The audience are first introduced to the Loman brothers as they are staying at their parents home in Brooklyn. The brothers are woken by their father, and begin an incredibly deep conversation concerning their lives. This conversation reveals a lot about Biff and Happy and their outlook on life.
Firstly, an immediate contrast is made in how the pair treat women. Happy has an incredibly degrading attitude, in which he thinks that he is entitled to any women that he wants, despite being aware that they are engaged to executives at his work.Not only this, he claims that he doesn’t “want the girl, and, still, I take it”. Firstly, the fact that he cannot address the woman by her name, and instead “it” shows how little he thinks of women and how they are made to feel by being given the false hope of being “wanted” by this womanizing character. Biff and Happy remember when they were young, and Happy refers to his “first time” as a “pig”. This accentuates how little respect he has for women, and how he judges them on merely their looks.Biff, on the other hand, seems to feel differently to Happy, ignoring his derogatory comments and admitting, “I’d like to find a girl – steady, somebody with substance”.
He clearly used to have the same tendencies with women, as he “taught” Happy everything he knows about women. However, Biff has clearly matured and grown out of his phase of seeking women as if it was a sport, as his brother still does. A similarity between Biff and Happy are that they are both concerned for their father’s recent behaviour, and discuss things that they have both noticed about him.Happy tells Biff that he is “getting nervous about im”. Despite having their differences with their father, they both care a lot for him and can immediately notice when he begins to act differently. Biff is also clearly concerned about his mother and how she is coping. When Willy is talking to himself, he is (growing angry) and asks rhetorically “Doesn’t he know Mom can hear that? ” This portrays how Biff seeks to protect his mother.
On the other hand, it seems that Happy seems to care more about his fathers opinions then Biff, as he tells Biff that “I wish you’d have a talk with him”. He does not like the conflict between his brother and his father, and perhaps believes that this conflict is what is making him act strangely. Biff on the other hand, see’s his how his father is behaving as “selfish” and “stupid”. He is still frustrated with the conversation between him and his father, concerning Biffs’ future plans (or lack of them).During Willy’s mobile concurrency, Biff and Willy are seen in their youth. Here, it is shown that Happy is often over shadowed by his older brother Biff and ignored by his parents. As a result of growing up in Biff’s shadow, Happy is always striving for Willy’s attention, but has never really got it.
This is shown when the young Happy is repeatedly tells his father, “I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop? ” Willy brushes Happy off here, and this hint of favouritism may be why Happy feels that he should aim to be in a job like his fathers to impress him, whereas Biff does not.
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