In the Death of a Salesman what is one of the characteristics of Linda that can be observed from the play?  

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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In Arthur Miller's play Death of a Salesman the character of Linda Loman is meant to represent a kind of foil, or opposite, of her husband, Willy.

While Willy is a man whose dreams dominate his actions, Linda is his anchor. The woman who remains in the same exact place expecting Willy, and accepting Willy for who he is. So much she supports Willy that she even goes out of her way to defend him:

LINDA: Then make Charley your father, Biff. You can’t do that, can you? I don’t say he’s a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person....

Willy is also a man whose only quest is for the superficiality of things: Whatever looks good is good enough for him. One must be well-liked and attractive to "make it". Your children must be popular and overwhelming to be "it". Linda, however, remains in the back of the scene and simply witnesses everything, being the foundation upon which all the dysfunctional activity of the men of the family continues to fall.

This being said, it should suffice to say that, above everything, Linda is an extremely submissive person. She is submissive because she allows herself to have a very passive role in her own household. The men in her home, her sons and her husband, basically take the lead in everything that goes on. Willy pretty much takes it upon himself to instill a system of values, albeit bad ones, in his children while Linda, again, watches from the sidelines.

Even when Willy dies we see men surrounding Linda, her sons and Charley, while she remains oblivious as tho why nobody shows up at the funeral.

All of this demonstrates that Linda is a woman with very little initiative but with a huge amount of will and patience. Perhaps she is simply a symptom of her time:  An individual born and raised to be just that- a mother and a wife. Hence, with this role to fulfill Linda has unfortunately confused being a woman with being an object that is meant to spill out nurture and love. Linda is certainly quite used by her family: As a rock, and as a support system. Yet, Linda never gets her worth in appreciation, nor does she get much support in return. Linda is Willy's anchor until the end, and the shadow of her husband's overwhelming presence.


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