How Far Is Linda Complicit in Willy's Downfall in Death of a Salesman?

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How does Miller convey Linda’s complicity in the tragedy and in the patterns of self-delusion? In ‘Death of a Salesman’ Miller writes Linda’s situation as being one of an exceptionally difficult and intractable nature; we see that she is aware of Willy’s suicidal tendencies as well as his financial issues and yet keeps them to herself. Stuck in an invariably volatile relationship, Linda is shown to be doing her best for her husband and sons, yet struggles with the burden of responsibility. She seeks solace in what she deems to be the only way possible; almost by ignoring the problem rather than confront them. Whilst some may denounce Linda as a form of tragic villain, it seems more fitting to view her as a victim of circumstance, her…show more content…
Whilst Linda is their mother, and her relationship with her sons is one based on love, she acts primarily to defend Willy’s image, at least inside the Loman household. Linda takes this to such wild extremes, “Biff, dear, if you don't have any feeling for him [Willy], then you can't have any feeling for me,” essentially rejecting her own son’s affections if he refuses to accept his father, going so far as to imply disowning “then make Charley your father.” Such blind devotion from Linda can also be seen when she makes more excuses for Willy against criticism from his sons, “the man is exhausted”, it is also made clear that Linda is aware that Willy isn’t perfect, “he’s not the finest character that ever lived” yet still she defends him to the end, by making excuses for Willy, Linda somewhat justifies his irrational behaviour. Linda calls Biff a “philandering bum” comparing he and Happy to the “ungrateful bastards” who rejected Willy, in her eyes, they are as much to blame as the company which turned its back on one of its oldest salesmen- rather than accept that Willy is a poor salesman she deludes herself into thinking it’s entirely the fault of the corporate world. Biff “knows [Willy’s] a fake” and almost exposes him as such several times, even Willy himself demanded Linda stop repairing stockings because they reminded him of the illicit
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