Death of a Salesman Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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in Death of a Salesman, Biff says that Willy "had the wrong dreams. All, all wrong." Was Biff's assessment right?

Biff's assessment that Willy had the wrong dreams was correct. Willy dreamed of getting rich quick through sales rather than developing his gifts through hard work and gaining expertise. His delusions about "easy money" left him unsuccessful and unfulfilled.

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Biff's assessment of his father's dreams is ultimately validated by the play at large. He argues his father's dreams were wrong because they were shallow, focusing only on a meaningless, empty idea of what a successful life should look like. For Willy Loman, success meant being liked by other people and being financially well-off, making Willy totally at the mercy of other people's validations of his behavior and life.

Personal happiness does not factor into this definition of success, making it hollow. Willy had no passion for salesmanship: he liked the image it gave him more than he liked actually doing the work. Biff notes that Willy seemed to enjoy doing work on the house more than selling products, suggesting Willy could have found happiness had he pursued a line of work closer to his own aptitudes and personality.

In the end, Biff rejects his father's notions of success and sets out to forge his own unconventional path, while his brother Happy is seduced by the same warped idea of...

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