In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Biff Loman silently questions his ability to fulfill his father’s wishes. His father, Willie Loman, holds high expectations for Biff’s future and constantly brags to others about how successful Biff will be. Out of respect for his father, Biff conforms to the path that Willie has planned for him. In the beginning, Willie lives vicariously through his son, Biff, who has no choice but to conform in order to preserve father-son respect. However, when the mutual respect that his father holds so dear dissolves, Biff’s concealed questions expand their influence from his thoughts to his actions as Biff becomes his own man.
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
Biff’s trouble with seeking the truth about himself is a development that is seen from the past and present parts of the play. This adversity was due to the fact he assumed no values of his own, but accepted those of Willys personal attractiveness and being well liked. This concept of himself is discouraged when he went to visit Billy Oliver for a business proposition and had failed. Biff had said, “I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been”. Here Biff is coming to terms with who he is, developing a different and mature mindset. The lie wasn't only about how he perceived himself, but of how others perceived him; an idea of what he aspired to be influenced by his father.
Lazy — Biff Does not like to study or do anything related to hard work other than farming. This is because he grew up being taught you only need to be popular to be successful. Things might have worked out for him even with believing this illusion, however he flunks math and loses all his scholarships.
Biff Loman is oldest of the Loman brothers and had always been told he was better than everyone else. Biff believed this and acts as if he were an Adonis for the entirety of his childhood. Biff has fed into all of the compliments that his father gave him as a child, and now at the age of 34 is realizing that everything that his life has been one big lie, “BIFF: He walked away. I saw him for one minute. I got so mad I could’ve torn the walls down! How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I’d been a
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
Willy’s unreasonable expectations of Biff creates a hostile relationship between Biff and Willy. Ever since Biff was in highschool, Willy always expected Biff to be very successful without instilling the tools
He gives up on his dreams of being rich and prepares to return to a simple life he enjoys. Also being back home and building a stronger relationship with his father,makes him realize how he wants to help Willy. While Biff is speaking, he mentions why he gives up the idea of being successful.“BIFF: He walked away. I saw him for one minute. I got so mad I could’ve torn the walls down! How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I’d been a salesman for him! And then he gave me one look and — I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been! We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk.” (page 76). He believed this was his only chance of being rich so when his old boss didn’t recognize him , he knew he wasn’t gonna get anywhere . This is when he dumped the idea of being successful. Throughout most of the play, he procrastinates for a simpler life. So the acceptance of the thought of the American Dream not happening, works out well for Biff. A very important aspect through this play is the relationship between Biff and Willy. Biff saving Willy from suicide shows just how much he want to help his father. In act 1 page 51 :Willy [staring through the window into the moonlight]: “Gee, look at the moon moving between the buildings!” [biff wraps the tubing around his hand and quickly goes up the stairs.]This shows biff wanting to protect Willy because he removed the tubing willy was using to try and kill himself, something Linda was telling him about in the beginning of the book. While helping his father Biff also realizes that he is ready to return to a simple life he enjoys. In act 1 pages 13 and 14, Biff even invites his brother Happy to live with him out West to start up a ranch and speaks about it with enthusiasm.Biff says to Happy, “ Why don't you come out West with me?... mabe we could buy a ranch.Raise cattle, use our
In many ways Biff is similar to his father. In the beginning of the play we see that Biff shares many of the same ideas as Willy. He values being well-liked above everything else and sees little value in being smart or honest. One of Biff's main flaws is his tendency to steal. Early in the play we learn that he has stolen a football from the school locker. When Willy finds out about this, instead of disciplining Biff, he says that the coach will probably congratulate him on his initiative. We also learn that Biff once stole a box of basketballs from Bill Oliver. This foreshadows the scene in which Biff steals Bill
The role of a sibling is a commonly discussed theme. This idea also makes its way into Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. As brothers, Biff and Happy continually influenced one another’s development, whether through encouragement or clashes. They attempted to support and help one another to the best of their abilities. However, their different perspectives and opinions also provoked conflict when offered.
Biff is one of the main characters in the play "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller. Biff is Willy's and Linda's son. He was the star of the football team and had scholarships to 3 college's, but he flunked math and couldn't graduate, so he tried to work at many different jobs, and failed at each. Finally, he decided to head out west, and work on farms.
Willy’s perseverance to direct Biff into success has resulted to Biff’s desperate acts to earn praise from his father. However, Biff’s dishonest acts of stealing are often justified by Willy through disregard and excuse, even expressing that the “Coach will probably congratulate [Biff] for [his] initiative”. Instead of correcting his mistakes, Willy continuously expresses his belief of Biff’s predetermined success as a result of being attractive and well-liked. These acts effectively exemplifies Biff’s adherence to self-deception as he imagines himself as an important figure in other people’s lives. It can be seen that his belief of being destined for success prevents him from allowing himself recognize the destruction it brings. As a result, Biff has allowed how Willy views him become how he perceives himself. This self-deception has not only affected the actions in his childhood but as well as his decisions when finding his role in the workplace. As stated above, Willy’s consistent beliefs of his son’s predestined success results to Biff’s immense confidence in himself. However, this confidence have provided him a false perception of himself as he struggle to keep a stable job and even faces imprisonment. It can be seen that Biff’s lack of self-perception and compliance to ideals of Willy has only allowed him to restrain and prevent him from recognizing the difference between illusion and reality resulting in the lack of his
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.
Biff’s failure comes from the fact that once high school is over, nothing happens. Biff does not go on to be a great businessman or anything like that. Instead he goes from job to job, not making his fortune like Willy thought he would. This poked a hole in the world that Willy had presented to Biff and Happy.
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