Coursework — writing a sequel to the play or writing an essay which analyses the use of suspense

2 February 2010

English Death of a Salesman coursework


To be completed in CONTROLLED CONDITIONS in class


Either: Sequel plus commentary (COUNTS as ONE piece of coursework)



Write a sequel to the play, set ONE year later, where Biff returns home to visit Happy and Linda. Set the scene in the house. DO NOT MAKE IT FUNNY! You must write stage directions like Miller, use SOME of his language, and make the scene at least two pages long.

Write a commentary on WHY you presented the STAGE in this way, WHY you presented the characters in this, and WHY you used you the language that you did. At least two pages long.

Planning and preparation:

  1. Go through the play, highlighting quotes of STAGE DIRECTIONS, key lines and phrases that the characters speak that you might INTEGRATE into your play.
  2. Draw up a plan for your play, writing out an OPENING, COMPLICATION, CRISIS, CLIMAX, RESOLUTION. Eg:


OPENING: Biff returns home. He is found himself working in the fields in Texas.

COMPLICATION: Linda and Happy are ashamed of him having such a lowly job and taking pride in it. It wasn’t what Willy would have wanted…Happy is secretly jealous. He’s pretending to be very successful as a salesman but he’s really not. Both Linda and Happy are denying now that Willy committed suicide.

CRISIS: Biff challenges Happy and Linda, saying that Willy committed suicide. He says that Happy will do the same thing if he’s not careful.

CLIMAX: Happy and Biff fight when Biff says that Willy committed suicide.

RESOLUTION: Linda admits that Willy committed suicide. Happy leaves the house, determined never to see them again.

  1. Write your sequel.
  2. Perform it!
  3. Write a commentary.



Find your FAVOURITE passage in the play (at least two WHOLE passage of the play) and explain how Arthur Miller creates tension and excitement in it. In your analysis you must:

Discuss how your passage FITS into the play as a whole. Explain what happens before and after your scene, talking about the way in which Miller builds suspense before and after the scene.

Discuss how the passage would be performed on stage, discussing costumes, scenery, music, the expressions of the actors, how they would read certain important lines.

Discuss how the CHARACTERS would be presented on stage and WHY they would be presented in this way. What is Miller trying to say about the characters?

If you have not covered this already:

Discuss the LANGUAGE and IMAGERY in the play, discuss how the important imagery and language would be read by the characters.


  1. Photocopy your scene and annotate it for ALL the key features.
  2. Write a plan for your essay!
  3. Write it carefully and sensibly.



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