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TERM PAPER IDEAS
1. How do Miller's own life experiences enter into the play?
2. What was Miller's social objective in writing this play?
3. Do you admire Charley and Bernard? Why or why not?
4. Discuss Willy's skill at revising incidents: list actual incidents and what he turns them into.
5. List and discuss the ways men compete in this play: sports, money, women, possessions, success of their children.
6. Write a character analysis of Willy, discussing his strengths and weaknesses.
7. Do Linda and Willy have a good marriage?
8. Why does Biff say he's "mixed up"? How much of it is his father's fault?
9. Contrast the characters of Biff and Happy. Would they make a good team?
10. Which character or characters most engage your sympathy? Why?
11. Contrast Willy's and Charley's personalities. Which would you rather have as a neighbor?
12. Discuss the women in the play from the point of view of women's liberation.
13. Should Willy have been a builder (carpenter)?
14. List and discuss the aspects of Miller's language that make the play so moving.
15. Is Willy a good father?
16. Should Howard Wagner have found (or created) a job for Willy in New York?
17. Discuss the importance of music in the play.
18. Trace references to trees and plants and growing.
19. What different things do Willy and Biff learn about themselves?
20. Discuss the elements of Happy's nature that come from each of his parents.
21. Why is the character of Ben in the play?
22. What is the function of the Requiem?
23. Analyze the play as though its title were The Inside of His Head.
24. What does Willy have to remember? Why now?
25. Discuss the form of the play as a reflection of Willy's state of mind.
26. Discuss why Willy commits suicide and what he feels he achieves by it.
27. Describe the relative influences of Greek tragedy and German expressionism on the form of the play.
28. Is Willy a "little man"?
29. List actors you would like to see play Willy, and what qualities in him each actor would bring out.
30. Analyze transitions from present to past and back to present.
31. Do you see Willy as a tragic figure?