Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Biff Loman Quotes
BIFF [to Happy]: The man don’t know who we are! The man is gonna know! [To Willy]: We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!
HAPPY: We always told the truth!
BIFF [turning on him]: You big blow, are you the assistant buyer? You’re one of the two assistants to the assistant aren’t you?
HAPPY: We’ll I’m practically—
BIFF: You’re practically full of it! We all are! And I’m through with it. [To Willy]: Now hear this Willy, this is me. (Act 2)
Biff desperately struggles to demand truth amid the chronic deception that his family maintains. He takes a stand against all the lies, leading to tragic consequences.
BIFF: Let’s talk quietly and get down to the facts, huh?
WILLY [as though Biff had been interrupting]: Well, what’s happened? It’s great news, Biff. Did he take you into his office or’d you talk in the waiting room?
BIFF: Well he came in, see, and—
WILLY [with a big smile]: What’d he say? Betcha he threw his arm around you.
BIFF: Well, he kinda—
WILLY: He’s a fine man. [To Happy] Very hard man to see, y’know.
HAPPY [agreeing]: Oh, I know.
WILLY [to Biff]: Is that where you had the drinks?
BIFF: Yeah, he gave me a couple of—no, no!
HAPPY [cutting in]: He told him my Florida idea. (Act 2)
Between Willy's ceaseless interjections and Happy's lies on his behalf, Biff begins to fall back into the family's cycle of deception. Before long, though, reality is bound to break through.
BIFF: He walked away. I saw him for one minute. I got so mad I could’ve torn the walls down! How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I’d been a salesman for him! And then he gave me one look and—I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been. We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk. (Act 2)
Biff is angry not at having deceived others, but at having deceived himself. The humiliation at Oliver's office is a breaking point for him. After this experience, he seems determined to not deceive himself again.