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Willy is embarrassed at the enormity of his thoughtless actions, and he realises their impact in Act II. He is unable to secure an easier position with Howard and Bernard confirms his suspicions that Biff 'gave up on life' after seeing him with the woman in Boston. After his breakdown in the restaurant and being abandoned by his sons, he is confronted with his own failure.
Biff is desparate to bring his father to the realisation that greatness is not in the destiny of any of the Loman's. He shows Willy the pipe to reinforce his fallibility, and confronts his father and his brother to see their own flaws. Willy does not want to accept that his sons are as doomed as he is, and believes Biff is spiting him.
Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller