Death of a Salesman by A. Miller Review

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Death of a salesman, written by Arthur Miller, exposes the real life of a typical American middle-class man who dedicates the most part of his life to a private company. The major themes of Miller’s Death of a salesman are the failure of American success myth and reality versus illusion. The central character in the play, Willy Loman, and his wife Linda fail to understand the real pulse of society. Arthur Miller portrays the character of Linda Loman as the most inscrutable and complex one in the play Death of a Salesman. Analyzing Arthur Miller’s play ‘Death of a Salesman’ one can see that the female characters, especially Linda, play a significant role and they create questions against the subjugated life of the middle-class American women.

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In this play, Linda plays the role of a lovable and responsible wife who tries to hide the truth for the protection of her husband. One can see that Linda embraces the whole family together by encouraging her husband. Miller demonstrates the character of Linda as not so self-reliant or self-governed. Linda shows her willingness to be a devoted and hardworking wife who always tries to hold her family together through sufferings and desires. Linda and other female characters in the play become visible to acquire limited vision and they are sheltered in the domestic role of resourceful wife and faithful supporter of the male dominating culture. Linda always keeps a positive relationship with her husband Willy and her compliments often act as a sole source of motivation. Analyzing the play, a reader can easily understand that she is the only person who sincerely believes in Willy Loman. Linda is very truthful and responsible to Willy. Linda knows her husband’s financial problems and she gives consolation and moral support to her beloved husband. It is crystal clear Linda embraces the family together by supporting her husband. She never tried criticizing her husband and her personality subjugated the shadows of Willy Loman’s character. Eric J. Sterling remarks; “Linda has been described as a flawed, even sinister, character in her own right” (Sterling 12). Linda keeps love and respect towards her two sons Biff and Happy and she shows her deep sorrow in her elder son’s misfortune. She often complains about her sons’ misbehavior towards their father. She reveals her serious concern over Biff’s poor academic performance, growing violence, and misbehavior. Linda shows obedience and submissiveness towards her husband Willy. Miller presents Linda as not a strong character, but she plays a crucial role. She proves that she is a responsible mother and a loving wife and this is her positive quality. It is this ability that makes her capable of keeping the bond of familial relations, though she is well aware of the real issues haunting her husband and son. One of the major drawbacks in Linda’s nature is her passion for her husband. The online article entitled Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller-1949 helps the reader to understand the weakness of Linda’s character. It remarks; “Yet, she is terribly guilty of allowing Willy to live in his world of illusion” (Arthur 7). Linda’s support and compliments help Willy to hide his fault from others and tries to hide his illegal relationship with a prostitute.

Both Biff and Happy keep a positive and lovable perceptive towards their mother Linda. Willy treats his wife as a lovable creature and receives her as a source of inspiration. Willy reveals all his secrets and problems to his wife Linda, and as a result of this Linda knows the reason for Biff’s misfortune. In the concluding part of the play, one can see a change in Happy’s attitudes towards his mother. Both Biff and Happy often show their anger through their words to Linda. But, they never hate their mother and through their aggressive nature, they show their feelings against their father. After a detailed analysis of the play Death of a Salesman, a reader can see that Linda’s character does not appear to change much. She plays a perfect wife and a responsible mother and eventually leads to the collapse of her husband. Even though Linda does not show a notable change in her nature, in the concluding part of the play she reveals her over-submissiveness towards her husband. Bill Johnson argues that; “When Biff and Happy join Linda, the conversation soon turns to an ultimatum from Linda to Biff: that he either respect his father or leave and not come back” (Johnson). After the realization of the truth about her husband, Linda often shows her aggressive nature towards her sons. Even though Linda is responsible for her husband’s downfall, the audience or readers keep sympathy towards her character. A detailed analysis of the relationship between Linda and the protagonist will categorize her as a loving wife and Willy in turn considers her as caring and wonderful. Linda overcomes her weaknesses through her responsible nature as a mother and a lovable wife.

Conclusion

To conclude, Arthur Miller portrays Linda as a lovable and responsible wife in his play Death of a Salesman. A reader can understand that she conceals the truth in order to hold the family together and protect its master from heartbreak. Although Linda knows that her husband is distressed, she persuades him to believe he is flourishing and admired. So, Linda’s character is minor but crucial. Thus, the study leads to the conclusion that the female characters in Death of a Salesman are significant and they create questions against the subjugated life of middle-class American women.

References

Aurther, Miller. Death of a sales man. Pink Monkey.com, 1949. 1-10. Web.

Johnson, Bill. Death of a salesman: The process of framing questions. Storyspromise, 2007. Web.

Sterling, J Eric. Arthur miller’s death of a salesman. Rodopi, 3. 2008. 1-185. Web.

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