In the conclusion of Death of a Salesman, why is Biff more determined to tell Willy the truth about himself now than he was in the chop house?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After leaving Willy alone in the restaurant, Biff and Happy return home to find their mother furious with them and their behavior. Linda has finally had enough of both of them. She orders them to leave the house and not return. Biff goes outside, where Willy is trying to plant a garden in the dark, to say goodbye. He wants peace between them, instead of leaving home after a fight as he always had. Biff has given up trying to make Willy understand what kind of man Biff knows himself to be.

Willy, however, cannot let their differences go. Back inside the house, he refuses to shake Biff's hand, curses him, and accuses him of being spiteful. Willy says he will not take responsibility for Biff's leaving.

When the argument deteriorates, Biff calls his father a "phony" and lays the rubber hose on the table between them, thus forcing the family to face what Willy is contemplating. Biff makes one last effort to make Willy face the truth and resolve a lifetime of issues between them. He tells his father, "We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!" Biff tries one last time to make Willy understand Biff's life and character in an effort to save his father's life.

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Death of a Salesman

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