The True Role of Women in Death of a Salesman

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The women in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman are often considered to play a supportive role for the main characters. Linda Loman is the lead female character for the play and from the beginning we see nothing but her unwavering loyalty and support towards her husband. She seems genuinely concerned of her husband’s well-being and is ready to ease him of even the slightest discomforts despite Willy’s rude behavior. Linda does everything in her power to make sure that nothing comes in way of Willy’s self-esteem. Though some may interpret this behaviour as common for a loving wife to exhibit, it is quite clear that this is exactly the kind of behavior that prevents the men in the play from achieving success. Linda and the other limited number of females in the play fill the men in the play with a false sense of confidence and this is the very act that causes the men to deteriorate from their main goals in life. The women in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman do not play a supportive role: Willy’s downfall, Biff’s downfall and Bernard’s success can all be linked back to the excessive support of the women in the play or the lack thereof. Willy Loman’s downfall is directly linked to the excessive support and inflation he receives from his wife and the mistress. Throughout the entirety of the play, we see Linda’s devotion to her husband and her inability to find any fault in Willy. This blind devotion plays a key role in Willy’s inevitable downfall. Willy Loman seems to have misinterpreted the American Dream. He thinks that in order to lead a luxurious and successful life, a man needs to be well-liked by the people around him. As Willy later realizes, this is not true at all and learns that success can only be achieved through hard work. Willy’s tainted understanding of the American Dream is further encouraged by Linda’s ignorance. Linda believes that “Life is a

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