How Women are portrayed in Death of a Salesman Essay

Linda Lowman is a female who appeared to be considered approved in the Lowman household but that did not indicate she was helpless. “The Great Depression reinforced female domesticity”, which was plainly displayed in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller through Linda (Koenig 1). In the time duration that this play occurred females did not know any other life than to stay at home and tend to their families. This holding true, Linda took care of the home however was not helpless because she handled all of Willy’s problems and held the family together.

Miller portrays Linda as a woman who is submissive to her spouse, which exemplifies that he is an anti feminist. The ‘other female’ in the play is likewise adversely portrayed as a stereotyped bimbo.

Throughout the play, Miller depicts Linda as helpless and highly depending on Willy but by digging deeper into her actions, one can see is the foundation to the household.

“… bore the cross of truth for them all, supporting her other half, maintaining her calm, enthusiastic smile …” (Bigsby viii). Linda is represented by Miller as an extremely weak private generally by how Willy talks to her. In one specific example Willy loses his temper at Linda and says, “Stop talking! … shut up! … there’s nothing incorrect with him!’, which leaves Linda in tears (Miller 27). The abuse that Willy exerts on Linda is not to be taken as a representation of how he in fact sees ladies. But rather, Miller makes statements which show how highly he thinks of Linda such as:

“Linda is difficult. She is a fighter. Willy is prone to bully her, cut off her sentences … this is a lady who has sustained the family when Willy has actually allowed fantasy to change truth, who has actually dealt with the understanding of his suicidal intent, who translucents her kids’ bluster and demands their assistance” (Bigsby xix). The description that Miller simply gave of Linda exemplifies her as a really independent, strong, caring female who will do anything to keep her household together. Although Miller portrays Linda as a strong woman in the play; the film, reveals otherwise. During the motion picture it seems that Willy is not just emotionally, however physically abusive to Linda.

This might be the factor that Linda is so faithful to Willy; out of fear rather of love (Schlondorf). By Linda staying with Willy even throughout physical abuse is showing that Miller feels as though ladies aren’t independent or strong enough to leave their spouses and the men get a sense of empowerment through dominion over ladies, “The lady makes him feel he is a crucial salesperson and effective male” (Ribkoff 123). This unfavorable connotation towards women shows that Miller is an anti feminist.

Aside from Linda Lowman, another lady in the play is illustrated in a negative, stereotypical method. Towards completion of the play we discover that Willy has been cheating on Linda with the ‘other lady’. Stereotypically, the ‘other lady’ is thought about a slut and typically dumb or ditzy. The female laughing gaily constantly represents the concept that she is thought about to be dumb, for instance: [The FEMALE goes into, chuckling …] Willy: “Will you stop chuckling? Will you?” (Miller 91). The movie shows this lady as a young, blonde, appealing lady who appears really ditzy and carefree. This portrayal of the lady is really stereotypical of ‘bimbos’ and women who would sleep with a married man. Miller is creating an image of this female through the play and film, which is rather unfavorable towards ladies. The way he views females is clear; dumb, dependent, and promiscuous, although at times he appears to portray the females in the play as strong individuals.

It is surprising that Willy takes part in this spoken abuse towards Linda in the business of others. On numerous celebrations Biff and Pleased have actually existed to hear Willy put down and chew out their mom. After consistently being informed to drop in Biff it seems Willy will ultimately give up and the attacks will go away. Out of the two brothers Biff is the only one who says anything to Willy and stands up for his mother. When Wily finds out that Biff is going to try and begin an organisation he is overjoyed till Linda chimes in also and attempts to put in her two sense. “Do not yell at her, Pop, will ya? … I don’t like you chewing out her all the time, and I’m tellin’ you, that’s all. Stop yelling at her!” is an example of how Biff defends Linda and is bothered by how she is dealt with. Biff can distinguish between what his dad thinks is the best thing to do, and what is actually the best thing to do. He knows he isn’t perfect, but he admits to his mistakes and finds out type then, unlike his father, Willy, “But unlike his daddy, he faces, and gains from his shame” (Ribkoff 124).

