"He had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong". Is Biff's valedictory opinion of his father Willy's life correct in your view?

Authors Avatar

Richard Stephens                29/09/02

“He had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong”. Is Biff’s valedictory opinion of his father Willy’s life correct in your view?

In this essay I will consider the above statement and go through all the points of question related to it. I will then make an informed decision in the conclusion, as to whether or not I regard the statement as correct.

To begin with it is important that we consider the relationship between Biff and his father, Willy. Both Willy’s dreaming and his cruelty suggest that Willy lives in a world of his own. He seems to have unrealistic dreams of his own and his family’s importance and in Biffs case he is puzzled as to why Biff is working on a farm and this leads to a great deal of conflict. Willy’s views are liable to sudden change. One minute he says that Biff is ‘a lazy bum’ and then he says that he ‘is not lazy’. It is clear that Biff is sensitive and caring and loves his family deeply, but at the end all he can do is to be cruel and force everyone to face the truth. This is why he reveals that he has been to prison for theft. Biff goes on to try and make Willy face reality in his terms. At one point he states quite clearly that it was his father who ‘blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody’ .It is the devastating statement that Biff and Willy are both ‘a dime a dozen’ or very ordinary, that shatters Willy’s dreams.

In having an affair Willy betrays Biff’s ideal image of his father to the extent that Biff labels him a ‘fake’ and makes him decide not to re sit his exams in the summer in an attempt to spite his father for what he has done. Biff shows sensitivity towards his mother by not revealing the details of the affair to her, despite him having known it since he was seventeen. Willy’s reason for the affair – that he is ‘lonely’ and has no-one to talk to- is shown to be untrue, yet there is truth in the fact that he cannot communicate with his own family.

Join now!

Willy’s love for his sons is heartfelt, but his ambitions for Biff seem to have little relation to his son’s needs and desires. His neglect springs directly from his dreams. As a salesman Willy lives by his ability to engage in people and make them believe in him, and this carries over into Willy’s private life. He even tells lies to his wife about the sales he has made to appear to be earning a great deal of money. Biff’s claim his father ‘never knew who he was’ and that he himself does suggests that he will move away from his ...

This is a preview of the whole essay