Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Summary and Analysis Act I: Scene 6

Summary

Scene 6 begins with Willy talking to Linda. He continues his conversation with her from Scene 5, describing his loneliness and desperation. At times Willy is overwhelmed with fear that he will not be able to sell anything again. Although Willy is revealing his insecurities to Linda, the Woman who was faintly visible in Scene 5 appears and responds to Willy. The Woman informs Willy that she chose him to be her lover because of his sense of humor. They make plans to meet again next time Willy is in Boston, and then she thanks him for the stockings he brought her.

Analysis

Scene 6 is a pivotal scene because the audience is privy to Willy's guilt over the affair and his subsequent inability to separate memories of Linda from the Woman. It becomes increasingly difficult for Willy to distinguish between the events of the present and the past. Although Willy prefers to believe he is defined by his imagined likability and success as a salesman, in reality, it is the affair that marks his true character. In fact, the affair serves as the defining feature of his being. He is guilt-ridden to the point that he is continually reminded of his infidelity whenever he is in Linda's presence. In addition, the stockings, which he gave to the Woman, serve as a tangible reminder of his transgression. He cannot bear to see Linda mend her stockings because he remembers his infidelity, plus he is forced to acknowledge that he gave Linda's stockings to the Woman. He has betrayed Linda, and he cannot suppress the knowledge.

Back to Top

Take the Quiz

How did Willy’s brother Ben make his fortune?




Quiz