Bernard is a significant character in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. He is also a next-door neighbor to the Lomans. Therefore, he can be analyzed to provide quality insight into the family situation of the Loman family.
Who Is Bernard in Death of a Salesman: A Brief Analysis
It is usually claimed that life in your mind can be complicated at times. Sometimes, it takes another person keenly observing you to understand you better than yourself. Bernard is one such character.
He grows up living next door to Willy’s family within the play. He holds Biff in very high esteem and views his athletic prowess with a following that approaches a hero’s worship. There is one scene in which he carries athletic gear for biff into the clubhouse before a game just to become part of Biff’s universe. As Happy, Biff and Bernard reach their thirties, and Bernard attains a more stable and successful life compared to that of Willy’s sons.
The Significance of Bernard in Death of a Salesman
Bernard’s character serves various purposes. First, the author distinguishes the contrast that exists between beard and the Loman brothers. They are talented sportsmen while Bernard is a nerd and successful in academics. Additionally, Bernard prospers professionally while happy and Biff falter in their lives. This character also provides the audience with an outsider’s view of Willy’s family.
His first appearance within the play is in a flashback. He is quick to warn Biff that he has to study for his mathematics examination. This is his first show of concern for Biff, who is a good friend of his. However, willy seems dismissive of this idea. He encourages biff to continue with his unscrupulous means of attaining success. Bernard even offers to provide some coaching to biff, but both biff and his father ridiculously dismiss him. Willy even goes as far as to request Bernard to assist biff in cheating while undertaking the regent’s examination.
As an adult, Bernard becomes a prominent lawyer, and he is even about to present a case at the supreme court. He encounters Bernard while at his father’s office. The Charley and Bernard relationship is cordial and full of respect and love. When Willy visits his father’s office, Bernard humbles himself by downplaying his professional achievements while speaking to willy. It at this point that Willy somehow acknowledges that biff is a failure in life.
Throughout the play, Bernard is a symbol of honesty, love, and integrity. He shows genuine concern for those he cares about, and he is not hubris in his achievements. Even though willy asks Bernard for his secret wondering why his son Biff could never catch on, he claims he does not know but gives a hint that they expect things the easy way. This was a true sign of honesty.
Death of a Salesman Characters: