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Death of a Salesman

Soliloquy: Biff Speaks

This soliloquy would best fit right after Biff Loman tries to speak to Bill Oliver, only to realize to himself that he wasn’t ever a salesman for him. This soliloquy would help readers to understand Biff’s thought process, how he went from being Willy’s best pal to his estranged son.

(Biff walks out the front door of a large business, all in a huff.)

Biff: Oh God…Jeezus, the man didn’t even know me, didn’t even have the faintest recognition of me! Where did I ever get the idea that I sold for the man, much less knew him? Dad always assured me that if I kept selling…that’s it! Dad… I was never a salesman, Dad just kept exaggerating my accomplishments. Every family gathering, every meal, every little chance encounter with a business man, Dad would add on to my life, until finally I became a salesman, and not the embarrassment I really am. What an ordeal you had to go through, Dad. Having such a hack son, how did you ever manage? No college, no business, just a damn football trophy and some emblazoned sneakers. There’s no good in what he does anyway. Thirty years running up and down New England and where is he now? Living in a busted house with two grown sons and a commission that couldn’t put bread on a pygmy table. For all his bravado and “American Spirit,” he hasn’t done any good for anyone, and now his boss’ son is his boss. The world’s passing him by, and he’s not even on the top looking down. He’s right back in the circle with the rest of the rats, trying to cross the finish line with broken legs. I suppose he thought that I would be his crowning achievement, a star athlete and a businessman. Is that really the most life has to offer?  A big office and a company car? People were better off without cities and streets. What good is the hot concrete when all I want to do is work like a pioneer, trudging out through the wilderness, wind in my hair and dirt in my nails, and when you look up you’ve got the whole sky for company, and the birds and animals too. What a life. And Dad would’ve had it too, if he just went up to Alaska with his dad, or even to Africa with his brother Bernard. That is, if Bernard even existed. I don’t know what to believe from him anymore. He’s a great salesman, who incidentally cheated on his loyal wife and is too proud to accept a job, but not too proud to take money from a neighbor. Sure, his brother was a rich explorer of Africa. Why not? He might as well pretend that he’s something more important than he is, a traveling salesman with debts, faltering eyes, and a lot of pride, just enough to cover the shame. No, Dad, I’m not like you. I tried and I failed, but I’m not stubborn enough to keep going on a career path laid with bricks of regret, pride, and fantasy. It’s an uneven path to say the least, and I was bound to stumble on it just as you have.

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