Death of a Salesman

by: Arthur Miller

Suggested Essay Topics

1. Willy recalls his sons’ teenage years as an idyllic past. What evidence can we find to show that the past is not as idyllic as Willy imagines it to be?

2. What evidence can we find to show that Willy may have chosen a profession that is at odds with his natural inclinations?

3. Why does Willy reject Charley’s job offer?

4. How does Willy’s interview with Howard reveal that Willy transfers his professional anxieties onto his relationship with his family and conflates the professional and personal realms of his life?

5. What evidence can we find to show that Willy misses the distinction between being loved and being well liked? What are the consequences of Willy’s failure to distinguish between the two?

6. How is Willy’s retreat into the past a form of escape from his unpleasant present reality? How does it function as a way for Willy to cope with the failure to realize his ambitions?

7. How does Willy’s desperate quest for the American Dream resemble a religious crusade?


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