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Free Barron's Booknotes-Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller-Free Book Notes
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1. B
2. B
3. B
4. A
5. A
6. B
7. C
8. A
9. B
10. B

11. Linda is Willy's comfort and support. (See The Characters section.) She believes in him completely, even in his fantasy of himself. When Ben comes and offers Willy a far-away job, she boycotts it, saying he ought to be satisfied with his wonderful position at home. Willy needed her unconditional approval, but ironically it may have blocked the one chance he had to escape to a more suitable way of life.

12. Willy reveres Ben and scorns Charley. He has made Ben into a symbol of success. (See section on The Characters.) Because of his ambitions and dapper personality, Ben somehow ended up with diamond mines. When Willy feels discouraged, he consults his imaginary picture of Ben. On the other hand, Charley is a man without grand ambitions, for himself or his son. Willy has no respect for Charley's inability with tools, his ignorance of sports, and his general lack of passion.

13. Willy never knew his father well, and feels the resulting lack of guidance all his life. Because he himself longs for advice, Willy is constantly giving advice to his sons, especially Biff, his favorite. Biff strives to meet his father's expectations until he catches his father with another woman. Disillusioned, Biff rejects everything about Willy, particularly his "phony dream," as he calls it in their final fight. Biff and Willy's relationship ultimately becomes a power struggle, which leaves Happy in the shadows. Happy fails to get attention from his father, ending up with the same kinds of insecurities and compensating illusions as Willy. Charley takes no interest in his son Bernard, nor in anything he claims, which mystifies Willy because Bernard turns into a successful lawyer and father. (See The Characters section on Bernard.)

14. Critics have said that a tragic hero must discover or recognize something important about himself before he dies. (See Themes section.) Although Willy is not an intellectual, the play chronicles his growing self-awareness. The author feels that the play can be seen as Willy's "confession." Miller points out that Willy realizes that his life has been lived in vain, or he would never have been moved to commit suicide. Ben suggests suicide might be cowardly, but Willy's answer is honest: "Does it take more guts to stand here the rest of my life ringing up a zero?" Even in his hour of death, Willys clearest images are drawn from the world of selling.

15. The short Requiem gives all the major characters a chance to pronounce their judgments on Willy. We learn here what the people who cared about him really feel about his "dream" of himself. These are important clues as to how they will go on now that they are "free" of Willy's expectations. (See final Note.) He led a courageous but futile life, and in that respect he resembles many of us.

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