Death of a Salesman
In the play, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Linda Lomans character is viewed differently by many people. Some critics have seen Linda as a controlling mother figure who is actually the one to blame for this failure of both her sons and her husband. In this report I will defend this view citing specific examples from the play. Linda was undoubtedly the only one in control throughout the play.
I believe that Linda tried to be a good mother and wife but she did not really know what she was doing. At the very beginning of the book we see that Willy, on his way to Boston, has come home because he was unable to concentrate on the road. And just as he was beginning to figure out why, she took his mind off the subject by suggesting that the problem was with the cars steering and not with him. Oh. Maybe its the steering again. I dont think Angelo knows the Studebaker.. And again: Maybe its your glasses. You never went for your new glasses.. By repeatedly doing this throughout the play Linda keeps Willy from facing the truth about himself. Also Linda gives Willy undeserved compliments, agreeing with him on his looks and ambition.; meanwhile, he has no true ambition. This causes Willy to build himself up into a great man. Another example of this is when Willy goes to see Howard Wagner about getting a job at home or at least close to home. While we realize how unlikely it is that Willy will get his wish, Willy does not realize this and Linda, who I believe is smart enough to realize it, supports Willy in excitement.
Willy isnt the only one that Linda has affected. There is also Biff and Happy. Willy had taught Biff and Happy that if you were handsome, opportunity would come to you. Now while that doesnt have anything to do with Linda, she never challenged what Willy taught them; she simply agreed with everything that Willy said. Linda is able to manipulate Willy, by making his ideas seem greater by giving them her full support. An example of this, similar to what happened with Willy and Howard Wagner, is when Biff goes to see Bill Oliver about a job. The two of them have not seen each other in twenty years and when they did know each other Bill Oliver did not know Biff too well. Despite this, Willy thought Bill would recognize Biff and offer him a job on the spot. Hearing this Linda did not challenge Willy; she actually tried to quietly support him even though I felt she knew Biff would not be successful.
During the majority of the play Linda hides her true self and contently agrees with Willy on most subjects. This makes it difficult to figure out what she is really thinking. Toward the end when Biff and Happy come home after leaving Willy at the restaurant, Linda drops her false personality and shows how she really feels. She explodes at her two sons for leaving their father alone at the restaurant during one of his fantasies. She places all blame on the two of them for Willy becoming the way he is. In actuality, it is Lindas own fault that Willy has become what he is. She has compounded this by also causing her two sons to turn out the way they did.
In this report, I have defended the belief that Linda is a controlling mother figure who is actually the one to blame for the failure of her sons and of her husband. In the play Linda listens to what Willy has to say and never stops him even though she knows what he says is wrong. This play is really about how Linda Loman has caused her husband to go insane and corrupted the minds of her children.