Many literary works are composed of a variety of characters that differ in various ways. Novels commonly consist of an ensemble of personalities. If two pieces are compared to one another it becomes obvious that certain roles overlap. Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesmen and Eugene O'Neil's Long Day's Journey into Night have characters in their casts that share behaviors. Biff Loman and Jamie Tyrone deal with life in very comparable manners. Although Biff and Jamie do have some differences they are very similar in personal behaviors. They were both alcoholics, womanized, and fled from past experiences.
Biff Loman required strength to carry on his daily duties and alcohol proved to be his support post. Every time a problem surfaced the instant solution would be liquor. Biff refused to take control of his own life. He simply let a substance cloud his path to the future. Jamie Tyrone used alcohol as an escape from the past.
When Jamie was under the influence nothing mattered and he could let the past go. Alcohol was always present to offer aid in the situation. In both cases the family members almost accepted the alcoholism and believed that the boys could not be saved.
Jamie believed affection to be an essential part of human life. His family looked upon him as one whom was not capable of caring or thought. He was a failure and his family had given up on any hope of him succeeding. Jamie ran to women for a sense of belonging and to make him feel worthy of love. Jamie could not control the feelings of others so instead of building healthy relationships with those who mattered he simply strove for temporary comfort and pleasure. Biff sought accomplishment and to have a sense of confidence. He tried to become a success in business but could never find solid ground. When dealing with members of the opposite sex Biff was always master of his domain. Biff and his tales of wonderful exploits impressed women. Biff truly believed that these women looked up to him and admired his status.
Biff and Jamie were both looked upon as failures and sons whom had let their parents down. Willie Loman believed Biff to be a great son who could do no wrong. As Biff grew up and actual responsibility was placed upon him he did not measure up. Rather than accepting the past and trying to improve upon himself, Biff simply told himself that he had not found what he was looking for. Jamie continuously ran from his mother's drug use. He refused to acknowledge the morphine's triumphant return and stifles the conversation when it veered towards the subject. They both refused to grow and learn from past experiences.
Jamie and Biff both appeared at first glance to be strong and supportive men but in reality they were both shells of human beings. They shared many personality traits and ran from problems in the same manner. An audience analyzing these characters could make many connections between these two males. Similar connections can be found in a wide variety of literary works.