Death of a Salesman Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What sound is heard before the curtain rises?

2. What reason does Willy give for refusing Charley's offer?

3. In what way does Willy contradict himself in this opening scene?

4. What great regret does Willy mention to Happy?

5. What is a synonym for 'trepidation'?

Short Essay Questions

1. In what way does the commercial world intrude into the wire recorder demonstration?

2. Comment on the "gay and bright" music that is heard at the beginning of Act 2.

3. What is the importance of Howard Wagner's new wire recorder?

4. What is revealed about teenage Biff's popularity with girls?

5. What is it that prevents Willy from accepting the offer of a job from Charley?

6. What important idea in the play is referenced by Linda's words, 'He could be--anything--in that suit!"?

7. In what picturesque way does Linda reinforce for Biff that his father needs support and nurturing?

8. In what sense is Willy ironic when he comments that it is obscene for Biff not to have found himself by the age of thirty-four?

9. How does Biff respond to Happy's question about his plans for the future?

10. Why has Willy unexpectedly returned from his journey?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

"Death of a Salesman shows us, in a moving way, how disastrous it is if people lack the ability or to accept change in themselves and in the social and economic world." Discuss this statement, making close reference to the play.

Essay Topic 2

"The ancient Greeks had a motto that said, 'Know yourself.' Death of a Salesman is a play about people who never understand themselves." To what extent do you agree with this statement? In your answer, refer both to major and minor characters in the play.

Essay Topic 3

"The commercial world inhabited by Willy Loman is very different from that which operates in the twenty-first century. Willy's tragedy would be impossible today." Referring to the text and to your knowledge of today's world, either agree with or refute this statement.

(see the answer keys)

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