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Act 1, Part 5 Notes from Death of a Salesman

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Death of a Salesman Act 1, Part 5

As the light brightens over the kitchen table, Willy moves to the kitchen and notices Linda darning her silk stockings. He tells her to throw them away. His guilt at giving the secretary silk stockings while his wife had to mend her own makes him angry. Then Bernard runs onto the stage looking for Biff, so that they can study for the state exam. Willy moves to the forestage in agitation and tells Bernard to give Biff the answers, but Bernard refuses because it is a state exam and he doesn't want to get in trouble. Willy, still angry, threatens to whip Bernard. Linda says that Biff needs to return the football to the locker room and that he is so rough with the girls that all the mothers are afraid of him. Bernard says that Biff is driving the car without a license. Willy, overwhelmed by Linda and Bernard as well as the sound of the woman's laughter, yells at them to shut up. Bernard leaves the stage, but warns on his way out that Biff will flunk math if he doesn't study. As Linda agrees that Biff needs to shape up, Willy explodes at her and says that Biff is doing nothing wrong, that he's just spirited and has personality, unlike Bernard. As Linda goes into the living room almost in tears, Willy is alone again in the kitchen and the apartment buildings are visible behind the house. In the darkness of night, Willy wonders aloud what he ever told Biff that made him steal things.

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