The Power of Love in Death of a Salesman
Love is one of the most confusing emotions that one can experience. It is simple yet complicated, unconditional but demanding, overused and unique. It is hard to explain what its means to feel love, to feel loved, or to be in love, however, there are aspects of love that are easily expressed. For example, ones unquestionable affection to the one they love, or the hardships and sacrifice that is endured for loved ones, and the underlying fact that once it is experienced it is not easily dismissed. The play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller describes love in just these ways, and, most of all, as the ultimate moral value that is the eternal bond that keeps people together. One can see this in the love that Linda has for her husband Willy, the unmistakable devotion that Willy has to his family, and the masked love that Biff has for his father, Willy.
Before experiencing the play Death of a Salesman the reader or viewer must understand the family standards that were in place during the time period that the play was set. It was a time where the man of the house had the final word in everything. The woman of the house was the follower of the man through any hardships, and never overstepped her role. Linda is that woman, always putting her needs second to Willy's. She is the eternal wife and mother, the point of affection both given and received, the woman who suffers and endures for her family. Linda's love for Willy is unquestionably pure and unconditional:
No. You can't just come to see me, because I love him. He's the dearest man in the world to me, and I wont have anyone making him feel unwanted and low and blue. You've got to make up your mind now, darling, there's no leeway any more. Either he's your father and you pay him that respect, or else you're not to come here. I know he's not easy to get along with - nobody knows that better then me - but ... (55)
Linda speaks these lines to Biff and, not only do they prove that she loves this man an enormous amount, but also that she would sacrifice not seeing her son again just to keep Willy happy. She is wiling to sacrifice her family for the man that she loves, who appears to not treat her as well as a husband could. Linda's last comment shows that she is not treated with a great deal of respect from Willy. Nevertheless, she puts his needs before her own because of the profound love she has for him. Her love for him drives her do whatever is necessary to keep him happy, and binds her to him no matter what the consequence.
With love can come sacrifice, personal and material. To love someone is to know that some things must be given up for their benefit. Willy may be looked down upon for the lack of importance he places on his family because of the affair he has, however he values and loves his family more then might be thought. After an early flash back about Ben Willy...