How Does Miller Create Sympathy For Biff

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‘To what extent, and it what ways, does Miller create sympathy for Biff (so far)?’

Arthur Miller, author of ‘ The Death of a Salesman’ successfully uses the character of Biff to not only highlight the key themes of the ‘American dream’, family values and father-son relationships but also to create a sense of sympathy for Biff from the audience.
To begin, Biff is one of the most troubling characters we meet so far, besides his equally or possibly more troubling father, Willy. Biff could be argued to be one of the contributing factors to his father, Willy’s constant confused state of mind. This is shown early in the play when Willy calls Biff “a lazy bum” then shortly after states that Biff “is not lazy”, highlighting his mercurial behaviour. …show more content…

Similarly, highlighting the theme of strained relationships, when his brother Happy asks Biff if he is “still sour on Dad”, Biff replies that “he’s all right, I guess”. The sense of doubt in “I guess” could be suggested to be foreshadowing that their relationship will unfortunately not improve as the play progresses. Furthermore, the heart-wrenching question “why does Dad mock me all the time?” further emphasises their strained relationship. Happy also seems to always be on Willy’s side, thus, making Biff more frustrated. Willy’s false convention of what is right and what is wrong also contributes to inducing sympathy from the audience. This is seen when Willy makes Biff think that it’s okay to steal a “football” and then later construction materials for him to build

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