Death of a Salesman

Biff's Self-Discovery in "Death of a Salesman" 11th Grade

In Arthur Miller’s play “Death of a Salesman,” Willy Loman is an individual who strives to achieve the “American Dream” in the 1940’s. This era was characterized by America’s climb out of the Great Depression in addition to its recognition as a world superpower following World War II. A now prosperous nation seething with opportunity, the “American Dream” of this decade was commonly defined by economic success, a wholesome family, and land ownership. However, Willy Loman struggles to acquire this national ethos due to his misconception of himself as someone greater than who he really is. His success as a salesman is limited and his relationship with his family is strained, especially with Biff in particular. Biff realizes that the aimless direction his life is taking is partially due to the inflation of his pride caused by Willy’s false convictions, which emphasized the importance of being “well liked.” However, when at the deepest point of being at loss with himself, Biff finally realizes and comes to terms with who he is. Contrasted with Willy, who remains in denial until his tragic demise, Biff’s honest and raw introspective of his self-purpose evolves as the play progresses, until Biff finally fulfills his journey for...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 1704 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 10767 literature essays, 2703 sample college application essays, 648 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in