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The Death of a Salesman: Biff Loman - Sympathy Project

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Masha Goncharova

on 13 October 2016

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Transcript of The Death of a Salesman: Biff Loman - Sympathy Project

Biff Loman
Out of the four main characters in "The Death of a Salesman", Biff Loman deserves the most sympathy.
Poor Role Model
His father is a poor role model
He is not taught good moral values
Willy encourages Biff to steal:

"Willy: Where’d you get a new ball?
Biff: Well, I borrowed it from the locker room
Willy: Sure, he’s gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he? Coach’ll probably congratulate you on your initiative!" (29-30)

"Willy: You shoulda seen the lumber they brought home last week. At least a dozen six-by-tens worth all kinds of money" (50)

Forced To Do Things Against His Wishes
Pushed into business
Forced to take care of Willy
Forced to lie
Feels lost
Forced Into Business
Willy forces Biff into business:
Stands Up For People
The Death of a Salesman
Sympathy Project

Biff idolizes Willy and he lets him down:
Defends Willy
Defends Linda
Forced to Take Care of Willy
Linda makes Biff feel guilty and pushes him into taking care of Willy:
Forced to See Bill Oliver
Biff has no other choice but to see Bill Oliver and beg him for a job:
Forced To Lie
Happy pushes Biff to lie to avoid upsetting Willy:
Because of the difference between his internal wishes and expectations of others, Biff feels lost
"Linda: Biff, I swear to God! Biff, his life is in your hands!
Biff: All right, pal, all right. It is all settled now. I’ve been remiss. I know that, Mom. But now I’ll stay and I swear to you, I’ll apply myself. It’s just - you see, Mom, I don’t fit in business. Not that I won’t try. I’ll try, and I’ll make good" (60)
“Biff: I tell ya, Hap, I don’t know what the future is, I don’t know -- what I’m supposed to want” (22)
“Biff: What the hell I am doing, playing around with horses, twenty-eight dollars a week! I'm thirty four years old, I ought to be making’ my future. That’s when I come running home. And now, I get here, and I don’t know what to do with myself” (22)
“Bernard: And he came back after that month and took his sneakers - remember those sneakers with “University of Virginia” printed on them? He was so proud of those, wore them every day. And he took them down in the cellar, and burned them up in the furnace” (94)
“Biff: Because if he saw the kind of man you are, and you just talked to him in your way, I’m sure he’d come through for me...He’d like you pop. You know the way you could talk” (118)
“Biff: Miss Forsythe, you’ve just seen a prince walk by. A fine, troubled prince. A hardworking, unappreciated prince...A good companion. Always for his boys” (114)
“Biff: I ran down eleven flights with a pen in my hand today..And I looked at the pen and said to myself, what the hell am I grabbing this for? Why am I trying to become what I don’t want to be?” (123)
Impact of Stealing on Biff's Life
"Biff: You know why I had no address for three months? I stole a suit in Kansa City and I was in jail...I stole myself out of every good job since high school....I could never stand taking orders from anybody!” (131)
“Biff: Sure, maybe we could buy a ranch. Raise cattle, use our muscles....I’m telling you, kid, if you were with me I’d be happy out there.” (23-24)
Biff: "Nevermind. He wouldn’t listen to you." (120)
"Biff: Don’t yell at her, Pop, will ya?"
"Biff: I don’t like you yelling at her all the time, and I’m tellin’ you, that’s all"
"Biff: Stop yelling at her!" (65)
"Biff: I'm leaving early tomorrow.
Happy: He's going to see Bill Oliver, Pop
Willy: Oliver? For what?
Biff (with reserve, but trying, trying): He always said he'd stake me. I'd like to go into business, so maybe I can take him up on it.
Linda: Isn't that wonderful?" (62)
"Happy: You tell him something nice. You leave the house tomorrow and come back night and say Oliver is thinking it over. And he thinks it over for a couple of weeks, and gradullay it fades away and nobody's the worse" (105)
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