, Research Paper
In the play Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, the main character, Willy Loman, has conflicts with respect and infidelity throughout the story. He has a problem with respect, especially respecting his wife, Linda. Willy shows through flashbacks of The Woman and everyday life that he has no respect for Linda. This also shows that he has an ethical issue with infidelity. Willy struggles with the idea of respect not only with Linda and other characters but himself.
During the play Willy has flashbacks of a woman whom he is having an affair. The author never gives her name, she is just known as The Woman . This brings up issues of respect for Linda and himself. It also shows his conflict with infidelity. He is unfaithful to Linda and he has no respect for her. Slaps him gently and laughs: You just kill me, Willy. He suddenly grabs her and kisses her roughly. You kill me (Miller 39). In this flashback The Woman is talking to Willy. By having an affair with another woman, Willy shows that he does not respect Linda or anything they have together. Willy likes this woman because she makes him feel good about himself. She compliments him and makes him feel important. Sure thing, you do make me laugh. It s good for me. She squeezes his arm, kisses him. And I think you re a wonderful man (38). She is always telling him that he is special and Willy needs this. This shows how Willy has respect issues with himself. He needs to be shown respect from everyone and he also is unfaithful to his wife just so he receives respect from others.
Willy also reveals how he does not respect Linda through examples in every day life. Linda always mends her old stockings so Willy does not have to buy her new ones. He does not want to spend the extra money on his wife but will get his mistress stockings whenever she wants. And thanks for the stockings. I love a lot of stockings. Well, good night (Miller 39). He will buy some woman stockings but his own wife has to mend her old stockings. Willy does not think Linda is good enough. She is not important enough to him for Willy to spend the extra time and money on. Will you stop mending stockings? (75). This also demonstrates how he constantly disrespects his wife. Willy repeatedly tells Linda to be quiet and not to get involved in arguments that he is having with his boys.
LINDA: Oliver always thought the highest of him
WILLY: Will you let me talk?
BIFF: Don t yell at her, Pop, will ya?
WILLY, angrily: I was talking, wasn t I?
He does not think that she has a place to speak even if she is his wife and the boys mother. Linda is a part of their family and should be able to say whatever she wants but because Willy has no respect for her. He does not think she has the right to do that.
Willy Loman shows no respect for his wife, Linda, throughout the play Death of a Salesman. He has an affair with another woman and constantly does not allow her to talk. This struggle with the idea of respect leads to the ethical conflict of his unfaithfulness. By doing this he shows how he does not respect his wife and struggles with the idea of not being respected.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: Viking Penguin, 1976.