Biff Loman
Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Biff Loman

Death of a Salesman

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About Him

Grew Up… a high school football star. Everyone said Biff had a lot of potential as an athlete, in college or even the pros. Unfortunately, he flunked math during his last year of high school, and then he dropped out of summer school when he caught his father cheating on his mother in Boston. The decision to drop out of school changed his life, perhaps forever.

Living… in a family crisis. He has returned home to find his father Willy a nervous wreck. Biff is still on the fence regarding his future career. He’s 34 years old, but still has the opportunity to decide his path in life. He’s torn between following in the footsteps of his father and becoming the salesman Willy always wanted him to be – or moving to the American West, where he can work as a farmhand and enjoy the life of the great outdoors.

Profession… pending. Biff is best with his hands, a born craftsman. However, he’s also a natural salesman like his father. As Biff gets older, he becomes more pressed for time, and must soon make a final decision in terms of a “profession.”

Interests… farm work, and making his father proud.

Relationship Status… single. He’s unsure if he wants to commit to a relationship at this point, just like his uncertainty for his future in general.

Challenge… choosing a career. Or, more appropriately, being true to himself and becoming a farmhand. There’s no question that office work is not his calling, and that becoming a salesman would be sacrificing his life just to make his father happy. Biff complains, “What am I doing in an office, making a contemptuous, begging fool of myself, when all I want is out there, waiting for me the minute I say I know who I am!”

Personality… conflicted, but more mature than he might seem. Biff is a good son, or at least he tries to be, constantly trying to live up to his father’s expectations. At the same time, returning home is a huge jolt to the sensitive Biff. He says, “I've always made a point of not wasting my life, and every time I come back here I know that all I've done is to waste my life.”

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