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An Analysis of Biff and Happy (Death of a Salesman)

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Introduction

AN ANALYSIS OF BIFF AND HAPPY DEATH OF A SALESMAN ARTHUR MILLER HAPPY � 'Happy is tall, powerfully made. Sexuality is like a visible colour on him, a scent that many women have discovered. He, like his brother, is lost, but in a different way, for he has never allowed himself to turn his face towards defeat and is thus more confused and hard-skinned, although seemingly more content.' � Appearance is important in the Loman household. Happy uses his sexual prowess to allure women from executives with promoted posts - he steals their women to satisfy his over-inflated ego and in fact to feed his growing resentment and discontentment. � He uses girls to make him feel superior. � Biff - Remember that big Betsy something - what the hell was her name - over on Bushwick Avenue? � Happy, combing his hair With the collie dog? � Biff - That's the one. I got you in there remember? � Happy - Yeh, that was my first time - I think. Boy, there was a pig! ...read more.

Middle

In the same way he wanted to feel accepted when his career was plummeting. � 'You gotta stick around. I don't know what to do about him, it's getting embarrassing.' � Happy does not realise the severity of Willy's situation. Less concerned than Biff. � 'But then, it's what I always wanted. My own appartment, a car, and plenty of women. And still, goddammit, I'm lonely.' � He has obtained material desires but he is still not a peace. He is unhappy. He is forced to work for individuals he claims are incompetant, so he steals their women, 'ruins' them forcing disorder into the order of his superiors. � He is 'lonely' and seems to be following in the footsteps of his disenchanted, disillusioned father. BIFF � The Loman family is wrought with dysfunction, stemming from false dreams and hopes Willy has imbued in his sons. Both boys have always been shown that a business career is the only way to achieve success. Biff is quite clear this is not want he wants. � 'it's a measly manner of existence. ...read more.

Conclusion

� Biff asks 'Why does Dad mock me all the time?...Everything I say there's a twist of mockery in his face. I can't get near him.' � Again, there is a strong allusion to the fraught relationship between Biff and Willy. It seems this has been the cause of Biff's loss of confidence and assurance. � Again, this sets up the increasing suspense and sense of disquiet which surrounds the Loman household, reasons for which will be revealed in an explosive, highly dramatic climax. � Happy says to Biff: 'You're well-liked, Biff...' � Again this reinforces the false ideals and values which Willy has bestowed on them. � Miller said of this myth of personality: 'I was ironically stating all the things that they always state seriously. A man can get anywhere in this country on the basis of being liked. Now this is serious advice, and the audience is about to smile (in disbelief), but the tears are coming out of their eyes because they know that is what they believe.' Many such myths are commonly held, such as America has opportunity for all, or that everything is as advertised. Miller is holding up a mirror for an American audience and what it reflects is difficult to acknowledge or confront. ...read more.

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