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Any gender' is always a conundrum .It is a point whether men are superior to women and vice versa .However , many societies have considered men as the superior gender to women. As a result , patriarchy has been associated with many sobriquets, Such as: ' Man of the family , ' Head of the family , ' The leader , etc. On the contrary , women have been consigned to servitude, and often considered to have acquiescent nature. In order , to strike a balance and bring equality between the gender roles, feminism ' took place.
Quite interestingly , feminism focuses entirely on empowering women and side lines the possibilities that men too can be victimized by gender. So in gender studying we have problem of the idea of male itself and female itself.
Gender inequality and its role in economic oppression becomes relevant in broader discussion of Arthur Miller's ''The death of salesman '' and Willy Loman's dilemma .The play's condemnation of oppression and inequality is intrinsic to Western, materialistic free market culture of a so-called American Dream. Miller's treatise on menace of western greed and esteem of self-interested individual over society also proves an interesting test case to explore women's agency in character of Linda loman and also men's agency in character of wily Lo man .
However, what one fails to understand is that men too can be the victim of patriarchy because patriarchy is a cultural phenomenon influencing gender role. With patriarchy comes the perpetual responsibility to look after their families .Men are conditioned tight through their socialization days beginning from their own homes to be independent and be the heads of their families. Some times they are victimized as they are indirectly forced of to fulfill their gender roles.
Willy Loman is also victim of patriarchy .Miller presents Willy Loman as the typical patriarch who is the father of two children , a husband to Linda and Willy strives hard to make them happy. If he had to live for his own and fend only himself , he probably wouldn't have committed suicide .However, being born as a man. Willy too is looked as the Man of the House .Hence, the responsibilities to look after family falls almost. Entirely on him as Linda is only a home-maker, his two sons are dependent on him. He is patriarchized by cultural notion of American Dream that identifies hard work without complaint as the key to success.
Willy quests a 'self-made man' who rises out of poverty and becomes rich and famous. He was colonized by this dream and national myth. But this self-esteem turns into something tragic through his awareness of this fact that he is not what he wants to be. Willy dreams of being on important businessman greatly admired by his two sons. He has miss constructed the idea of fatherhood , confusing it with the ability to confer wealth and prestige . while it is Linda who has truly constructed the idea of motherhood and her duty of being an honest wife by playing her role on time. She is also victimized . the concept of ' gender' in the play talks more about victimization of women.
Women exist as object of exchange and as a culturally constructed institution , heterosexual marriage facilitate this paradigm. Women's function as commodity via their role as wife-mother subject in and out of private domain , retains significance in some canonical texts such as Arthur Miller's The Death of salesman. It constructs women in what appears to be powerless and dramatic construct existing merely for support of more 3-dimensional , complex male protagonist. It provides a rich sample to scrutinize in terms of its construction of gender within paradigm of western family.
In the world created by playwrights women fit into narrative of personal fulfillment as some version of wife-mother. As with Linda Loman. Woman's responsibilities and varying potentials for success reflects masculinized and patriarchal models of reward.
Linda is confined to within the four walls of the house and also she is cheated by her husband's adultery while Linda seems to be leading a comfortable life. It partly depends on social relation of Linda 's time. But her role as a loyal and often shy housewife and mother does not necessarily represent all women's lives at that time However , her behavior suggest the cultural notion , common in that period, of restrained , even timid femininity . As the play shows , masculinity of time was indentified with the virile figure of the athlete, business man and soldier.
Cultural situation of American woman in that period (1945) determined Linda's femininity. American woman never had the chance to fulfill their mission seeing that they are confined in the kitchen, busy doing the dishes and saying '' … yes dear. Would you like another beer? The role of the American woman which was to look after the man of the house and the house itself is vividly exemplified through Linda Loman. Miller knows all about the role of women in American society . Women have been deprived to excel in such things as politico , economic and being a leader even president to govern a society. They are limited to the four walls of their house because society has organized such a femininity.
