Feelings of Shame and Guilt cause Biff and Willy Loman to have identity crises

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Feelings of Shame and Guilt cause Biff and Willy Loman to have identity crises by Mind Map: Feelings of Shame and Guilt cause Biff and Willy Loman to have identity crises

1. Biff Loman conquers his shame and guilt and is able to form an identity.

1.1. "Because I know he's a fake and he doesn't like anybody around who knows! (1310)"

1.1.1. Biff figures out that his father is a fake after he catches him cheating on his mom. Shows the delusion that everyone is living under except for Biff.

1.2. "Well, just that when he came back---I'll never forget this, it always mystifies me... (1327)"

1.2.1. Shows Biff's reaction to catching his dad cheating on his mom. Caused him to start feeling angry, shameful and made him run away.

1.3. "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 (1333).

1.3.1. Biff is finally able to start breaking through his shame and the wall of lies Willy has put up around his family in order to maintain his fragile self-image and esteem.

1.4. "Listen, kid, I took those balls years ago, now I walk in with his fountain pen? That clinches it, don't you see? I can't face him like that! I'll try elsewhere." "Don't take it that way! You think it was easy walking into that office after what I'd done to him? A team of horses couldn't have dragged me back to Bill Oliver! (1337)"

1.4.1. Biff feels extremely guilty for stealing things from Oliver because of the shame he feels for not living up to his father's expectations. Even though he knows that his father is a fake, he's still trying to make him happy and become the man that his father expects him to.

1.5. "Never mind." "Never mind! He's going to give you those points. I'll see to it." "He wouldn't listen to you (1340-1341)."

1.5.1. After finding out about the affair, Biff has become disillusioned and no longer views his dad as "God like." He's finally able to realize that his dad can do wrong thing and that he's a fake.

1.6. "I stole myself out of every good job since high school!" "And I never got anywhere because you blew me so full of hot air I could never stand taking orders from anybody! That's whose fault it is! (1346)"

1.6.1. Biff reveals that the shame he feels from not being able to live up to his father's expectations caused him to start compulsively stealing things, which causes him to feel guilty for what he's done.

1.7. "No! Nobody's hanging himself, Willy! I ran down eleven flights with a pen in my hand today... (1346) "Pop! I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you! (1347)" "I am not a leader of men, Willy, and neither are you... (1347)" "Will you let me go, for Christ's sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens? (1347)"

1.7.1. Biff is finally able to be honest with himself and his father after he stole Bill Oliver's fountain pen and was able to confront his guilt and shame. He asks his father to burn his phoney dream as a plea to Willy to let himself free from his misguided dreams.

1.8. "There were a lot of nice days..." "He had the wrong dreams, All, all, wrong." "He never knew who he was (1349)."

1.8.1. Biff shows that he is the only one who understands that his father had no idea who he was. He reveals that his father was happiest when he was working with his hands. Biff's empathy upsets others around him.

2. Willy Loman continually denies his feelings of shame and guilt and because of that, he never forms a stable identity and commits suicide.

2.1. "Me? You didn't make me, Willy. I picked you (1300)."

2.1.1. Willy has an affair with "the Woman" because she makes him feel important and powerful.

2.2. "I won't have you mending stockings in this house! Now throw them out! (1301)" "Will you stop mending stockings? At least while I'm in the house. It gets me nervous. I can't tell you. Please (1318)."

2.2.1. Willy gave "the Woman" stockings, Linda's stockings, and now he can't see them without feeling ashamed and guilty.

2.3. "...I never had a chance to talk to him [dad] and I still feel---kind of temporary about myself." "Because sometimes I'm afraid that I'm not teaching them the right kind of---Bed, how should I teach them? (1307)"

2.3.1. Willy doesn't know who he is due to his father leaving at a young age. His brother Ben becomes the only man he can look up to and begins to idolize him.

2.4. "Sure, sure. I am building something with this firm, Ben, and if a man is building something he must be on the right track, mustn't he?" "What are you building? Lay your hand on it. Where is it?" "That's true, Linda, there's nothing (1323)."

2.4.1. Shows the conflict and constant struggle between being a salesman and actually building/doing things with your hands. Willy desperately wants to have something he can touch and show people.

2.5. "I---I can't work for you, Charley." "What're you, jealous of me?" "I can't work for you, that's all, don't ask me why (1329)."

2.5.1. Willy is too ashamed to have to take a job or "hand out" from his friend. It conflicts with his misguided idea of what a man is. Shows that Willy is still not confronting his shame.

2.6. "Oh Ben, that's the whole beauty of it! I see it like a diamond, shining in the dark, hard and rough, that I can pick up and touch in my hand...(1344)"

2.6.1. Willy discusses with his memory of Ben, the idea of committing suicide and give his life insurance of $20,000 to his family. He thinks that this will show Biff that he's something. He believes that everyone he's sold things to during his travels will come to his funeral.

2.7. "Isn't that---isn't that remarkable? Biff---he likes me!" "Oh, Biff! He cried! Cried to me. That boy---that boy is going to be magnificent! (1347)"

2.7.1. Willy interprets Biff crying as his way of showing Willy that he likes him. This delusions helps him keep up the false image he has in his head that he's well-liked by everyone.

2.8. "Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars in his pocket?" "Did you see how he cried to me? Oh, if I could kiss him, Ben!"

2.8.1. Willy finally decides to commit suicide after coming to the realization that his son loves him. This causes him to want to preserve the false image he has of himself; meaning he wants to die thinking that he's well-liked and a great salesman. He also wants to show Biff that he's something special.