Self-exploration in the Play “Death of a Salesman”

In Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” Willy Loman is a person who makes every effort to achieve the “American Dream” in the 1940’s. This period was defined by America’s climb out of the Great Depression in addition to its acknowledgment as a world superpower following World War II. A now prosperous country flaring with chance, the “American Dream” of this decade was commonly defined by financial success, a wholesome household, and land ownership. Nevertheless, Willy Loman struggles to obtain this national values due to his misunderstanding of himself as someone higher than who he truly is. His success as a salesperson is minimal and his relationship with his household is strained, specifically with Biff in specific. Biff realizes that the aimless instructions his life is taking is partly due to the inflation of his pride brought on by Willy’s false convictions, which stressed the importance of being “well liked.” Nevertheless, when at the deepest point of being at loss with himself, Biff finally recognizes and concerns terms with who he is. Contrasted with Willy, who stays in denial up until his terrible demise, Biff’s truthful and raw reflective of his self-purpose evolves as the play advances, up until Biff finally fulfills his journey for self-discovery.

At first, Biff projects an aura of uncertainty that surrounds him. At the age of thirty-four his life has actually not yet taken a certain path and he is unable to secure a steady career. In his conversation with Delighted in his space, he reveals his concern, stating “I resemble a kid. I’m not married, I’m not in business, I just-I’m like a boy (23 ).” Biff is also described as bearing “a worn air” and seeming “less fearless” (19 ). When Pleased and Biff go over women, Delighted even asks Biff, “Where’s the old humor, the old self-confidence?” In addition, the American suitables of success add to Biff’s uncertainty. Biff would rather live a standard life on a cattle ranch herding livestock, than devoting his “entire life to keeping stock, or making telephone call, or selling or buying.” Contentment is success for Biff, and it is apparent he associates the 2 with each other when he asks Happy, “Are you content, Hap? You’re a success, aren’t you? Are you content?” However, in a society where success is measured in dollars and product, Biff is left unpredictable of what he is “expected to desire.” Despite the fact that he loves being exposed air of a farm, it does not generate adequate capital, and he is entrusted the awareness, “What the hell am I doing, experimenting with horses, twenty-eight dollars a week!”( 22 ). As a result, Biff is unwillingly pulled into the world of obtaining financial success, even if it suggests risking one’s satisfaction. For that reason, as Willy claims, “Biff Loman is lost.”

In his essay, “Focus on Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman: The Wrong Dreams,” literary critic Chester Eisinger contends that the play “concerns completing dreams and id,” one plan being the “metropolitan dream of company success” and the other being the “rural agrarian dream of open space.” Willy experiences his identity, and Eisinger proposes that he “does not know who he is.” In regards to “organisation success,” Willy depends on the approval of others, and being “well liked” is utilized as a determining tool for the success of his profession. When he discusses to Howard how there “was character” in being a salesman, Willy conjured his memory of Dave Singleman, an effective and popular salesman. Willy specifies that he “died the death of a salesman…-when he died, hundred of salesmen and purchasers were at his funeral” (81 ). As a result, Singleman respresents what Willy wants to become and his idea of success. Willy likewise overemphasizes constantly about his accomplishments and self-identity. In a flashback of their youth, Willy informs Biff and Pleased that “great, upstanding people … know me up and down New England … when I bring you fellas up there’ll be open sesame for everyone … I can park my vehicle in any street in New England, and the cops safeguard it like their own.” This indicates that Willy resides in a vulnerable world of self-delusion, where rather of focusing on reality, he persuades himself that he is well liked and successful by lying. This fills Biff with arrogance, and blew him “so full of hot air” that he “might never stand taking orders from anybody.” In addition, Willy’s mentality that approval is more important than good principles adversely impacts Biff. For example, Willy condones Biff’s theft of the guideline football, applauding that the “Coach’ll probably congratulate you on your initiative!” (30 ). When Bernard rationally mentions that even if Biff “printed University of Virginia on his sneakers doesn’t imply they’ve got to graduate him,” Willy concerns Bernard as a “pest” and an “anemic” to his kids. Willy even tells Biff to “get some sand” from a neighboring apartment building, and applauds Biff’s “nerves of iron” as he steals it. As Eisinger explains, Willy “denigrates the requirement for discovering in the name of a greater excellent, character.” He values more emphasis on being “well liked” than mentor Pleased and Biff practical morals that would have shown beneficial for them in the long run. As an outcome, Biff ends up stealing from work, which in addition to his rejection to accept orders from authority, ultimately contributes to his lack of success. Yet, most destructive to Biff’s character is when he comes across Willy’s extramarital relations with The Woman. As Biff storms out of the hotel space in tears, “Willy is left on the flooring on his knees” (121 ). This eventually represents Willy’s “fall” into down decrease. Willy’s belittled position prior to Biff also represents Biff’s loss of respect for him, as he no longer admires him as he did when he was a boy. Biff ends up being so upset that he lets go of his when appealing and bright future, leading to Willy’s empty dream that he longed for Biff to satisfy at some point. For that reason, this further puts pressure and triggers tension between Willy and Biff’s relationship.

