Which scenes would be best to explain how Linda is portrayed as a tragic figure in "Death of a Salesman"?  I need help at completing my essay question which is  How far is Linda portrayed as a...

Which scenes would be best to explain how Linda is portrayed as a tragic figure in "Death of a Salesman"?  

I need help at completing my essay question which is  How far is Linda portrayed as a tragic figure in Death of a Salesman?

But all i want to know is which scenes would be the best to include in my essay and quotations.

Asked on by victoria7

3 Answers | Add Yours

mshurn's profile pic

Susan Hurn | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Linda's life might be considered a tragedy if you consider that she is a good person who tries very hard to do what she believes is right for her family, but she has a flaw in her character. She does not face reality and deal with it in an attempt to solve problems. Instead, she lies to Willy in her efforts to hold him together, and she continually tries to make her sons treat their father with respect and love, an impossible task. Linda tries to hold her family together the only way she knows how, but with tragic results.

One scene that really reflects this is the one in which she shows the boys the rubber tubing she has found in the basement. She knows that Willy is contemplating suicide, and she begs her sons for help in saving his life. Her desperation and their reactions are very revealing.

Another scene to consider is the final scene of the play when Linda delivers her closing speech at the cemetery. Linda says, quite honestly, that she can't understand why Willy has killed himself:

Why did you do it? I search and search and I search, and I can't understand it, Willy.

Linda has every reason to understand Willy's suicide, but she still can't face the reality of what his life had been.

timbrady's profile pic

timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I would have to say that there aren't any.  There is a great deal to admire about Linda (and most of Miller's women).  The only decision that I see her making that might be considered tragic is the ongoing decision to stay with Willy, but she didn't have all that many options both at that time and in their economic position. Of course, if you use Miller's definition from "Tragedy and the Common Man," then perhaps she qualifies because of her stuggle for meaning, but I don't think the classical definition covers her situation.

epollock's profile pic

epollock | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

I would have to agree with Post #1 that Linda is not a tragic figure at all.  She comes across as a loving and supportive wife and mother. Linda's response to Willy that "he makes mountains out of molehills" revealingg that she wants to have a calming effect on everyone. Linda also replies to Willy that "life is a casting off"  intending to comfort Willy.

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