Biff is willy’s eldest son. He is a controversial character in the play who goes against the grain when it comes to his family’s vision. He is one of the primary drivers of willy’s thoughts as well as actions. In particular, he is also a stimulator of his flashbacks throughout the play.
Any time Loman is not able to come to terms with reality, he takes refuge into his rather glorious past where Biff remains a constant figure.
Before the Boston trip, Biff held willy in high esteem. He believed in all his narratives and bought into his father’s worldview that an individual will surely be successful if he gains the favor of the people or being “well-liked.” For this reason, Biff never questioned Loman even when it was obvious that he was underhanded or corrupt. Therefore, Biff grew up knowing that he was never bound to any societal expectations or rules because willy did not care to live by them, nor did he expect Biff to do the same.
As a reason, it did not come as a surprise that Biff’s behavior of stealing proceeded through his adult life because Loman encourages these seemingly “small thefts” while he was growing up. He once went to jail for three months for stealing a suit. For instance, instead of punishing Biff for cheating during the football match, he instead praises his actions.
A Critique of Biff Loman and American Dream
Later on, Biff’s perception of Willy is radically altered after the trip to Boston. Upon learning that his father is having an affair, Biff denounces willy and all his philosophies. He now considers his father to be a “fake” and he no longer abides by or believes in Loman’s grandiose fantasies of splendor and success. On the contrary, Biff ends up despising his father and anything he represents.
Another of Biff’s problems resides in the fact that though he does not wish to associate with his father, he cannot alter the fact that he is still willy’s son. Subsequently, he also cannot change the fact that willy is still his father. It is also bare truth that his father has greatly impacted his life and character.
He is not a womanizer like Happy. Nevertheless, he has adopted his father’s tendency to manipulate and exaggerate reality in a manner that favors him. For instance, bluff strongly believes that he was Oliver’s salesman, instead of a shipping clerk. Only upon confronting Oliver that he realizes how twisted his thinking was.
Biff differs from willy in that he finally embraces the truth that they had all been living a lie and not the American dream. He finds relief upon discovering himself and that he has been living a lie. However, Willy still thinks that Bluff needs to keep up the face facade to please him. At one point, he even states that “we have never told the truth even for ten minutes in this house. After that, he distances himself from his father dance hie openly refuses to live by his false standard.
Death of a Salesman Characters: