In Death of a Salesman Linda Loman is a wife and mother, she is loyal and supportive of her family and tries to protect them. Linda suffers watching her husband Willy’s downfall. She loves and admires Willy and wants to make him happy but through this she encourages him and is partly to blame for his fall. She is contrasted to ‘the Woman’, who Willy has an affair with; the Woman shows the dangerous side of Willy whereas Linda represents the domestic and sensible side of Willy. Although the play is mainly told through Willy’s eyes, Linda provides an external viewpoint of Willy and acts as the voice of reason in the play.
Linda is a caring wife and throughout the play cares for Willy, she also protects him from the reality of many situations “Oh. Maybe it was the steering again.” She tries to protect him from the criticism of others and his own self criticism; she also reassures Willy that he is doing well in his job “You’re well-liked”. Linda admires Willy and almost treats Willy like a child, calming him down and reassuring him that everything is okay, and protecting him from the world. She describes Willy as “only a little boat look for a harbour.” Linda knows that Willy is suicidal but does not do anything about it; she doesn’t want to upset Willy.
She knows about Willy borrowing money from Charley but keeps quiet because she knows it will hurt him if she thinks he is not doing well enough in his job. Linda even kicks Biff and Happy out in the fear that they will upset him “I don’t want you tormenting him anymore.” On the other hand, the Woman is shown as not caring about Willy at all, her carelessness leads to Biff finding out about his father’s affair and eventually Willy’s downfall. The Woman and Miss. Forsythe also contrast with Linda’s maternal theme, as they are used by men for pleasure and not to support them or help them.
Linda serves as a voice of reason throughout the play; she appears to be realistic and level-headed. And because of this Linda is the moral centre of the play, and tries desperately to keep her family together, she is strict with her sons when she feels they are upsetting their father ” Don’t you care whether he lives or dies?” However the Woman drives the family apart, her and Willy’s affair upsets Biff and leads him to believe his father is a phoney.
The play shows women as a way for the men to define themselves. In the play, most of the women characters are disrespected by the males and used. Linda is contrasted with the call girls and prostitutes in the story. Linda provides Willy with comfort and looks after him whereas the Woman inflates his ego. Biff and Happy use women for their own pleasure and disrespect them, “Boy, there was a pig!”, yet show a lot of respect to Linda. In the play Linda and Willy’s relationship is represented by stockings, Willy gives away Linda’s stockings to The Woman when he has the affair, although Linda has to mend her own. The women in the play exist for the men and are dependant on them. The call girls are there for the men’s pleasure and egos while the housewives are there to comfort and look after them.
Linda Loman represents the role of the ideal American woman; she cooks, cleans and generally looks after Willy and the other characters. She is loving and caring and will do anything for her husband, but Willy often takes her for granted. She appears to support Willy in his dream, and although she knows that he is not doing well in his job, she keeps it from him that she knows because she knows how important it is to him to appear successful.
However when Willy gets the chance to go to Africa with his brother Ben she prevents him and convinces him to stay and continue selling in order to keep him with her, “You’re doing well enough, Willy!”, and appears to feel guilty because she knows that she has prevented him from doing well and is in part responsible for his failures. Linda acts as a median between the audience and Willy and the audience are able to see an external viewpoint of Willy through her