What are the similarities and differences between Biff and Happy Loman in "Death of a Salesman"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Biff and Happy are both "lost," according to Arthur Miller. They are living at a time when white males have all the advantages and the country is prosperous after the end of World War II; yet they have no sense of direction, no ambition, no prospects. 

Early in the play, Arthur Miller provides a description of Biff and Happy Loman in which he compares and contrasts the brothers. They first appear when they are upstairs in the bedroom they shared as kids.

Biff is two years older than his brother Happy, well built, but in these days bears a worn air and seems less self-assured. He has succeeded less, and his dreams are stronger and less acceptable than Happy's. Happy is tall, powerfully made. Sexuality is like a visible color on him, or a scent that many women have discovered. He, like his brother, is lost, but in a different way, for he has never allowed himself to turn his face toward defeat and is thus more confused and hard-skinned, although seemingly more content.

Note that Miller...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 745 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team