There are times in life when a person may prove himself to be supportive by providing assistance and/or encouragement to another individual but still yet other instances when this person provides genuine affections and concerns but fails to express and act upon them. Although one may feel strongly for the other, one abides by acts of non-interference and generally plays the role of a watcher. Thus in The Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, it becomes clear that while it can be documented that Linda Loman is a supportive wife, it can also be proved that she is neither a supportive wife nor a supportive mother.
Throughout the course of the play, Linda is portrayed as a supportive wife toward her husband Willy. Since the beginning of the Loman family s portrayed lives, Linda nearly always supports him unconditionally. This includes protecting him from any emotional harm that the real world could cause him. For example, on page 37 when Willy tells Linda that F. H. Stewarts and a salesman he knew murmured something about walrus that had some relation to him, Linda comforted him by saying things like “Willy, darling, you’re the handsomest man in the world.” She thus furnishes the necessary backing towards her husband Willy Loman.
Although Linda Loman is assigned the character of Willy Loman’s wife, she remains neither a supportive wife nor a supportive mother throughout the course of the play. Although she has a great deal of affection for her husband and children, the passive approach she chooses to give to her sons and to Willy’s unbalanced and deteriorating mental condition does not provide them with the tough love they need to flourish and achieve their goals. This is stated quite well in the stage directions on page 12: She more than loves him, she admires him, as though his mercurial nature, his temper, his massive dreams and little cruelties, served her only as sharp reminders of the turbulent longings within him, longings which she shares but lacks the temperament to utter and follow to their end. Thus it is clear that her indirect method with which she provides to Willy’s unbalanced and fragile mental state renders her to be unsupportive to both him and to her sons.
Arthur Miller is a master playwright who creates the ingenious personalities of well thought out characters through noticeable traits, social positions, and overall characteristics such as these with the Loman family. It is apparent that her love for Willy is placed above all else, at the top of her priority list. One may question how effective her words may be, but nevertheless her words left a definite mark on her husband Willy. Through Linda Loman s caring yet passive approach, it becomes noticeable that Mrs. Loman can be considered a supportive wife or neither a supportive wife nor a supportive mother.