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The Power Of Women In Death Of A Salesman

860 words - 3 pages

In the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, there are several female characters. Linda Loman is a loyal and nurturing wife and mother and is the person who holds the family together. The other women in the play are wanton and pull the Loman family apart. Both types of women in the play hold a position of power over the pitiful men, whether it is as a matriarch or a whore. Willy, Biff, and Happy Loman all have a common weakness: lack of self-control. Willy had an affair with a woman when he was younger, sleeping with secretaries that could help him make sales to their bosses. Biff “stole [himself] out of every good job since high school” (131). Happy sleeps with his bosses’ wives because he cannot advance in his profession and taking his bosses’ wives’ loyalty away from them is the only thing that brings him satisfaction. This senselessness that afflicts the Loman men renders them all unhappy and poor. Linda however, remains rational throughout the social and economic insecurity in her life. The other women too, never fail to manipulate the men into a puppet-like state. The ability to remain rational and manipulate others renders the female characters in Death of a Salesman more powerful than the male characters, despite the patriarchal demeanour of the play.

Linda loves Willy unconditionally. As Willy’s mental health becomes more and more unstable, he becomes more irritable. No matter how abusive Willy behaves toward Linda, she never gets angry or allows Willy to become aware that he is losing his mind. Whereas Willy and his sons lack self-control, Linda proves to have an abundance of it by remaining calm during Willy’s fits of his inferiority complex. Although Willy does not admit it, he knows that he has failed to achieve the American Dream of becoming successful and well-liked. This subconscious realization causes Willy to overexert the little power he does have as the head of his household. When Willy repeatedly Linda to stop talking and Biff told Willy to stop yelling at her, Willy replied, “What’re you, takin’ over this house?” (65). Linda knows how important power is to Willy and sees that if Willy realized that in losing his mind he would lose his power, he would lose everything that he has. Early on, Willy describes how he kept drifting off of the road, Linda tries to convince Willy that “[m]aybe it was the steering again” (13), or “maybe it’s [his] glasses” (13). In order to save Willy the...

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