Willy’s clear-cut expectations of his son can be evidently seen even in the early stages Biff’s life, which end up creating a lot of tension between Willy and Biff when Biff doesn’t meet his father’s expectations. Even when Biff is an adult and still hasn’t become successful in his father’s eyes, Willy’s expectations persist, as in a heated argument between the two Willy tells grown-up Biff that “the door of [Biff’s] life is wide open!” (132). Even though Biff will clearly never become successful in his father’s eyes, Willy still forces his unreasonable expectations on Biff, creating hostility between the two. Although Biff initially attempts to fulfill his father’s definition of success by working as a shipping clerk, Biff realizes that he will never fulfill his father’s unrealistic expectations: “Pop, I’m nothing!
At one point in the play, Willy says, “Biff is a lazy bum”(16). Moments later in the same conversation with Linda, Willy adds, “There’s one thing about Biff, he’s not lazy”(16). Even when confronted by his boys, Willy is unable to deal with the truth, that his sons won’t amount to very much at all. He ignores reality very well, and instead of pointing out that Biff hasn’t established himself yet, Willy tells Biff, “You’re well liked, Biff….And I’m telling you, Biff, and babe you want…”(26). The boys are clearly aware of their status and the status of their father, and Happy is found putting Willy’s personality in a nutshell, “Well, let’s face it: he’s [Willy] no hot-shot selling man. Except that sometimes, you have to admit he’s a sweet personality”(66). Obviously, Willie’s failure to bring up his children effectively, and his delusional thinking including denial of reality helps fortify his depleting condition and confusion.
The relationship between Willy and Biff is complicated. Actually, Biff is everything for Willy. He doesn’t do well as a salesman anymore, so this situation makes him depressed but at least there is Biff. So Willy believes that Biff will reach the success and his dreams will become true. That makes him want Biff to take some responsibility, in other words this is a big pressure on Biff. “How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand? In the beginning, when he was young, I thought, well, a young man, it’s good for him to tramp around, take a lot of different jobs. But it’s more than ten years now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week!” says Willy and then Linda says “He is finding himself Willy.” Then Willy answers again “Not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace!” This shows how Willy mad at him because he thinks they couldn’t reach their dreams because of Biff. Willy says “Sure. Certain men just don’t get started till later in life. Like Thomas Edison, I think. Or B.F. Goodrich. One of them was deaf. I’ll put my money
The father-son conflict between Willy and Biff is complex. First of all, there is a strong personal attachment. He wants Biff to love him. He remembers the fondness shown for him by Biff as a boy, and he still craves this. At this point, however, relations are strained. Although Willy shies away from remembering so painful an episode, he knows in his heart that his affair with the Boston woman left the boy bitterly disillusioned. Feeling some sense of guilt, Willy fears that all of Biff’s later difficulties may have been really attempts to get revenge. In other words, Biff failed to spite Willy. Although outwardly resenting such alleged vindictiveness, Willy still wants to get back the old comradeship, even if he has to buy it dearly. For instance consider when he asked Ben, “Why can’t I give him something and not have him hate me?” and his final moment of joy and triumph occurs when he exclaims, “Isn’t that remarkable? Biff… he likes me!”
Furthermore, Biff, along with Happy tries to conjure up a crazy idea of putting on a sporting goods exhibition. The problem with Willy is that he never grows up and deals with his obstacle; and he has taught this life strategy to his sons.
While Biff is in some ways desperate to impress his father, he is also conscious about the fact that Willy has failed his attempt to be successful in his career. He considers his dad’s dreams materialistic and unreachable. As a matter of fact, in the Requiem, even after his father’s death, Biff says: “He had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong.” Unlike Happy and Willy, Biff is self-aware and values facts; Willy never was a successful salesman and he never wanted to face the truth. On the other hand, Biff is conscious about his failures and the weaknesses of his personality. During an argument with his father, Biff admits that his dad made him “so arrogant as a boy” that now he just can’t handle taking
Willy’s biggest issue with his son is that he let him down by not being any more successful than him. He feels like Biff is failing on purpose just to make him look bad. Although, he has no decent job and is single; Biff has become disoriented about life. Earlier in the play Biff tells Happy, “I tell ya Hap, I don't know what the future is. I don't know - what I'm supposed to want” (Miller266). Biff once looked up to his father as a role model, but lost all faith in him once finding out that he was having an affair. Ever since he has rejected Willy’s commitment of being a husband and also a father. To add to his ruins are Willy’s ideas of how Biff should get ahead in life. Willy taught Biff that popularity was the right way to get to the top, rather than hard-work and dedication. Trying to live by his dad’s standards caused Biff to fail high school and become unable to put forth the effort to become
Ever since Biff walked into the affair between Willy and “The Woman”, Biff hasn’t been able to speak and look at his father the same; this causes Willy to think that Biff hates him. Also, Willy could still be upset about how he may ruined Biff’s chance of going to summer school for his failing subject. From there, Biff could’ve gone to college and become more successful than his father. Willy becomes happier when Biff attempts to talk to Bill Oliver because he wants him to be the successful man that he could’ve been before.
