goes to plant his garden at night. In Act One when Willy is left alone in the kitchen as he daydreams again of the past and his voice rise through the walls of the kitchen for Biff, Happy, and Linda to hear.
4) Relating the basic features of comedy, how can laughter be an expression of either joy or scorn? It is an expression of scorn and joy in Act One in Death of a Salesman when Willy is talking to Linda in the kitchen about how he thinks she is the best there is and how much she is a pal. He tells Linda how much he wants to just grab and kiss the life out of her. Willy hears the joyful laughter of a woman he had an affair with in the past, in his head and thinks he’s being scorned for telling Linda he loves her. His guilt returns for giving his mistress Linda’s stockings, which is why he cannot stand for Linda to darn her stockings in front of him.
1) Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Penguin Plays 1949.
2) Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia Fourth Edition. Edited by Bruce Murphy. Harper Collins Publishers, 1996