Death of a Salesman

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Linda Loman Character Analysis

Willy's wife. She remains devoted to him even as he betrays her at two major points during the play: committing adultery with The Woman as a younger man, and committing suicide with the deluded belief that he will solve the family's problems by doing so. As the person closest to Willy, she realizes that he is trying to kill himself, and exhorts her sons to show him more love. However, she is as responsible for his death as any of the other characters, as her encouragement fuels Willy in his doomed pursuit of glory.

Linda Loman Quotes in Death of a Salesman

The Death of a Salesman quotes below are all either spoken by Linda Loman or refer to Linda Loman. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The American Dream Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Death of a Salesman published in 2011.
Act 1 Quotes
Linda: Willy, darling, you're the handsomest man in the world—

Willy: Oh, no, Linda.

Linda: To me you are. The handsomest.
Related Characters: Willy Loman (speaker), Linda Loman (speaker)
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

Willy and Linda go over his earnings for the week and realize that they still will have some trouble paying the bills. Willy tells Linda that he doesn't feel respected by other people, and part of the reason for this is his weight. Willy overheard a client calling him a "walrus." He is embarrassed by his own body, so Linda replies with reinforcement, telling him that he is handsome. Here we see how loyal Linda is to Willy. Her love for him transcends success or finance. She loves Willy for Willy. Willy, on the other hand, is not so loyal to Linda—in fact, he has betrayed her with another woman. Willy's concern for his weight also reveals the idea that as a salesman he must ultimately sell himself. 

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I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper... But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person.
Related Characters: Linda Loman (speaker), Willy Loman
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

Biff, Happy, and Linda are watching Willy unravel. He is talking to himself, and growing erratic and aggressive. Biff makes the mistake of calling his father crazy. Here, in Linda's iconic speech, she explains that her husband is going through a horrible time in his life. No matter his flaws, he is a human being and deserves to be taken care of—deserves the attention and appreciation that he constantly seeks. Unlike the other characters in the play, Linda sees Willy as a hero—his accomplishments are great because of his humanity, even though they may seem small or even pathetic to others. Linda feels as though her sons have betrayed Willy by accusing him of being unhinged or not taking his state of mind seriously. She later reveals that Willy has made several attempts to kill himself—offering a more concrete and urgent reason for why "attention must be paid" to Willy.

Act 2 Quotes
She's nothing to me, Biff. I was lonely, I was terribly lonely.

You - you gave her Mama's stockings!
Related Characters: Willy Loman (speaker), Biff Loman (speaker), Linda Loman, The Woman
Related Symbols: Stockings
Page Number: 95
Explanation and Analysis:
While Biff tries to confess about his meeting with Bill Oliver to his father, Willy sinks into another memory. He goes back to the day he found out Biff flunked math. After failing his course, Biff took a train to visit Willy in Boston, and he found him with another woman in his hotel room. Willy tried to hide his mistress in the bathroom, but eventually she comes out, asking Willy for her stockings that he promised her: Linda's stockings. Biff is heartbroken at his father's infidelity. Once again, the stockings are used as a symbol of betrayal. They are the image that Biff and Willy carry with them, a emblem of that night. After that moment, Biff tells Willy that he won't be retaking math or going to college. Throughout the play Willy has been blaming math as the reason why Biff hasn't been successful, when in reality it was this shattering moment of disillusionment. The man that Biff had always looked up to is now a fraud. This forever warps Biff's idea of the "American Dream"; something he once defined as the dream of his father's. He now sees that it is all a sham, and is left directionless in life. 
Requiem Quotes
I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there'll be nobody home.
Related Characters: Linda Loman (speaker), Willy Loman
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

Everyone has left the funeral, and Linda stands alone over Willy's grave. In this private moment, she speaks to her deceased husband, telling him that she can't cry. She feels like he is on just another trip, and is bound to come home. She has been abandoned by him, but also cannot yet accept the reality of his death. Linda then tells Willy that she made the final payment on their house—but there is no one there to live in it now. The irony of the American dream is made clear here. Linda was only able to pay for the house, a goal Willy was aiming to achieve, with the insurance money collected after Willy's death. His American Dream has been realized, but he isn't there to see it—it's just empty money, without life and meaning behind it.

