A Psychological Reading of Husband-Wife Relationship in Death of a Salesman

  • Xiao Chang Kunsan National University, Korea
  • Taehyung Kim Kunsan National University, Korea
Keywords: Husband-Wife Relationship, Death of a Salesman, Psychology, Attachment


Death of a Salesman written by Arthur Miller premiered in 1949 to critical acclaim and commercial success. Scholars have been paying attention to research on the female characters, the protagonist from the psychological perspective and father-son relationship, none of these works deals with the husband-wife relationship in Death of a Salesman from a psychological aspect.The paper will examine the family competences of Linda and Willy, dissecting the husband-wife relationship combing the psychological motivation. In the first section, through psychological rejuvenation, Linda embodies a natural force of vigor that infuses in Willy the power of warmth. In the psychological interpretation of Death of a Salesman, the relationship between Willy and Linda formed a sharp contrast between psychological pressure and purifying salvation. Willy suffered from relational anxiety, fearful stress, repressive daily, the loss of body, which brought disaster to his wife, Linda, his sons, Biff and Happy. For this reason, the play arranged a comforting character, his wife, Linda, to contrast the relationship between the couple. Concerning the suppressive daily, Willy’s stubborn personality is linked with frustration and depression in pursuing fantasy; his wife, Linda, gives him warm comfort for his empty dreams with her kindness, love, and above all, intelligence. In the case of his sons, Biff and Happy, especially Biff, on whom Willy places high expectations, Linda saved Willy from the relational tension through her pure nature when the sons frustrate Willy; Linda supports Willy and solves the arguments between Willy and sons to ease the tension. When Willy is faced with an unbearable blow from his job, Linda gives him advice on how to solve problems, such as when Willy loses his job, and the wife advises him to understand the boss and how to deal with the problem. The loneness from family and work also leads Willy to have affairs with an unknown woman; Linda tolerates everything and invisibly reminds Willy. It can be said that the relationship between the wife and her husband is a relationship of dependency, the wife attached to her husband in life and emotion.


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