The discovery of his daddy’s infidelity is a primary pivotal moment in Biff’s life. Devastated, he invests his life as an underachiever who suffers an identity crisis. However, the beginning of Biff’s self-discovery comes when he steals a pen from Expense Oliver’s office. He has a surprise in which he remembers that he “dropped in the middle of that building and saw sky. I saw the important things that I enjoy in this world. The work and the food and the time to sit and smoke (132 ).” Biff accepts that he does not belong in a business world and even asks himself, “Why am I trying to become what I do not want to be?” Appropriately, literary critic Fred Ribkoff implies that “Biff visits Oliver in an useless effort to fit his self-circular self in an ‘angular world’– a world in the procedure of crushing both the child and daddy, males far more skilled at using their hands than at using a pen.” His spontaneous theft of Oliver’s pen shows that Biff will never ever reach the basic “American Dream” and concurrently be material.

His encounter with Oliver also allows Biff to realize, “I even believed myself that I ‘d been a salesman for him! And after that he offered me one look and-I realized what a ludicrous lie my entire life has actually been! We have actually been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk.” Biff is the only character to acknowledge the harsh truth that he and Pleased were living a lie conjured by Willy’s misconception in regards to their success. In addition, when he faces Willy and Delighted about knowing their self-identity, he exclaims, “We never informed the truth for 10 minutes in this house!” Happy, still disillusioned, rejects this, and tries to fix Biff when he yields that Happy is not an assistant buyer, but “one of the two assistants to the assistant.” Biff implicates the family of being “filled with it” and admits, “all I desire is out there, waiting on me the minute I say I know who I am!” As a result, Biff is willing to sacrifice incorrect pride for a practical insight of who he is.

Biff’s remark to Willy, “I’m a cent a dozen, and so are you,” ends up being the quintessence of self-discovery for Biff- he has actually freed himself from Willy’s disenchanted viewpoint of superiority, which is evident when Willy argues that “I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!” Biff, ruggedly honest, also informs Willy, “You were never ever anything however a hard-working drummer who landed in the ash can like all the rest of them!” By making these accusations, it appears that Biff has deflated his self-perception that had actually been instilled by Willy. He is no longer not sure of who he is and recognizes that he will never ever measure up to Willy’s materialistic dreams, which are virtually unattainable. This is exemplified when he asks Willy, “Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?” Biff understands that Willy’s desperate plight in search of success is slowly consuming him. Accordingly, it eventually does, and following Willy’s awful death, Biff solemnly asserts, “He had the incorrect dreams. All, all, incorrect.” However, possibly the greatest evidence of Biff’s self-discovery depends on his declaration in the Requiem, when he merely tells Delighted, “I know who I am, kid.”

Throughout the course of the play, Biff’s character makes a cycle. In his high school years, he is successful in terms of popularity, only to be followed by a period of confusion regarding who he is. Eventually, his success can be found in the type of realizing his dreams in a strong, even brutally truthful, sense of self-discovery. As Ribkoff discusses, “Biff reminds us that the ‘American Dream’ is not Everyman’s dream.” He disregards success in regards to company and income-he would choose to be content living on wide-open land, even if it means little pay. As a result, the implications of his dreams are out of sync with society’s and Willy’s conception of success, which counts on material and being “well liked.” Therefore, Willy is never capable of comprehending Biff’s standard desire, which leads to a struggling relationship between father and son. The impact of Willy on Biff’s struggle to discover himself likewise moves the play’s focus to Biff. The audience for that reason sympathizes with Biff’s character as he attempts to find who he is, while remaining the only Loman who is truthful with himself. As a result, it can be concluded that Biff is a clear lead character, or even hero, of the awful “Death of a Salesperson.”