Arthur Miller's The Lomans: Free At Last

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The Lomans: Free at Last Linda’s final words in Death of a Salesman explain that she made the last payment for their house and that she and Willy are “free” (139). It is seemingly strange that at her husband’s funeral she cares about finally paying off their mortgage. Finally paying off a debt should be the last thing on her mind while speaking to her deceased husband. Given the context of the story, the opposite may be true. By the end of the play, the Lomans all have freedom from financial stress, from guilt, and from expectations. However, these freedoms were so hard to come by throughout their lives that in fact it is fitting that Linda’s last words to Willy are a declaration of their freedom. An obvious challenge in the Loman’s lives …show more content…
Biff, once Willy’s golden child, is constantly expected to achieve greatness despite having no success after more than ten years of work. All Willy does is talk about what a success Biff will be and how things are turning around. Of course Biff can never live up to these expectations. Biff was so overwhelmed that crying to his father, he begged, “Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it” (133). His whole life these expectations were taking an emotional toll on him and he finally burst, emotionally broken. Still, mere minutes afterwards Willy said to himself “Can you imagine that magnificence” (135), referring to Biff. Willy could never let go of the dreams he once had for Biff. Not only does Willy weigh down Biff with expectations, he weighs down himself. He expects of himself to always be a great salesman and put up the same amazing numbers he put up in 1928. He expects that people will give him what he wants because of his charm, and smile, and because they like him. He expects that he’ll continue to sell through his phone well into his late ages. Finally, he expects to die the coveted “death of a salesman” with “hundreds of salesmen and buyers…at his funeral”(81) who all loved him. Obviously, Willy cannot live up to his own expectations and Linda believes that this is what drives himself insane asking her son’s “Why shouldn’t he talk to himself?… When he has to go to Charley and borrow fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it’s his pay?” (57). Throughout the story Biff and Willy each, unsuccessfully, try to escape these expectations and be free. For Biff it is having a job somewhere outside, using his hands, for Willy its moving to the countryside and having a garden. Instead of escaping, Biff and Willy continued on a path of