In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, women play a crucial role in Willy’s life and in the lives of the other characters. While the roles themselves have not changed since the play was written, society’s opinion of these roles has changed greatly. When it was written, Miller’s representation of Linda was seen as a portrait of the ideal American wife. She was a nurturing wife and mother, loyal to her family, and almost overly supportive of her pitiful husband Willy. The other women in the play, however, were seen as “working women,” or women who care about money as opposed to emotional support.
This view has almost spun 180 degrees since the feminist movement rocked society. Critics rethought the role of women in society and in marriage (Murphy and Abbotson 6), and concluded that the women in the play are much more complex and powerful than earlier interpretations had given them credit for. Not only are the women a recreation for the men in the play, they can be seen as heavily influential on the lives of the men with whom they come into contact. Willy’s entire pathetic life could have been turned around if only Linda had encouraged him to follow Ben to Alaska rather than insisting the couple cling to the seemingly safe life they had begun to build. The secretaries, who at first glance seem to exist merely to perform such menial tasks as typing, actually are able to block Biff's and Willy's entrance to the offices of the powerful men who could advance their careers. (Stanton 131)
In addition to being far more powerful than early critics of the play recognized, the women in Death of a Salesman also are far more complex. Women are not simply good or bad - supportive wive...
... middle of paper ...
...Works Cited and Consulted:
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman. Harold Bloom, ed. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. 50th Anniversary ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1999.
Murphy, Brenda and Susan C. W. Abbotson. Understanding Death of a Salesman: A Student Handbook to Cases, Issues and Historical Documents. The Greenwood Press "Literature in Context" series, Claudia Durst Johnson, series editor. Westwood, CT, London: 1999.
Stanton, Kay. "Women in Death of a Salesman" Readings on Death of a Salesman. Ed. Thomas Siebold. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1999. 130-137.
Guth, Hans P. and Gabriel L. Rico. 1993. Discovering Literature. "Tragedy and the Common Man" by Arthur Miller. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Oakley, J. Ronald. God's Country: America in the Fifties. New York: Dembner Books, 1990. 245.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Crucial Role of Women in Death of a Salesman In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, women play a crucial role in Willy’s life and in the lives of the other characters. While the roles themselves have not changed since the play was written, society’s opinion of these roles has changed greatly. When it was written, Miller’s representation of Linda was seen as a portrait of the ideal American wife. She was a nurturing wife and mother, loyal to her family, and almost overly supportive of her pitiful husband Willy.... [tags: Arthur Miller]
2125 words (6.1 pages)
- The American Dream In Death of a Salesman, written by American playwright Arthur Miller, focuses on Biff’s relationship towards his father Willy Loman. He plays the role that drives most of Willy’s thoughts and actions, specifically his memories. Whenever Willy is not able to accept the present, he reverts to the past where Biff is usually nearby. Before Willy’s trip to Boston, Biff admired his father. He trusted and believed his philosophy that any person can be successful, provided that he is “well-liked”.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller]
1097 words (3.1 pages)
- “Death of a Salesman’s main character, Willy Loman, is an open book”, Wade Bradford states in his theatrical review of Arthur Miller 's play. It may be true that this is a tragedy about Willy Loman, a mediocre salesman for 34 years who refuses to accept reality. At 60, he is cast aside from society, his usefulness exhausted and as a result, Loman commits suicide. In reality, this is a story how the house of cards collapses if you constantly lie to yourself. From my perspective Willie Loman is not an open book.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, Life]
763 words (2.2 pages)
- In literature and in life, people endure events which are the effects from the relationships between a parent and their child. In Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller it is evident how the relationship between Willy and his sons creates the downfall of the dysfunctional Loman family. Miller depicts the possessiveness that exists in humans through Willy Loman. In the 1949 era to preserve a healthy household it was important for the father-son relationship to be strong. If conflicts were to arise in their relationship the entire family would collapse and fail.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Family, Son, Arthur Miller]
2078 words (5.9 pages)
- Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is a tragedy that recounts the journey of Willy Loman, a salesman in his sixties, who attempts, but fails to achieve success through his own approach by being popular and well-liked. Miller uses several motifs to develop his theme, which is that people who are suffering, but continue not to be mindful of their actions and ideals, and not adapt to the current situation, will continue to suffer. Willy’s idea of success and his stubbornness to this idea is revealed using the motif of popularity.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, Lee J. Cobb]
1083 words (3.1 pages)
- The American dream is comfort, motivation, reason, obsession, imprisonment and death. There are few that understand it and benefit. And others suffer from its unachievable promise. In the modern era God-controlled nobles are not the only who suffer from considerable flaws. When humans dedicate their lives to chase material objects they unwillingly play the role of a Loman, never a Great man. Every average individual may live twenty four hour long tragedies ripe with pity and fear. It is those very emotions on what “Death of a Salesman” empathizes with.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller, Tragedy, Drama]
1963 words (5.6 pages)
- In Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, there are many characters that act in both the past and present through the musings of Willy Loman, one of the main characters in the play. Because of this, the audience gains different perspectives on every character. This also illustrates brilliantly how all the characters influence each other’s stories. One of such characters emerges in the part of Bernard. Though this is a notably minor role, Bernard has, or potentially has, an important influence on Willy’s son Biff.... [tags: perspective, characters, past, role]
616 words (1.8 pages)
- Illusion Verses Reality in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller "Death of A Salesman," by Arthur Miller, is a play that tells the story of a traveling salesman, Willy Loman, who encounters frustration and failure as he reflects on and experiences his own life. Willy's quest for the American Dream leads to his failure because throughout his life, he pursues the illusion of the American Dream and not the reality of it. His mindset on perfection, his obsession with success, and his constant reminiscence of the past and foretelling of the future, all contribute to his defeat in the end.... [tags: Death Salesman essays Arthur Miller]
970 words (2.8 pages)
- The Role of John Proctor in Arthur Miller's The Crucible Arthur Miller wrote the play 'The Crucible' to show the historical parallel between the Salem witch trials of 1692 and the McCarthy 'witch' hunt of the late 1940' and 50's. The character John Proctor seems to represent and show the viewpoint of a real man, unaffected by hysteria; a difficult thing to portray during the 1950's in the USA, due to the fear and hate of Communism and the 'witch' hunt for communists. John Proctor is the central character of the play.... [tags: Arthur Miller Cruicble Essays]
2524 words (7.2 pages)
- Evaluation of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller The play was written by Arthur Miller who was born in Manhattan in 1915 by Jewish immigrant parents. He witnessed the depression and the failing of his fathers businesses. He went to college at the University of Michigan well he wrote and worked with plays. He wrote Death of a Salesman in 1948 in a small Connecticut studio. The play took place in the great depression where a struggling business man tried to provide for his family. He has been working for years and is becoming very tired and crazy.... [tags: Death Salesman Miller]
1568 words (4.5 pages)
- Art and Nature in Shakespeare's The Tempest
- Celie's Pain in Alice Walker's Color Purple
- Comparing Creon's Metamorphosis in Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus
- Symbols, Symbolism and Irony in Thomas Mann's Death in Venice
- Comparing Plato's Allegory of the Cave and Maimonides' Limits of Man's Intellect
- A Conversation with Anna Quindlan and Alice Walker