Biff as the Protagonist in "Death of a Salesman" Essay

Biff as the Protagonist in "Death of a Salesman"
An analysis of Biff as the protagonist of Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman".
# 154238 | 1,090 words | 0 sources | 2015 | US
Published on Oct 06, 2015


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From the Paper:

"Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, portrays a typically dysfunctional American family. At the center of this family is their father, Willy Loman. Although Willy is the title character of the play and center of most discussion surrounding the work, his lack of praiseworthy traits make him unworthy to be the protagonist. A protagonist, by definition, is one who takes the leading part in a drama, novel or story and who takes the leading part in a cause; a champion. It is also someone the audience can relate to and want to see succeed. From this definition then, it is Biff, not Willy, who is the true protagonist of the play.
"Biff takes on several causes in the play, and perhaps the most obvious of those is his desire to break free of his father's influence and find his own path in life. Although he has lived away from home for some time, he is still very much shaped by Willy's raising. Throughout the play, Willy is an overbearing but loving father, who sets the foundation for Biff's beliefs. As a child, Biff accepts Willy's lessons and behavior, but as he grows, realizes the errors of his father's ways. One such case is through Willy's constant praising of his children, regardless of their accomplishments or behavior. Because of this excessive praise, Biff developed quite an ego as a young man and therefore believed he was better than most people. Consequently, he felt that he was too good for mediocre tasks and should not bother with them. After several failed jobs and careers, he learns the error of his ways when nothing long-term comes his way. Biff states, "I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody!" (131). It is only once he arrives home as an adult, that he fully understands the damage that Willy's praise has done to him."

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