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Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman

by Arthur Miller

Freedom and Confinement Quotes

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Quote #10

WILLY [suddenly conscious of Biff, turns and looks up at him, then begins pocking up the packages of seeds in confusion]: Where the hell is that seed? [indignantly]: You can’t see nothing out here! They boxed in the whole goddamn neighborhood!

BIFF: There are people all around here. Don’t you realize that?

WILLY: I’m busy. Don’t bother me. (Act 2)

Willy's frustration at feeling trapped in his own home only shortly before his suicide reflects his profound desire for freedom and escape. Does his suicide provide that escape, or is it just the biggest trap of all?

Quote #11

LINDA: Forgive me, dear. I can’t cry. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t cry. I don’t understand it. Why did you ever do that? Help me, Willy, I can’t cry. It seems to me that you’re just on another trip. I keep expecting you. Willy, dear, I can’t cry. Why did you do it? I search and search and I search and I can’t understand it, Willy. I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And they’ll be nobody home. [A sob rises in her throat]. We’re free and clear. [Sobbing more fully, released] We’re free. [Biff comes slowly toward her.] We’re free… We’re free… (Requiem)

Linda's refrain of "we're free" after her comments about mortgage payments implies the linkage of freedom with economic security in Death of a Salesman. The play seems to be making a larger comment on the American system of capitalism. Are we as Americans trapped by our longing for financial gain? Does our focus on material things keep us from truly being free?

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