Contrasting Biff and Bernard in Death of a Salesman

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“As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)
Friends are an important part of life. Friends are useful to help one get through the hardships of life. In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, we see the small (but present) friendship of Biff and Bernard. Biff is a football superstar, with scholarships lined up and friends galore. Bernard, his neighbour and childhood friend, is very much a book worm who decides to focus his time on his academics and unfortunately, doesn’t have many friends. Bernard had always idolized Biff throughout high school for his undeniable talent and charisma. On many occasions Bernard would offer to help Biff through his weaknesses by holding him accountable for his academics and help him pass his math course. But because of Biff’s nature he decided to pass the opportunities until he drove his life into the ground. After high school had passed, the lives of the two changed dramatically. Biff, once a man of confidence and charisma had become an unmotivated flop while Bernard’s hard work earned him the status of an important lawyer. Although Biff and Bernard shared similar opportunities to excel, their differences in upbringing, talent, and popularity lead to their success in later life.

Biff and Bernard both started out life with great opportunities for success. The two lived in the same neighbourhood in Brooklyn for most of their child hood. They went to the same high school and even shared the same teachers and classes. Knowledge is the key to success and both had the opportunity to participate in a great education. The pair’s character is tested when they have to make their life through high school. Both had to decide on what to focus on, who to work with and what resources to use. Biff had one of the greatest resources around – Bernard, who could of helped him on many occasions “Biff, where are you? You’re supposed to study with me today.” (Miller 32). Bernard tries to help Biff realize that his talent...
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