International Journal of Family Therapy

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 116–121

Death of a Salesman: A clinical look at the Willy Loman family

  • Mary Beth

DOI: 10.1007/BF00927080

Cite this article as:
Beth, M. International Journal of Family Therapy (1985) 7: 116. doi:10.1007/BF00927080


A separation-individuation model is used to explore the dynamics of the Willy Loman family as depicted in the play,Death of a Salesman. The concept of differentiation is discussed, with examples from the play used to magnify the applicability of this construct. The family is viewed in three-generational context, using Erickson's definition of identity as it relates to the continuity between the past, present and future. The low level of differentiation inexorably leads to a void of intimacy, reflected in the form of emotional isolation, inability to tolerate differences and lack of problem solving skills. Finally, the discussion accents the difficulties experienced by the Loman children to separate and in individuation.

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Beth
    • 1
  1. 1.Harding Hospital in WorthingtonWorthington

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