Death of a Salesman | Study Guide

Arthur Miller

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Course Hero. "Death of a Salesman Study Guide." Course Hero. 28 July 2016. Web. 30 Sep. 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. "Death of a Salesman Study Guide." July 28, 2016. Accessed September 30, 2023.


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Death of a Salesman | Section Summaries

See Section Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • Late 1940s; late at night

    Willy returns home and talks to Linda about the difficulties of his job; his sons talk upstairs.

    Act 1, Section 1
  • About 15 years earlier

    Flashback: Willy and his sons talk as Bernard appears and suggests that Biff might fail math.

    Act 1, Section 3
  • Past and the next day

    Flashback: The Woman is introduced while, in the present, Willy gets angry with his wife, Linda.

    Act 1, Section 4
  • Same day and the past

    Willy and Charley play cards; Ben shows up in short flashbacks to discuss his success.

    Act 1, Section 5
  • Same day

    Linda reveals to her sons that Willy is borrowing money and considering suicide.

    Act 1, Section 6
  • Same day

    The family discusses Biff's prospects, including an idea to meet with Bill Oliver.

    Act 1, Section 7
  • Same day

    Willy meets with his boss, Howard, to propose a new work arrangement and ends up getting fired.

    Act 2, Section 1
  • Same day

    Happy, Biff, and Willy meet for an unsuccessful and tense dinner at Frank's Chop House.

    Act 2, Section 3
  • Same day

    After a final confrontation between Willy and Biff, Willy commits suicide by crashing his car.

    Act 2, Section 5
  • Several days later

    Willy Loman's family and Charley bury Willy and reflect on his life.


Section Summaries Chart

Section Summary
Act 1, Section 1 The play opens in the present between Willy and Linda Loman in their home. The stage directions describe a flute t... Read More
Act 1, Section 2 Biff and Happy talk in their bedroom in the present as Willy talks to himself downstairs. The setting shifts to th... Read More
Act 1, Section 3 Willy experiences his first memory flashback with his boys and then with Linda. Already talking to himself in the ... Read More
Act 1, Section 4 Willy's past affair is revealed, and the neighbor Charley offers Willy a job in the present. Still in the past, Wi... Read More
Act 1, Section 5 In an imagined scene from the past, Ben talks about his success to Willy. As Charley and Willy continue to play ca... Read More
Act 1, Section 6 In the present, Linda, Biff, and Happy discuss Willy's state of mind. With Willy out of the house on a walk, Linda... Read More
Act 1, Section 7 In the present, the Loman family discusses Biff's prospects. The whole family gathers in the house where the ongoi... Read More
Act 2, Section 1 After an optimistic morning in the present, Willy visits his boss, Howard. The sun is shining the next morning, an... Read More
Act 2, Section 2 Willy talks to Ben in a daydream and then talks to Charley in his office in the present. Ben reappears in Willy's ... Read More
Act 2, Section 3 The three Loman men meet at Frank's Chop House in the present. Happy and Biff arrive independently at Frank's Chop... Read More
Act 2, Section 4 The Loman men argue in the present, and Biff's discovery of his father's past affair is revealed. Merging past and... Read More
Act 2, Section 5 In the present, the boys return to the house for Biff and Willy's final argument before Willy drives to his death. ... Read More
Requiem In the present, Linda, Charley, Biff, Happy, and Bernard attend Willy's funeral. A few days later, Linda, Charley,... Read More
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