In Death of a Salesman, why does Biff run out of the chop house?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Biff meets his father and brother in the restaurant after his humiliating encounter with Bill Oliver. Their dinner dissolves into disaster because of Willy's growing mental and emotional instability. When Willy leaves the table, Biff tries to discuss openly with Happy their father's serious condition, despite the presence of the girls at the table that Happy has picked up.

Biff appeals to his brother to help Willy, asking if he cares for their father at all. "Don't you give a damn for him, Hap?" He shows Happy the hose found in Willy's basement, a sign that he is clearly considering suicide. Biff begs his brother to help Willy: "You could help him--I can't . . . He's going to kill himself, don't you know that?"

Happy deflects what Biff is saying, assuming a selfish and defensive attitude. Giving up, Biff makes one final emotional appeal to his brother: Hap, help him! Jesus . . . help him . . . Help me, help me. I can't bear to look at his face!" Biff then runs from the restaurant in despair and frustration, close to weeping.



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Death of a Salesman

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