Death of a Salesman
by Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman Linda Loman Quotes
LINDA [buttoning up his jacket as he unbuttons it]: All told, about two hundred dollars would carry us, dear. But that includes the last payment on the mortgage. After this payment, Willy, the house belongs to us.
WILLY: It’s twenty-five years!
LINDA: Biff was nine years old when we bought it.
WILLY: Well, that’s a great thing. To weather a twenty-five year mortgage is—
LINDA: It’s an accomplishment. (Act 2)
Willy and Linda celebrate their proximity to financial security as a kind of freedom and escape. In many ways, they feel chained by financial concerns and debt.
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?
LINDA: I’m—I’m ashamed to. How can I mention it to him? Every day I go down and take away that little rubber pipe. But when he comes home, I put it back where it was. How can I insult him that way? I don’t know what to do. I live from day to day boys. I tell you, I know every thought in his mind. It sounds so old-fashioned and silly, but I tell you he’s put his whole life into you and you’ve turned your backs on him. [She is bent over the chair, weeping, her head in her hands]. Biff, I swear to God! Biff, his life is in your hands! (Act 1)
Linda feels that her sons have betrayed their father by turning their backs on him. Here, she insinuates that that betrayal is a big part of what has driven Willy to contemplate suicide.