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The Selfish Linda Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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The Selfish Linda Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Linda, a character from Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" is a selfish housewife. She pretends to care about her husband, but in reality, prefers that he kill himself so that she can live an easier life.

Linda is given nothing but motive for wanting her husband, Willy, to die because of the ways he mistreats her. For example, during a family conversation in Act I, Linda, trying to put in a few words, says, "Maybe things are beginning to change-," with Willy coming in right after her, "(wildly enthused, to Linda)Stop interrupting!..."(1187) Linda, trying desperately to be a part of the conversation, is constantly denied her voice. Always under Willy's control, Linda is treated as if she is allowed to speak when he gives her permission. In another conversation in Act I between Biff, Happy, and Linda, more evidence of Willy mistreating Linda is provided:

"Linda: It seems there's a woman...(She takes a breath as-)

Biff: (sharply but contained) What woman?

Linda: (simultaneously) ...and this woman...

Linda: What?

Biff: Nothing. I just said what woman."(1184)

During this conversation, Linda is introducing the idea to Biff and Happy that Willy's car accidents might not have been accidents. She is telling of a woman that was a witness to the wreck, but a twist comes into the conversation. It seems that Biff is quick on making an assumption about who the woman is, and Linda shows a suspicious tone to Biff's reply. This time implies that Linda is aware that Willy is unfaithful to her, providing another way he mistreats her. In Guerin Bliquez's essay over "Death of a Salesman", she states, "But betrayal exposes the basic dishonesty of th...

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...was helpful. She had a job of destruction and definitely helped Willy with his troubles. Helped him so much that eventually he committed suicide. Now she has the ability to say she married a successful man, maybe dead, but successful.

Works Cited:

Bliquez, Guerin. "Linda's Role in 'Death of a Salesman'," in Modern Drama, Vol. 10, No. 4, February, 1968, pp. 383-86. RPTD in Drama Criticism, Vol. 1. Gale Research Inc.. 1991. 322.

Dillingham, Wiliam B.. "Arthur Miller and the Loss of Conscience" in Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman. Penguin Group. 1967. 344.

Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman" in Literature, Reading, Reacting, Writing, Compact Fourth Edition. Harcourt, Inc.. 2000. 1187, 1184, 1221, 1229, & 1230.

Schlueter, June. Essay over "Death of a Salesman" in Arthur Miller-Criticism and Interpretation. The Ungar Publishing Company. 1987. 65.
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