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Women as Second Class Citizens

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Women as Second Class Citizens

Women as Second Class Citizens

Women have been regarded as second class citizens throughout history. It is common knowledge that almost every language and culture tends to be male-dominated. Some think that the feelings of superiority by men can be traced back to the biblical times of Adam and Eve as Adam was created in God’s image and Eve came from Adam. Women did not gain equal rights until the early 1970s in the United States. They were finally allowed to possess a credit card without their husband’s names on it. Before this, they earned the right to vote, serve on juries and to have the same minimum wage as men. However, just because equal rights are given, equal treatment is not a guarantee. This discrimination and dominance of women is displayed in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. During the time that the play takes place, 1928 - 1945, women were still in a battle for equal treatment and equal rights. Miller shows the sexism in society at this time by not including any strong female figures in the play.

The only main female character in the play is Willy Loman’s wife, Linda. Linda seems to be living in a fantasy world as she thinks very highly of her husband and constantly caters to his very need. He was even disappointed with her when she purchased a “new American type cheese” that was whipped. Willy claims that he likes Swiss and is disgruntled by this. However, Linda only bought this cheese because she thought that he would “like to try something different.” This disagreement and unappreciative attitude displayed by Willy is just a glimpse of how awfully he treats her. Through all of Willy’s violent outbursts and his failing health, success, and loss of reality, Linda is always by his side making excuses for his behavior. Willy is not at all interested in her input in conversations, as he tells her to “shut [her] mouth” and shut up when she tries to add something to a conversation. Linda plays the role of a doormat for Willy as it seems that he wipes his feet with her and she just lays there doing nothing about it.

Although this display makes Linda look bad, she had to take an excessive amount of Willy’s abuse so, it, in turn, made her stronger. She had to be emotionally sound herself to find happiness in all these years of marriage to Willy. She never gives up on him, even when he kills himself. Upon his death, she claims that “He was so wonderful with his hands” and asks him for his help. It seems that she does not know what to do with herself now that she has gained her independence. Linda cannot be necessarily blamed for her behavior because it was popular at those times and accepted in society that women did not work and the men ran the house. However, Linda did not realize how capable she was

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