Death of a Salesman Linda Loman, Woman or Weakling Death of a Salesman, written by American Playwright Arthur Miller, in 1949, won many awards, including the Pulitzer for drama, and a Tony for the Best Play. This play has been performed on Broadway several times; in February of 1949 it ran for 742 performances and was continually acclaimed. Linda Loman the wife of Willie Loman, the salesman, a typical woman of her era, was a homemaker, busy cooking, cleaning and taking care of her two sons, while her husband frequently traveled.
Linda in general was a weak woman, as most of the women were in her time period, unable to confront any uncomfortable situation with her husband. In today’s world a women in her place would not be so quick to overlook all that Linda did, if so perhaps the story would end differently. Linda Loman was wife to Willy, and mother of Biff and Happy, Linda was a very weak woman in many different ways. She would be the one person who would support her husband despite his reprehensible treatment towards her. She would have to put up with her husband’s delusions of grandeur, erratic behavior, and hallucinations all alone, while never confronting him.
It was actually, quite the opposite, there were times that Linda would start to believe her husband’s wild stories of his success and the rich and successful promises he would make about the life they were going to live. At one point in the story Linda finds herself hearing Willy coming home early from a sales trip throughout New England. So she inquires why his trip ended so quickly. Only to be told a long story that he sold so much, so quickly that he ended the trip early. When in reality Linda quickly realized that Willy had only made about a total of seventy dollars that week and that was not a lot of money for this time period.
So Linda then decides to go to bed instead of confronting Willy about the true amount of commission he had made that week and get to the real reason his trip was cut short. Next Linda starts to hear Willy talking to himself out loud realizing that he is having hallucinations of some sort. So Linda then goes to the kitchen to ask Willy what’s wrong. Only to be told that needs a walk and he storms out without Linda chasing after him. Linda’s sons were awoken by their fathers ranting ask their mother what’s going on to only have the issue turn towards them.
Linda takes her frustration of the situation out on her son Biff telling him that things are worse around here when he is around and he needs to get a steady job and stop drifting from job to job so he can make his father proud and show him some respect so this situation she is in will get better. One day while Linda was down stairs doing laundry she found a rubber hose by the heater. She then realized right away that her husband’s situation has grown to be so bad that he is trying to kill himself. Linda’s first reaction was to take the hose to prevent any such tragedy from happening to soon thereafter go put the hose back where she found it.
Linda realized that if Willy were to see the hose had gone missing that somebody had figured out he was trying to kill himself and they would have to discuss that issue one that Linda was not willing or ready to deal with. Linda’s behavior and duties as a homemaker were not very uncommon for this time period. According to ehow. com “Many women remained in the workforce after the end of the war, but men returning home from the battleground had to resume their work. Therefore a number of women were laid off or took up lower paying “female” jobs, such as domestic workers, secretaries, and clerical workers.
In addition, as the National Park Service suggests, the change in the image of women was only temporary and most women returned to their home-keeping duties” (www. historylearningsite. com Women in World War II). Women of this time much like Linda would have to make sure that the house was kept clean, the clothes were to be washed, dinner was on the table when the man came home from work, mend anything that needing mending, and never talk back to their husband, and would turn their back to any confrontational issues no matter how obvious they maybe.
Women of this time period had a place and a role. Their place was at home and their role was to be a mother and a wife nothing more. There opinions would not be heard or considered by any man. Women had very little to no rights at all. Women could not vote or hold a job that required any type of a technical skill. However this was not always true in the early 1940’s when World War II started there were so many men that were drafted for the war that women had to take on the roles of a woman at home as well as the man out in the work force.
This quickly proved to be no match for women they juggled both parts of this life very well and the results were shocking. “Women started to work in factories causing the “Rosie the Riveter” phenomenon” (Boredpandahistory. com Women at Work 1940’s). Such a movement as this allowed advertisers to show women as fashionable and glamorous while not worrying about getting dirty at the same time being a lady. The phase crashed before it ever got off the ground because when the men returned home from war they went right back to their jobs and so did the women in the home.
Surveys performed at that time showed that over 80% of women wanted to continue working. In 1920 women were given the right to vote, however it was not until some forty plus years later that the women’s movement in America really produced some results, allowing women for the first time in history to be given the same equal rights as men. In today’s world a women in a situation similar to one of Linda’s would have reacted and treated the whole situation differently.
Women today are empowered and no longer have to stay in the home, or hide behind a man. They can be their own person and support themselves as well as any man can. They would address an issue head on with their husband so it can be out there and they can discuss what they both agree to is the next best thing to do to resolve this issue. If there husband was trying to kill himself they would not ignore it to protect his ego they would talk to him about it to get him help before it would be too late.
If the man was not making enough money to support the household the women in the relationship would go out and get a job very much the same way the women did it when the men were out fighting for our country in World War II. Things have greatly changed in the world of women since the late 1940’s and they are truly are going to continue to get better as women continue to progress further and further into society as time goes on. To quote Elizabeth Cady Stanton “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men and women are created equal” (womenshistory. om Elizabeth Cady Stanton Quotes). In closing, Linda Loman was a weak woman in many ways not because of a lack of trying but due to standards set by society during her time period. Women during this era were limited to what they were allowed to do, say, and think in every part of their life it was truly a man’s world. If this same story were to be told in a 2012 the role of Linda would not be one of a timid house wife that hid behind a man. She would most likely be a get to the point, because I have a ton of roles to fulfill type of women. This type of strong female character could change the outcome of the story completely.
Bored Panda History. N. p. , 6 Oct. 2011. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www. boredpandahistory. com>. History Editor Group, ed. Womens History. N. p. , 8 Sept. 2009. Web. 25 Oct. 2012. <http://www. womenshistory. com/ElizabethCadyStantonQuotes>. “Women in World War Two. ” History Learning Site. N. p. , 12 Aug. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <http://www. historylearninsite. co. uk/women_WW2. htm>.