Inspired by his love for his family, Willy ironically abandons them (just as he himself was abandoned by his father when he was three). The tragedy of Willy's death comes about because of his inability to distinguish between his value as an economic resource and his identity as a human being. The Woman, with whom Willy cheats on Linda, is able to feed Willy's salesman ego by "liking" him. He is proud of being able to sell himself to her, and this feeling turns to shame only when he sees that by giving stockings to The Woman rather than Linda, he is sabotaging his role as a provider. He doesn't see that his love, not material items, is the primary thing Linda needs from him.
The link between love and betrayal is present throughout the play: part of Biff's revelation at the play's end is that Willy has betrayed him by encouraging him to settle for nothing less than greatness, thus making the compromises of the real world impossibly difficult. Happy, and even Linda, also betray Willy out of a kind impulse to not shake him out of his illusions, which forces Willy's fragile mind to deal alone with the growing discrepancy between his dreams and his life.
Abandonment and Betrayal ThemeTracker
Abandonment and Betrayal Quotes in Death of a Salesman
Willy: Oh, no, Linda.
Linda: To me you are. The handsomest.
Howard: I appreciate that, Willy, but there just is no spot here for you.
You - you gave her Mama's stockings!