Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller

Act I (continued)

Summary Act I (continued)

Willy’s relationship with Linda is even more complex and interesting. In one of his moments of self-doubt, she assures him that he is a good provider and that he is handsome. She also sees through his lie when he tries to inflate his commission from his latest trip. Although she does not buy his pitch to her, she still loves him. His failure to make her believe his fantasy of himself does not lead her to reject him—she does not measure Willy’s worth in terms of his professional success. Willy, however, needs more than love, which accepts character flaws, doubts, and insecurity—he seeks desperately to be “well liked.” As such, he ignores the opportunity that Linda presents to him: to view himself more honestly, to acknowledge the reality of his life, and to accept himself for what he is without feeling like a failure. Instead, he tries to play the salesman with her and their sons.