Analysis of Characters in "Death of a Salesman"

Analysis of Characters in "Death of a Salesman"

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Page forty-one includes conversations between Willy and Linda, and Linda and Biff. This page is split into three stages, where Willy talks to himself, Linda talks to Willy, and where Biff talks to Linda. Through their speech, the audience is able to gain an impression of the relationship between the three characters.

The page begins with Ben leaving the scene, after exclaiming `God, I was rich'. Willy repeats these words, `...was rich!' He is obviously impressed by this, and continues to talking, but only to himself. This is what preoccupies Willy, while Linda enters. She tries to talk to him, even though he is not listening. Wily is detached from the people around him, at the moment, thus suggesting his detachment from domestic life. When talking to Linda, he discusses the `watch fob with a diamond' that Ben gave him. His mind is placed more on money, as shown by his impressed reaction to being rich. This causes a strain on the relationship between Linda and Willy.

Linda is a character that portrays a more domestic principle. She asks `You coming in?', `Did you have some cheese?' She uses a great deal of questions when talking to Willy. She calls him `Dear'. These show how Linda cares greatly for Willy. She is portrayed as a stereotypical housewife, where she dotes on her husband. However, Willy does not show himself as a doting husband. He is distracted and continues his conversation to himself. Willy is inattentive and absent minded. Therefore the audience is able to perceive how their relationship is not that of a stereotypical, perfect marriage.

Once Willy leaves the scene, Biff enters and talks to Linda. He has just become aware of Willy's dreaminess. He asks his mother `how long has he been doing this?' He is surprised at his father's oddity. This shows how Biff is not very close to Willy and has not been visiting his parents much. Biff is closer to his mother, as he is able to ask her such frank question. He uses emotive words of `God Almighty' and `What the hell...' These also show his shock towards Willy, further portraying a sense of distance between Biff and Willy.

Though the audience do not see Willy talk to Biff, Willy's feelings towards his son is shown. Willy asks Linda `Whatever happened to that diamond watch fob?' He was obviously excited about this watch, as he incessantly talks about it.

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However, the audience learn that he `pawned it' `For Biff's radio correspondence course'. Willy sacrificed something of his own; the watch, for his son. He obviously cares for Biff and places his hopes on him.

The audience is able to see obvious strains in these three relationships. Linda is loyal and doting over Willy, though he is behaving bizarrely. They have a strong relationship, even though it is not perfect. Biff, their son, is not close to his father but has a close relationship with his mother. Willy loves his son and maybe his wife, but his mind is preoccupied elsewhere.

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