Linda Loman and the Cult of Domesticity In Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman

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Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman, depicts a family unit tightly bound by the constraints of patriarchal dynamics. The dominant focus of the males' roles and relationships contrast sharply with the masculine assumption (as well as the mother's submissiveness to) the common household stereotypes of "the cult of domesticity," which provide the predominant guidelines for women in this era.


Miller's archetypal portrayal of Linda Loman therefore represents both a general example and a figurehead for her social status: lower middle class suburban white domestics. Alienated from her husband Willy, Linda tries to accommodate his role of the head of household, despite the fact that she must see to the actual running and repair of the home. She accepts a subordinate role and lives vicariously through his dreams: as Miller describes her "she admires him his massive dreams and little cruelties (are) reminders of the turbulent longings within him which she shares but lacks the temperament to utter and follow" (Miller 12). With her dreams confined to the house and her life defined by what her husband can provide, it is no surprise that Linda constantly seeks to support Willy self-image and delusions while attempting to create a level of harmony between him and their two children. Paradoxically, these same restraints of patriarchy and cult of domesticity drive Willy's motivations as well, for he is obliged to both be the provider and secure a sheltered reality for Linda safe from the outside world. Thus, Linda's fate is completely entwined with Willy's. ...
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