The Definition Of Success In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

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In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Biff Loman experiences turmoil within himself, feeling as if he has to fit the mold Willy has set forth and disregard his sentiments about his future. Biff’s tension as he conforms outwardly while questioning within conveys the play’s message: the definition of success is subjective and sometimes, one has to simply go against others’ belief to obtain happiness. As a young boy, Biff grew up with ideas of what success is through Willy’s sayings. Willy does not fail to remind his son of what he considers successful. He perpetuates the idea that popularity and being well-liked will greatly aid Biff in his future career in the business world (21). Willy blows a lot of hot into Biff’s mind because he “never……show more content…
The young Biff took his father’s words at face value since he placed Willy on a pedestal, thinking nothing could touch such a man. As a result, this is all Biff has ever known about what success is throughout his youth, where he should be aiming for more popularity and established contacts. This is also what Biff thinks he should strive for in his future, to be this type of person Willy frequently talks highly of. Even after a great number of years have passed in their estranged relationship, Willy’s words still ring true for Biff. He often thinks of the idea that “[he’s] not gettin’ anywhere! What the hell [is he] doing, playing around with horses… [he] oughta be makin’ [his] future” (11). He understands that his father will not approve of him as a farm hand since Willy judges a job’s grandeur based on the income the individual brings home. Even though he expresses that he enjoys working back in the West, he eventually returns home because deep inside he knows it does not fit into…show more content…
While he is in Oliver’s office building, “[He] stopped… and [he] saw—the sky. [He] saw the things he loved in this world… Why [is he] trying to become what [he doesn’t] want to be” (105). It becomes clear to Biff that he does not want to be a part of the world that Willy regards highly. Moreover, he now sees with clarity that if he continues down this path, the path Willy is forcing him to take, he will just be living a phony life. Now that he recognizes he is his own individual, Biff stops conforming to Willy’s idea of success. Biff is not a person who will find happiness sitting in an office or going door-to-door selling products. He is an individual who appreciates the beauty of nature, someone whose inspirations flourish because of what the sight a mare and a colt incites within him (11). He wants to be surrounded by nature at all times and that would not be possible if he is residing at Willy’s, where the house is confined right in the middle of big buildings that deter the lights from reaching them. Biff is a man who is content with living a simple, yet fulfilling, life; he does not aim for all the glory that Willy has been talking about for years and the one he thought he had as a youth. He already accepts the fact that he will not achieve much in life, that he is merely an average man at best (106). Biff knows that he will never be the man Willy
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