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Discussion and Analysis of the Issue and Importance of Gender in Miller’s Death of a Salesman According to Kay Stanton, the “man” of Miller’s tragedy is sexually particular unlike his other plays; the play is highly masculine. The American dream in Death of a Salesman is male-centric; it moves further with the help of woman characters but without appreciating their contribution, and ignoring them in the process…
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Download file to see previous pages... Linda Loman is very significant and complicated persona of the play. Critics like Stanton (1991), Balakian (1969), and Otten (2002) have given a number of readings to the play to search the foregrounding of Linda. Otherwise also, it is generally remarked about Miller’s works that their female figures are insignificant and passive, which denotes naturally that Miller’s plays are masculine. Carson states, “…his vision of the world reflects some curious anti-feminine biases” (qtd. in Yao 31). Miller’s portrayal of men is convincing. It has been one of the flaws of Miller’s works that his portrayal of women is far from individuality of their own, as they see themselves only in their relationship to the men. According to the literary critic, Christopher Bigsby, “women, in Miller’s plays, tend to be conservative forces and thereby … compound the distorting forces of social life,” (qtd. in Yao 31). Actually, Miller has successfully presented the frustration and bitterness of the conservative gender world by showing women as oppressed and oppressor in the man-dominated society. Miller’s Linda Loman is courageous enough to show her opposition to the patriarchal social structure and come out to feel the freedom of her awareness. Miller has been criticized for representing the society from his own perspective. Women characters are not given their due by not giving them enough action and importance by Miller. Stanton, in his famous article “Women and the American Dream of Death of a Salesman”, stresses the significance of Linda Loman in “more than she is credited to be.” A second reading of the play from a feminist outlook by Balakian is argues, “…it cries out for a renewed image of the American woman.” It reaches the conclusion that “Death of a Salesman does not condone the locker-room treatment of women. Instead, the play asks us to question whether the dichotomized image of woman as either mother or whore is a desirable cultural value” (qtd. in Yao 32). According to critics, Miller’s women characters, particularly Linda Loman, are relatively complicated than many critics proclaim. Otten further figures out that the female characters like Linda actually add to the tragic components of the play. A sort of counter-attack has been seen in literary circles for wrongly blaming Miller in portraying unconvincingly; actually it “has helped establish a new appreciation of Miller’s ability to create strong female characters despite occasional attacks in feminist criticism” (qtd. in Yao 32). Otten’s thinking actually provides new light on Miller’s females, particularly the wife and mother characters in his plays. Women the like of Linda Loman are realistic portrayals; they are complicated, strong, and at the same time tragic. Like their male characters, females are stated in the historical peculiarity of social importance of their sex-based identity, as they go through relatively more hardships by living both characters -- housewives and mothers (Yao 32). Miller has presented the actual life of American women during the 1930s and 1950s. He has showed the condition of women in society through his sharp insight into the undesired and artificialness of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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