Analysis of Biff in Death of a Salesman

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Camilla Tanzi
Year 12

An analysis of the character of Biff.
Biff Loman is portrayed as the root of Willy’s mental illness and instability. He is also the only member of his family who acknowledges his own failures in life. On the whole, Biff Loman stands out as the most intriguing and strong character in “Death of a Salesman. He is not a successful man and never will be, he is however able to admit this, even in a harsh society as the one of the 1960s America. Biff knows he is a “nothing” and tries to make his father see that he is “no good. I am a dime a dozen, Pop, and so are you.” He begs for Willy to communicate with him and accept him for who he is. Although Willy is forced by Biff to see some of his own failures, he never accepts that Biff will turn out the same way. At the end of the play, Biff seems to have developed a strength of his own; he has faced and accepted the truth about himself and his father. Now that he acknowledges his problems, there is a hope that he will be able to reach his potential. If “Death of a Salesman” offers any hope, it is only through the character of Biff. Miller implies there is a chance that he will one day be able to live a normal life, away from the shadow of Willy Loman. Biff stimulates reactions out of his father’s lunacy and is portrayed as the main cause of Willy’s problems. We understand that Willy has been a bad influence on his son and in spite of this; he has big ambitions for Biff and does not want to admit that he will never reach the goals he wishes for him. Being Willy’s oldest son, Biff seems to be the perfect child to his father. However, as the play develops and especially when it shifts from Willy’s dreams to the reality, we see a change in his attitude towards his son. When Biff was the star rugby player, the only thing that mattered to Willy was his success in the sport. As a matter of fact, when Bernard informs Willy and Biff about the possibility of him being “flunked in math”, Willy’s reply is...
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