In his stage play Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller introduces us to the family of Willy Lohan. There is greater influence of the parents to the children as is portrayed in the play. Willy Loman laxity has weighed heavily on the conduct of his sons, Happy and Biff. The main theme in the play is sustained in the play with the sons of Willy attaining their personality from their father. We learn that one’s upbringing shapes their behavior. The actions of those within one’s surrounding influence one’s behavior. This is quite evident in the case of a parent child interaction as portrayed in the play. Since most the time the child will look up to their parents, their ethical and
Although Willy is in reality an unsuccessful salesman he continually speaks of himself and of his two sons in his brash ways, as being part of those whom have affluence and destitution, those whom can become great leaders in the world. Linda, Willy's wife, honourably stands by him even as he start to slowly degenerate into illusion that he cannot differentiate from reality anymore. To some extent Linda is not part of the solution but rather part of the problem with the family's inability to face reality. Linda loves Willy to the extent of accepting her husband's distorted views of reality and falling herself in his world of dreams and aspirations. In doing so, she is telling her sons without a word that their father's destructive direction in life is perfectly viable. Linda also vocalises the main conflict between Biff and his father at the very beginning of the play; "You know how he admires you. I think if he finds himself, then you'll both be happier and fight no more."(p.15) This statement implies the level of control Willy wishes to have on his sons, particularly Biff, as well as his unrealistically high expectations towards them; "God Almighty, he'll be great yet. A star like that, magnificent, can never really fade away."(p.68). However, Biff being a failure ever since he dropped out of school will desperately try to achieve a better knowledge of himself instead of one filtered by his father.
Biff came back home this spring, because he didn't know what he was doing with his life. Willy has mood swings and sometimes thinks very highly of Biff sometimes but other times he hates him. The day he came home Willy yelled at him, and because Biff admires his dad, he was depressed. He later reveals to Happy, after their double date, that all he wants is to work on a farm,
Biff is the apple of his father’s eye. Young, handsome, strong, intelligent, and full of ambition, Biff is going to take the world by storm, and Willy intends to living vicariously through him. This is not to be however. After Biff’s disastrous attempt to get his father to discuss grades with his math teacher, Biff gives up. Entirely. At one point, he wanted to work and to succeed in order to please his father, but after he discovers Willy cavorting with another woman, Biff does not want to give his father the satisfaction of a flourishing son. Suddenly, Willy is a liar in his eyes, and later in life, this causes Biff to have an almost violent relationship with him. (1268) What makes the strain worse is Willy’s guilt, because he knows whose fault the tension is, yet he cannot bring himself to admit it.
The Importance of Biff's Role in "Death of a Salesman" The play "Death of a Salesman", by Arthur Miller, follows the life of Willy Loman, a self-deluded salesman who lives in utter denial, always seeking the "American Dream," and constantly falling grossly short of his mark. The member's of his immediate family, Linda, his wife, and his two sons, Biff and Happy, support his role. Of these supportive figures, Biff's character holds the most importance, as Biff lies at the center of Willy's internal conflicts and dreams , and Biff is the only one in the play who seems to achieve any growth. Biff's role is essential to the play because he generates the focus of Willy's conflict for the larger part, his own
Biff and Happy once deeply respected and looked to their father for advice and encouragement, as in the past Linda says “few men are idolized by their children the way you are”⁶, but as they realise his advice was false and he had been living a lie throughout life. As soon as Biff finds out about his father’s affair he no longer respects him and Willy remains unable to win back his trust. “You fake! You phony little fake”⁷. Willy feels that by his suicide, it will prove to Biff that he was truly committed to providing for his family. He still believes that Biff will become successful by having the money from his life insurance showing how he never learnt from his mistakes. “Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket? ...When the mail comes he’ll be ahead of Bernard once more”⁵. It is more tragic that Biff is the one who realises that “he had the wrong dreams”⁴ at his funeral. Rather than feeling proud, Biff he pities his father. Ironically it is
Family relationships always have a way of playing a key role for the duration of most literary pieces. According to Arthur Miller’s novel, Death of a Salesman, the interaction of Willy and his sons, Happy and Biff, shows that family ties usually are connected either physically or emotionally in some way or another. Willy Loman is just like every father in a father/son bond, yet all he wants is to be a part of his son’s life. Even though Biff and Happy admire and have so much love for their father when they are younger, later down the road when they are older suddenly they realize he had failed to prepare them for the real society in life.