What evidence do we get of Happy sharing some Willy's less attractive qualities? In particular, lying and exaggeration?

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jseligmann eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Happy is also a womanizer. Here it is in his own words:

...You’re gonna call me a bastard when I tell you this. That girl Charlotte I was with tonight is engaged to bemarried in five weeks.

BIFF: No kiddin’!

HAPPY: Sure, the guy’s in line for the vice-presidency of the store. I don’t know what gets into me, maybe I just have an overdeveloped sense of competition or something, but I went and ruined her, and furthermore I can’t get rid of her. And he’s the third executive I’ve done that to. Isn’t that a crummy characteristic? And to top it all, I go to their weddings! (Indignantly,but laughing.) Like I’m not supposed to take bribes. Manufacturers offer me a hundred-dollar bill now and then to throw an order their way. You know how honest I am, but it’s like this girl, see. I hate myself for it. Because I don’t want the girl, and still, I take it and — I love it!

So, he knows what he is doing is base, but he does it anyway. He can't move up in his job, so he sleeps with executives' fiances. And he also manages to mention to Biff that he takes bribes.

Then, much later in the play, when Happy and Bilff are supposed to have this big dinner with their father, Happy seem far more interested in picking up women. He spots this lady, Miss Forsthythe and goes over to her. The first thing he says to her is a lie:

..excuse me, miss, do you mind? I sell champagne, and I’d like you to try my brand. Bring her a champagne, Stanley.

Then, when he introduces Biff to her, he lies and tells her that Biff is a quarterback for the New York Giants.

It's fitting and awful that Biff runs out of the restaurant and Happy follows him with the women they have picked up there, abandoning their cheating father who is babbling on the bathroom floor.. steeped in his memories of being caught with a woman by his favorite son.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The biggest evidence is found in the way that he describes what he does for a living. Happy Loman is an assistant to an assistant buyer, yet, he presents himself as an "assistant buyer", which is more pomp and circumstance than what he actually does.

He finds his self worth in trying to lay the fiancee's of the shop executives, and he is a sex addict whose only fulfillment is superficiality.

He is like a version of Willy because he was not expected to do anything. All hopes were in Biff, hence, when you grow up with a semi-delusional father and that is your role model, chances are you will turn out the same way.

mkcapen1 | Student

In Aruther Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" the writer has Happy reflect some of his father's negative qualities.  The fact that his name is Happy in the play serves as a symbol of the false existence of his life.  Happy is like his father in the sense that he does not recognize that he is just ordinary.  He works an ordinary job, but identifies himself as better than everyone else at his work.  He brags about accomplishments that are not real.  Happy is always trying to get his father’s attention just like Willy is trying to get the attention of those above him.  Happy even tries to show his father he is losing weight.  Happy also dreams up ideas that never follow through.  For example he dreams up the idea of he and Biff having a sporting goods store. 

Happy's biggest problem is that he lies to make things seem better than they really are.  He covers the reality of things in the home and with Biff so that life will seem Happy.  Even when Biff admits that he is just some guy who has been jailed for stealing and has been on the streets, Happy does not want him to tell his dad the truth.  He wants to continue in his lie.  Willy is like this as well.  He continues to cover up own business inadequencies.  He also chooses to believe that Biff is greater than he really is even after Biff explains his life to him.  Both men are the same way about this issue. 

Even in the end of the play during the Requiem, Happy can not let go of his father's dream.  He carries it for him when he says:

"All right, boy, I'm gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Lowman did not die in vain.  He had a good dream.  Its the only dream you can have-to come out number-one-man.  He fought it out here, and this is where I am gonna win it for him." (139)

Happy is unable to see that his father did die in vain and that in his job, he will never be number one andy more than his father could identify his low place.

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Death of a Salesman

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