Consider the Role of Linda in Act One of Death of a Salesman

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Though Linda appears to be just an average 1950's American housewife in Act one of Death of a Salesman, she is actually an important character as she represents reality, as opposed to Willy living in the past, and is the most level-headed character in the whole play.

Throughout act one, both in Willy's dreams and in the present, Linda acts as Willy's sole source of motivation. She is always complementing him, "you're the handsomest man in the world." She encourages him in his work, assuring him that "next week you'll do better." She is also the only person who truly believes in Willy, so much that she sticks up for him against Biff and tells him, "either he's your father and you pay him that respect, or else you're not to come here." This shows that Linda is very faithful to Willy, which is opposite to Willy as he cheated on her.

Her ‘role' in act one is to represent reality in the play, amongst Willy's dreams and flashbacks. Her hair greying, as noticed by Biff, who asks her to "dye it again, will ya? I don't want my pal looking old" shows that Linda has accepted what is happening to her (that she is aging), whereas Biff, like Willy, refuses to accept reality, which empathises Linda's role as being the most level-headed character in the whole play.

Linda is also the most realistic character. For example, she is seen mending her stockings because "they're so expensive". In reply, Willy says to her "I won't have you mending stockings in this house!" This shows that Linda is more knowledgeable of their finances than Willy is, and that they cannot afford to buy more, a point which highlights Willy's failure as a salesman.

Linda has a high understanding of the Loman's finances, shown when Willy asks her "what do we owe?" this normally simple question shows that she is not a typical 1950's American housewife. In that period of time, a housewife was expected just to look after the children and do the housework, the shopping, etc. However, Miller decided...
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