Similarities Between Biff And Happy Loman

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Success is subjective. There is no ruling outlining the universally accepted point in which one can be considered successful; there’s no clear cut path leading to and accomplishment and riches. Yet, the environment in which children are raised does have the power to affect their future lives. In Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman, Willy Loman’s two boys, Biff and Happy, grow up having extremely different relationships with their father, both of which prove to be formative to the adults Biff and Happy become; Willy’s obliviousness to Happy’s need for attention leads Happy to become dependent and needy, whereas Willy’s constant praise and high expectations for Biff shaped him into an extremely unsettled adult lacking confidence and determination.…show more content…
Growing up in a world revolving around Biff, he was never given the chance to excel. Rather, he was left neglected to grow up in the shadow of his older brother. Happy’s actions in the play demonstrate a deeply rooted sense of insecurity: an ever-present need for attention. Despite numerous obvious pleas for recognition, like when Happy said to his father, “I lost weight Pop, you notice?” (Miller 52), he never received so much as a slight acknowledgement. His accomplishments were never recognized, let alone celebrated by Willy, which fostered an environment of loneliness and insecurity for Happy. As he grew older, Happy turned to immersing himself into a world of women and lies. Perhaps his womanizing ways provided a temporary fill for the void caused by the lack of love in his world, but it culminated to a point in which his mother, Linda, had to call him out on it. When Happy ditched dinner with his father and brother to be with women, Linda screamed, “Did you have to go to women tonight? You and your lousy rotten whores!” (Miller 124). Women were Happy 's go-to, and one of his ways to subdue his insecurities and feel in control, even if it was just for a matter of hours. With women, Happy got the attention he craved, the love he wanted, and the approval he seeked… just not from the person he wanted it…show more content…
Biff Loman grew up as his father 's prized possession: the apple of his eye. Always receiving extensive appreciation, - which was everything Happy longed for - Biff was raised in a world in which he could do no wrong. Willy supported, and even promoted his misbehaviors, such as when Biff boasted about how he had stolen the football from his high school and Willy responded by “laughing with him at the theft,” (Miller 30). Yet, this acceptance and constant praise did prove to be detrimental to Biff as he grew up and became an independent man in the world. Because he could never live up to his father’s expectations, Biff felt that his life was worthless and that he wasn’t good enough, which arguably turned him down the path that ended him up in jail. Biff blamed Willy for this, telling him that he “...never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody!” (Miller 131). Also, Willy’s inability to accept anything deviating from what he wanted to hear led to Biff not being able to talk to his father candidly. Willy never allowed Biff to expose the truth - he constantly reminded Biff how smart, successful, and liked he was, so much so that Biff never had the chance (or the confidence and heart) to tell him all of this was not true. He didn’t want to be the one responsible for disappointing his father, and therefore played along,
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