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Death of a Salesman - Father-Son Relationships

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Death of a Salesman - Father-Son Relationships

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  • October 8, 1999
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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 conflict is strongly attributed to Willy, and finally, he is the only character who manages growth or a sense of closure in the play. Willy is forever plagued by the fact that Biff has not "gone anywhere in life." Biff, who is already in his thirties, is still drifting from place to place, job to job, most recently work as a farmhand. Biff is a source of endless frustration for Willy, who always dreams of Biff being incredibly successful in the business world. When Willy has memories of Biff as a boy, he is completely obsessed with whether or not Biff is well-liked; however, he is completely oblivious to things like Biff's having stolen a football from school, and the fact that Biff is failing his math class. "Be liked and you will never want," says Willy(1363). The amount of aggravation generated by Biff's lack of motivation and desire to be "successful" makes Biff's role extremely important The play also spends quite a bit of time focusing on Biff's own conflict, which is basically his father. In his youth, he shared his father's great aspirations for himself. He was captain of the football team, and had plans for college and then a career in business afterwards. Biff was absolutely obsessed with...