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Compare and contrast Biff and Happy in "Death of a Salesman."

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gocrazy54 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 29, 2008 at 5:18 AM via web

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Compare and contrast Biff and Happy in "Death of a Salesman."

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reidalot | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:02 AM (Answer #1)

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There is little comparison between the two except that they are, indeed, brothers, products of Willy Loman's lost dream. On a literal level, Happy represents just that, happy, a shallow, fleeting emotion. Even at the end of the play, he still believes in Willy's dream; "I'm going to beat this racket" (Requiem). Biff has tried to be what his father wanted him to be - the successful salesman, yet he realizes the emptiness of the dream and wants to leave the city to be in touch with something real, the land. You could say that both sons are symbolic of the two sides of their father's, Willy's, personality. Happy is Willy the salesman, "riding on a smile and a shoeshine." Biff is the inner Willy, the one who realizes the dream is empty; a man has to create or make something with his own two hands to be successful.

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