Importance of Self-Image in the Loman Family

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Published in 1949, Arthur Miller’s Death of Salesman is a post Second World War American drama that highlights the plight of isolation and desolation experienced by the common man, as symbolized by Willy. The play deals with the society, life’s absurdity, various internal and external conflicts, death and above all, the tragedy of existence. It is located in the industrial society of the twentieth century where the pressure to succeed and the financial difficulties seem insurmountable. The play depicts America as the land of opportunity as well as a place where the society has acquired a new set of values that threatens to destroy those who cannot abide by new changes. This paper discusses the importance of self-image in the Loman…show more content…
The best characterization of Linda is in these words: “Linda, as the eternal wife and mother, the fixed point of affection both given and received, the woman who suffers and endures, is in many ways, the earth mother who embodies the play's ultimate moral value, love. But in the beautiful, ironic complexity of her creation, she is also Willy's and their sons' destroyer. In her love Linda has accepted Willy's Greatness and his dream, but while in her admiration for Willy her love is powerful and moving, in her admiration for his dreams, it is lethal. She encourages Willy's dream, yet she will not let him leave her for the New Continent, the only realm where the dream can be fulfilled. She wants to reconcile father and son, but she attempts this in the context of Willy's false values. She cannot allow her sons to achieve that selfhood that involves denial of these values” (Gordon 312). Furthermore, the Loman family lives in a society where the monetary status of residents determines their value. It is a consumer-based materialistic society which measures the worth of people on the basis of wealth owner. Clearly, being a part of this society and finding himself a complete ‘failure’, Willy’s sense of self image suffers drastically, which worsen when he sees his sons doing nothing about their life. Willy tries to, in fact, he knows that he wants to live in this society but at the same time, his idealism makes him imagine a
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