Death of a Salesman By Arthur Miller Summary and Analysis Act II: Scene 11

Summary

Scene 11 takes place at home. Linda is furious with the boys because they left Willy at the restaurant. She orders them out of the house. Happy attempts to give her flowers, but she knocks them to the floor and then orders him to clean it up. Biff insists on talking with Willy, but Linda forbids him. Willy is outside planting his garden.

Analysis

Scene 11 parallels Act I, Scene 10. Linda is no longer submissive and cowed. Willy intimidates and criticizes her into silence throughout much of the play; however, when Willy is absent, Linda becomes outspoken, especially when defending Willy to their sons. At this point, Linda also realizes that all is lost. Willy is defeated not only because he has lost his job, but also because there is no possibility of reconciliation with Biff. Linda knows that any interaction between Willy and Biff from this point on will only lead to confrontation, and this may ultimately lead to Willy's demise. As a result, she is harsh to Biff for several reasons. First, she is acting defensively to prevent further harm to Willy. Second, she feels betrayed by her own sons who promised to help her "save" Willy. Third, she is disturbed to see Willy's mental faculties so deteriorated that he attempts to plant a garden in the middle of the night. Last, she is desperate because she knows Willy's mental condition will not recover from this. All is lost.

Glossary

louse [Slang] a person regarded as mean, contemptible, etc.

babble to make incoherent sounds, as a baby does; to prattle or talk too much or foolishly.

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