Biff Loman's Role in Death of a Salesman

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Biff Loman may not be the “Salesman” in Arthur Miller’s masterpiece, The Death of a Salesman, but he is the main character of the play. The character known as Biff Loman is at the root of his immediate family’s internal dilemmas and inner conflicts. Biff’s essence is what motivates the men in his family to choose the path that they take in life. For this reason, even when Biff is not present in a particular scene, he is still omnipresent because of his invisible pull on the actions and feelings of his family members whom he had impacted throughout the years. The play finds Biff Loman at age 34, while his younger brother Happy is 32. Growing up, Happy was influenced greatly by his older brother. This is common in most young boys, especially when they are this close in age. Happy was eyewitness to the arrogant and womanizing behaviors of his elder brother, Biff during their youth. Happy saw the way Biff behaved during high school and witnessed the positive feedback that he received from both his peers and his father as a result of his behavior, which was less than exemplary. Happy saw Biff skate through his teenage years living in this manner. Biff got the attention from their father that Happy had yearned for. The stage was set for Happy to attempt to emulate Biff’s womanizing, unscrupulous actions during his own life. Happy became a womanizer on a level which even exceeded Biff’s promiscuous behavior during his youth. Happy often found himself sleeping with his boss’s wives, girlfriends and fiancés. He couldn’t even understand why he did it. It was simply an instinct which was engrained in him after spending his impressionable years so close to Biff, even sharing a bedroom with him during this time.

Willy Loman, himself, was obsessed with his eldest son. During Biff’s prime of life, Willy found happiness by living vicariously though his son. Poor Happy was hardly noticed by his father who was so wrapped up in Biff. Willy believed that he would find all his...
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