When Miller adds parts where guys defend ladies it in uncertain how he feels about feminism. From this example of Biff standing up for Linda it seems he is pro feminist however on the other hand, the way he describes the ladies in the play makes one believe otherwise. Happy on the other hand does not state anything throughout this argument or others like it. Although Willy chews out Linda quite often she does not defend herself. Possibly the reason she is not fighting back when being verbally mistreated is not since she is a doormat but because she is so exhausted from taking care of whatever else. This is an example of how Linda can be viewed as powerless. In the introduction Rhoda Koenig explains Linda Lowman as “a dumb and helpful doormat” and does not stand up for herself (Bigsby xix).

Linda has a lot on her plate between her husband losing touch with truth, her boy’s not having solid jobs and the lack of cash in their family. She handles all these tough scenarios extremely well and does not even argue when she is chewed out by her other half. Linda handles to stay gathered for the most part even though she holds really heavy burdens. She chooses to release among her problems on Biff when she informs him about his daddy:

“He’s been trying to eliminate himself … the insurance coverage inspector came … all those [automobile] mishaps in the last year weren’t accidents … I decreased to the cellar. And behind the circuit box- it simply took place to fall out- was a length of rubber pipeline- just short. And sure enough, on the bottom of the hot water heater there’s a new little nipple on the gas pipe” (Miller 43).

Understanding your partner has plans or had plans to kill himself can undoubtedly take a large toll on somebody however Linda keeps it together. She has a lot love for Willy that she puts up with whatever that is going on. She informs him he can be the best and informs him she thinks in him, whether she thinks it or not. Aside from her partner, Linda needs to handle Biff not having a job and Willy and Biff arguing all the time. Biff does not wish to end up being a salesman because he would rather be outdoors and this causes a great deal of dispute between him and his daddy. Although he was not getting as lots of benefits as he would being a salesperson he was still doing what he liked. “To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two-week trip, when all you actually desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off” (Miller 11). Willy can not comprehend why Biff would not wish to be a salesperson and feels bitter the fact that he has not been really effective.

Laundry, mending stockings, fretting about expenses, and groceries are a few of the things Linda Lowman does on a daily basis. These jobs are presumed to be the function of a homemaker, which is another example of how Miller sees ladies. It is clear that in the Lowman family, Linda is accountable for all the household obligations, which at that time ended up being rather common: “As men’s share in domestic activity began to vanish, household chores genuinely became ‘women’s work'” (Leonard 307). Willy Lowman does go out and work throughout the day, but hardly, while Linda is taking care of many obligations. It is clear that Miller feels the woman ought to be staying at house and looking after the whole house in addition to tending to her other half’s needs.

Linda is constantly attempting to please Willy by stating things like; “I’ll make you a sandwich … the cheese is on the middle rack!” and making sure he is completely pleased. Throughout the play, Linda always seems to be fixing stockings, which is also stereotyped behavior of a homemaker. Willy gets extremely angry when he sees her mending stockings due to the fact that he feels so guilty about the ‘other woman’. When him and the lady have their encounters he constantly appears to provide her a set of stockings, “… and thanks for the stockings”, which has taken place two times in the play (Miller 26). Willy goes off to work and Linda looks after your home, stresses over the cash and makes sure she is entirely devoted to Willy when he gets house. Miller appears to have a standard view when dealing with the functions of women and males in the family.

It appears like Miller is a closet pro feminist from time to time throughout the play. Although most of his representations of women are negative and extremely stereotypical, there are specific instances where he leans in the opposite instructions. For example, when Biff stood up for Linda as Willy was yelling at her; that revealed that Miller felt Linda should have been defended. The negative connotations towards females in this book do not relate to the professional feminism examples throughout the book. It is tough to assess how Miller truly feels about women and their location in the family, workplace and their basic characters.

Functions Pointed out

Bigsby, Christopher. “Introduction”. New York: Penguin Group, 1998

Koenig, Rhoda. “Seduced by Salesperson’s Patter”. The Sunday Times. London, October 26, 1996, 10.4.

Leonard, Eileen B. “Family Labor and Technology in a Consumer Culture”. Composing Gender. Boston: Bedford, 2009.

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesperson. New York City: Penguin Group, 1976

Schlondorf, Volker, dir. Dofas. Perf. Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid, John Malkovich. VHS. Lorimar House Video, 1986.

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