Similarities Between Willy and Biff in Death of a Salesman
by john moster
Arthur Miller?s Death of a Salesman is the tragic story of Willy Loman who?s life is a continuous torture. He feels as if he had failed in achieving anything for himself or his family. One of his dreams was to become a successful salesman, but instead, he supports his family with the loans he receives from his friend because his job earns him nothing. He lives with his wife Linda, and his two sons, Biff and Happy. Biff was another dream of Willy?s. Biff was to be a professional football player, but he gave up his efforts in life after catching his father cheating on Linda. When Willy realizes the results of his adulterous actions, he commits suicide. Willy and Biff are very similar in that they both had no positive role models, both feel that success is more important than enjoyment, and both had dreams taken away from them.
The first way in which Biff and Willy is their lack of a positive role models. Willy?s father left him when he was a baby, and never had anyone to guide him through life. In effect, this left Biff with no positive role model. Willy had never received good influential parenting and never learned how to positively influence Biff. All of the good advice Biff received from Willy is shattered when he learns of his father?s adulterous relationship. He says, ?You fake! You phony little fake!? to Willy, indicating that everything Willy had told him is disregarded. Biff feels disillusioned by his role model and believes that everything he learned about life from his father is meaningless, and he gives up on life.
Another way in which Willy and Biff are similar is their idea that success is more important than enjoyment. Willy is shown to have a great interest in gardening and carpentry, but he insists on being a salesman. He believes that respect is only given to the successful and he would never take up his interests as an occupation. Biff inherits this idea from Willy. Willy wants Biff to become a famous professional football player. Biff?s true desire is to work on a ranch, which he eventually does and receives criticism from Willy. Biff?s idea of the importance of success is what drives him to do many things in his early life. This is why he gives up on life when he reasoned that the idea that he learned from his father was a lie.