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Linda Loman Character Timeline in Death of a Salesman

The timeline below shows where the character Linda Loman appears in Death of a Salesman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1
The American Dream Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...suitcases of merchandise. He is exhausted, or as he puts it, "tired to the death." Linda Loman, who is in bed, comes out to see him. She wonders why he is... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Willy tries to avoid talking about the reason for his early return. When Linda presses him, he admits that he lost his concentration while driving and nearly drove off... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Linda brings up what is clearly an old argument between them: she wants him to work... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
The conversation turns to Willy and Linda's grown sons, Happy and Biff, who are upstairs sleeping after a double date. Biff has... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Linda convinces Willy to go downstairs to the kitchen so that he won't wake the boys.... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
A younger version of Linda enters. She asks Willy how much he sold on his trip. At first, he claims... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Sobered by the tiny amount that he has earned, Willy now worries to Linda that people don't seem to like him, which is stopping him from getting ahead. He... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
As Willy says these words to Linda, The Woman's laughter is heard from the darkness of another part of the stage The... (full context)
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Willy returns to his conversation with Linda, who is mending her stockings. Willy becomes upset, and orders her to throw the old... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...to just give Biff the answers. Bernard refuses, then advises Biff to return the football. Linda complains that she has heard that Biff is too rough with the girls from school,... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...visited the house. In the memory, the two of them discuss their family history with Linda. Ben left home when Willy was nearly four years old to look for their father,... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...fight fair with a stranger. Willy, still anxious to impress Ben even though by now Linda is afraid of Ben, tells him that the family hunts snakes and rabbits in Brooklyn. (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Linda, who has heard Willy talking to himself, comes to the door to the backyard and... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...to go on a walk, though he is in his slippers. Biff and Happy join Linda downstairs and the three of them have a worried conversation about Willy's mental health. Linda... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Linda says that Biff and Happy have been ungrateful to their father. She says that Happy... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Finally, Linda tells the boys that she found a rubber hose behind the fuse box in the... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...might fall off Oliver's desk, because that's a job for an office boy. But when Linda tries to offer advice, Willy keeps shushing her. Biff gets angry at his father, and... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
In bed that night, Linda asks Willy what Biff has against him, and reminds him to ask Howard Wagner for... (full context)
Act 2
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
When Willy wakes the next morning, Biff and Happy have already gone, and Linda tells Willy that Biff is on his way to see Bill Oliver. Excited by the... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Linda then reminds Willy to ask Howard Wagner for a salaried non-traveling position in New York.... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Before Willy leaves, Linda tells him that the boys want to take him to a fancy dinner at Frank's... (full context)
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Right after Willy leaves, Linda answers a phone call from Biff. She tells him what she thinks is good news:... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
...opportunity to come to Alaska to manage a tract of timberland. Before Willy can accept, Linda appears and tells Ben that Willy is on track to become a member of the... (full context)
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Willy remembers a young Bernard knocking on Linda's door, telling her that Biff has flunked math. Distracted by this memory, Willy ignores Biff's... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...and Happy return home later that night. Happy has brought a bouquet of roses for Linda, but she angrily throws them to the floor. She asks Biff if he cares whether... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
...spirits, comments that Biff must really like him to cry over him as he did. Linda and Happy assure Willy that Biff has always loved him. (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Happy goes upstairs. Linda follows soon after. Willy promises to also come upstairs soon. Alone, now, Ben appears to... (full context)
Requiem
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
The only people at Willy's funeral are his family, Charley and Bernard. Linda is bewildered by the absence of all Willy's business associates, and wonders if everyone else... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Fathers and Sons Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Happy, upset, says that Willy's death was unnecessary. Linda wonders why Willy would kill himself now, when they had nearly paid off all their... (full context)
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Linda asks for some privacy to say goodbye to Willy, and she is left alone at... (full context)
The American Dream Theme Icon
Nature vs. City Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Biff enters, and supporting Linda, leads her away. All the characters exit the stage as flute music plays, and the... (full context)