Death of a Salesman and Biff Loman Essay

Submitted By oscike97
Words: 1079
Pages: 5

Oscar Ike
Calandro period 1
Honors English
Death of a salesman essay test
Although the name Biff Loman may sound tough, he's not just the big idiot that his title may make it out to be in the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. In fact, he seems to be the only character that shows any real personal growth. Early in the story, he can't keep a job, he steals from all of his employers, and he even went to jail. Despite these setbacks, Biff developed into an exceptional man who learned how to stand up for himself as well as choose his own future. Throughout the play, he shows growth in his maturity.
As Willy Loman’s oldest son, Biff is the star football player in his high school but never put effort into his schoolwork. He failed math as a senior. A lot of this was because wily never encouraged him to do well in school. Instead, he supported the idea of being well liked. His entire life, Biff believed that knowledge or intellect didn’t really matter in life and believed willy’s concept. Biff agreed with this concept his entire life, but it changed when Biff traveled to Boston to visit his father. After catching his father having an affair with another woman, something changed in Biff. “He came back after that month and took his sneakers—remember those sneakers with ‘University of Virginia’ printed on them? He was so proud of those, wore them every day…he burned them up in the furnace. We had a fistfight…Just the two of us, punching each other down the cellar, and crying right through it. I’ve often though of how strange it was that I knew he’d given up his life. What happened in Boston, Willy?” (Miller, 94) This explanation from Bernard shows the transformation Biff went through after seeing his father, do this terrible thing. Biff would skip out on summer school and travel west. As a result, Biff couldn't graduate and therefore couldn't take his football scholarship to college. This was the beginning of his downfall, and had to get jobs out west, but could never keep them because he stole from his bosses.
While Biff is in some ways desperate to impress and please his dad, he also realizes that Willy has flawed, materialistic dreams that Biff is neither able, nor desires, to achieve. Unlike his father and brother, Biff becomes self-aware and starts to value the truth. After waiting six hours to see Bill Oliver for him to not even know who he is, Biff realizes he’d been living in a fantasy world, imagining that he’d been an extremely important, favorite salesman of Oliver’s; when in fact, he’d only been a nameless shipping clerk. Willy had just praised him so much that it led Biff to think he was more than he was. On top of that, after having this experience, he wanted to tell his father the truth for once instead of making up a lie to keep him happy. “Hap, he’s got to understand that I’m not the man somebody lends that kind of money to. He thinks I’ve been spiting him all these years and it’s eating him up.” (Miller, 105) Here, Biff reveals to Happy how tired he is of deceiving his father, and deceiving his own self. This is the first time Biff came face to face with his problems and tackled them honestly. Earlier in the story, Biff would have just listened to Happy and “tell him something nice” (Miller, 105) without even thinking twice.
Furthermore, throughout the play, Biff stopped resenting his father and instead learned to understand and appreciate him, as well as take responsibility for his own actions. In the beginning of the story, Biff despised being home with his family because he was constantly clashing with his father. Willy wanted his son to be the businessman that he never got the chance to be, and Biff hated the pressure he was constantly under to follow his dad’s dreams. Towards the