Linda loman is one of those women that would have been an excellent to her family and other around her. She was disheartened housewife which fulfilled all the tasks of the Usual American housewife ,that is central to accomplish the American Dream. It was a family with a financially success for a father figure , a caring wife that is responsible for cooking , cleaning , support , sex whenever man demands it , children and a nice house. Linda loves , cares , do or say anything for Willy. If ever Linda gets '' cut of line Willy puts her back in line with a big old '' shut-up '' , and she would try her best to do what he asks. She is loyal and caring for her man and her man devalues her. Linda's intelligence and caring for her man and her man devalues her. Linda's intelligence and insight goes far beyond that of Willy 's , but she never showed him that side of her , for if the American dream were to be true for the Lomans . The man must be smarter than the female. So ignorant femininity is result of social condition of American dream. By playing stupid in front of Willy she was always on the outside looking in. when she was around her sons her insight on things shrines like the early morning rays from the sun ,but when she is around Willy her vocabulary diminishes her to '' yes dear '' or '' what dear '' , she under American influence hinders from doing anything about it.
In fact Linda and charley serve as forces of reason through the play . Lind is probably the most enigmatic and complex character. Linda views freedom as escape from debt that symbolizes success and stability . Charley is ambigiously effeminated and gendered he functions as a sort of poetic prophet or sage. Charley's prognosis of the situation is logical and is grounded in reason while Linda is emotional prophet and her diagnosis of Willy's decline is made possible by her emotional sanity.
Most obviously , Linda emerges as a kind of 2 dimensional service station, existing to aid or support the needs of her richer , more complicated dramatic partner and play's protagonist , her husband Linda's presence within broader criticism of the play occupies a space: peripheral, unimportant with exception of her interaction with more important male-protagonist .The only other significant female character, the nameless woman who receives Willy's infamous gift of stocking also occupies a role based exclusively on her function as a sexual object and one who provides service and assistance to play's male protagonist.
That relatively little critical attention is devoted to Linda specifically or to feminist concern in the play broadly would seem indicator of peripheral statue that women or feminist agenda might occupy. Some critics such as Guerin Bliquez's essay '' Linda's role in The Death of salesman '' consider Linda and her gender role in this drama . They say Linda is important to plot's development because she is the character who provides near constant exposition and consider Linda as having significant narrative job in Miller's play. Her character is one of the major sources to explain the meaning of Willy's life.
Linda as a non -active object manages to provide important discoveries and shares relevant information to audience, in formation that is key to the rest of characters and overall plot. But unlike other characters who may provide expository information Linda doesn't exist as a plausible aid to play's protagonist. Her assistance comes consistently in the form of enabler and powerless nursemaid.
Jacobson contents Linda and says Linda remains loyal but her constancy helps Willy. She can play no significant role in her husband's dream and although she proves occasionally capable of dramatic outburst, she lacks the imagination and strength to bold her family together or to help Willy define a new life without .
Linda is aware of being object of desire and perhaps a kind game being played upon , but according to her femininity that is construct of American society , she can't reveal it in front of Willy because she knows the consequences. Her being aware of her role as a toy and maiden is revealed when Linda eventually responds to her sons with scathing disrespect because of the way they respond to other women. Biff and Happy classify their mother as a good woman but their mother as a good woman but their view of femininity is also construct of dominant ideology that is the role of their father .They follow their father's example in seeking out women they want to marry to gratify their egos and then teasing those women as disposal Linda replies them '' you and your lousy roten whores, pickup this stuff. I'm not your maid any more '' you are a pair of animal '' she is aware of her lack of subjectivity but she lives with it.
In conclusion, Arthur Miller's Death of salesman exposes relationship between gender relationship and dysfunctional family behavior. It express construction of characters under American view of the world , the position of society that propagated the idea if American dream and character's identity including femininity and masculinity. Women's role as object and as a house-wife woman who is limited to her role in connection to her wife and children and man's role in American Dream as a successful trade man are incarnated in portraits of Willy Loman and Linda Loman. They are organized in society and their role in society defined by social condition of that time.