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Death of a Salesman - Feminist Perspective

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While in today's society, women play a significant role, such equality has not always existed. In 1948, when Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller was written, the role of women in society was quite different. The main female character, Linda Loman, is a typical 1940's housewife. She loves her husband Willy Loman unconditionally even though he does not treat her with the respect she well deserves. Women in modern times would not be as passive as Linda Loman because that kind of treatment towards women is now considered old-fashioned and it is frowned upon. If a feminist were to critique Death of a Salesman, they would be infuriated by the way Willy treats his wife and would be equally upset by Linda's passive attitude towards her husband's mistreatment of her.

Although Willy may think of his wife as a useless woman who is incapable of understanding his struggles, a feminist would see Linda, though she may be quiet, as the emotional core of her family. She stands by her husband through all of his failed attempts to achieve the American Dream and through all of that. Willy constantly hushes her whenever she tries to contribute her two cents into a conversation. "BIFF: I'll see Oliver tomorrow. Hap if we could work that out . . . LINDA: Maybe things are beginning to- WILLY, to Linda: Stop interrupting! To Biff: But don't wear sport jacket and slacks when you see Oliver" (Miller 64). Willy will not even hear what Linda has to say and continues his conversation as if she was not even in the room. She seems to be the only emotionally stable character. Linda, being such a caring and loving person, deserves better respect from her husband than she ever receives.

Linda's feeling of love toward Willy is evident throughout the play. She encourages her sons to treat their father with more respect, even though he has not been the best husband to her. Even their children notice how their father mistreats their mother. At one point, Biff furiously yells at his father, "Stop yelling at her!" (Miller 65). Telling someone to "shut up" is disrespectful and rude. Biff did the right thing in telling his father to stop. Linda's personality when dealing with Biff and happy comes off as stern, resolute and confident, but when she talks to Willy, it is as if she timidly treads on ice. She strives to avoid confrontation within her family and her nature is to be the kind of person who mends things all, whether that means mending the relationship between herself and Willy, or Biff and Willy, or even mending a pair of her stockings. Any woman would be devastated to find out that their husbands have been unfaithful, but it seems that if Linda had become aware of her husband's affair, it would have upset her especially. Willy has entire affair with Linda being totally in the dark and unaware of her husband's infidelity. Linda is the core of emotional stability in her household



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