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What assigned role does Biff play in the Loman family? What roles are played by Happy? Linda? Willy? Is Biff exaggerating when he claims,

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Introduction

Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller What assigned role does Biff play in the Loman family? What roles are played by Happy? Linda? Willy? Is Biff exaggerating when he claims, " We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house" What does he mean? In every family unit or household there are roles that each members have to play. These are there so that each person knows what is expected of them and what to expect from other people. They can be basic roles such as the housework, for example one of a housewife's roles would be to keep the house clean. Or they can be less obvious, for example always being available to offer emotional support and being a friendly shoulder to cry on. These varied roles within a group of people can be recognised and discussed by the members, overt, or it can be that the members themselves don't even realise they exist or that any of these roles are assigned to them within the family group, covert. The roles that each member plays can be dependant on several things, for instance age, experience, sex or even the job that they do. ...read more.

Middle

He believes it should be up to him to support his children and wife financially. He manages to bring up Biff and Happy with few financial problems however he is never comfortable and sums up the situation well in the first part of Act II, "Once in my life I would like to own something outright before its broken! I'm always in a race with the junkyard!". As the play unfolds we find out that Willy's financial situation has become worse and worse over the last few years. He now has to borrow money from Charley every week to pay the rent and insurance. He is a very proud man as well and believes that he has to set the right example to his sons. This is why he refuses to take an office job when Charley offers him a stable job. He fails to recognise his dire situation. He finds himself drifting more and more into the past as the play progresses as he again tries to avoid the cold truth. His efforts to educate his boys and to set an example are also not the conventional approach that you night expect. He seems to think Biff and Happy are somehow different from the average man and will be able to succeed because of this ability they have. ...read more.

Conclusion

This underlines how he supports his father, however unlike Linda he tends to feed Willy's fantasies and dreams as we see in the restaurant at the end of the play. He struggles for attention throughout the play and while Linda and Willy are discussing Biff's future he often jumps in saying, "I've lost wait" or "I'm gonna get married". This usually inspires little response and Happy is left feeling unwanted, perhaps this explains why he finds it so easy to live in the past and to create events that never really happened. The statement that Biff makes at the end of the play, " We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house" can be proved and explained through the roles that each person plays. Willy drifts from reality to his memory with increasing frequency as the play goes on and he uses it to escape the situation he is in. A situation which can be traced back to his tragic demise at his work. It is the realisation that the cherished American Dream that he lived for did not work and with this discovery, which he failed to confront, he feel into a spiral of denial and mental instability. ...read more.

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