How does Arthur Miller portray women in Death of a Salesman?

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The portrayal of women in Death of a Salesman is quite conventional, in keeping with the standards of the time. Linda Loman, Willy's long-suffering wife, is a dutiful, loving woman, utterly devoted to making her husband's home life as agreeable as possible. In the regular arguments that break out between Willy and Biff, she invariably takes her husband's side. But then, she doesn't know the full story behind their falling out.

Linda's relative weakness and submission serve to perpetuate the delusional fantasy world that Willy's constructed for himself. She never questions Willy's idealized self-image as a hotshot salesman, which merely encourages him in his delusions. In some ways, Linda's unwillingness to challenge Willy leads to his sad demise. Perhaps if she'd been stronger and more forceful she might have been able to get Willy to wake up to the reality of his life and make changes before it was too late. But she didn't. Linda's trapped by her own delusion, the delusion that a wife has to be there to support her husband come what may, even if it's frighteningly obvious that his actions are damaging himself and those around him.

As well as dutiful, submissive housewives, women are portrayed in the play as little more than glittering trinkets designed to bolster a man's masculine image. Willy's affair with a secretary is presented as a perk of the job, a salesman's just reward after many long, hard hours spent out on the road. As in the case of Linda, this portrayal could be interpreted as a critique of how contemporary society views women as existing solely for the benefit of pleasing men in some form or another. To some extent, both Linda and the secretary unwittingly perpetuate male fantasies of what a woman should be. In that sense, women in Death of a Salesman enjoy a full share of the man's world in which they live; but crucially that world is an unreal world, a world of fantasy and delusion.

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In Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" the women that somewhat help drive the plot are Linda, Willy's husband, and Willy's mistress.

Both women are given submissive roles: They both depend on Willy for something. Linda depends on Willy because she lives in a time and place where women were subservient to their husbands. Linda has to endure the dysfunctional nature of her family by pretending that Willy (in his current state, as an old man going nearly insane) is fine and that all he needs is more support.

On the other hand, Willy's mistress also depends on Willy for her stockings, and all the other items that Willy more than likely provides for her in his never-ending chauvinistic egotism. Nevertheless, the mistress is who severes completely the ties between Willy and Biff.

Other than that, the other women that we learn about are the girls that Happy picks up at the restaurant. Both Biff and Happy leave Willy alone ranting at the restaurant in order to go spend sometime with the girls. We know that Happy is completely chauvinistic and treats women as whores. Biff is no different. Therefore, both sons take from their father.

Concisely, women are objects in "Death of a Salesman". They are objects of affection, of support, of destruction, of passion, and of pain. However, they seem to be just that. Mere objects.

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