The rubber hose is a symbol of Willy's impending suicide. Linda finds it hidden behind the fuse box in the cellar, and the "new little nipple" she finds on the gas pipe of the water heater leads her to the conclusion that Willy had planned to inhale gas. Like Willy's other attempted method of suicide—driving off the road in the car he uses to travel to work—the rubber hose points how the conveniences such as the car and water heater that Willy works so hard to buy to afford might, under their surface, be killing him.
Rubber Hose Symbol Timeline in Death of a Salesman
The timeline below shows where the symbol Rubber Hose appears in Death of a Salesman. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.