Comparative Analysis of Willy Lowman and Hamlet

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When a hero comes to mind, one tends to think of figures such as Superman. When tragedy comes into play, many think of Romeo and Juliet. But the in depth analysis of a “tragic hero” rarely takes place. What qualities of a tragic hero really differentiate them from the rest? Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a character of noble stature who possesses a character flaw in which he comes to a realization, bringing the audience through catharsis. Hamlet ultimately overcomes his imperfection and avenges his father’s death. Conversely, Willy Loman never surmounts his self destruction. Author Miller portrays Willy as a self indulgent salesman who lives in his own lies and pity, ultimately leading to his demise. Though the two characters hold similar qualities, only one possesses the traits of a tragic hero. Although many similarities exist between Hamlet and Willy Loman, only Hamlet exemplifies the qualities of a tragic hero. Aristotle’s theory describes the aspects of a tragic hero as one who shows ability to cope with pain and has overwhelming courage. Miller reveals Willy’s character as a hardworking, but also exhausted elderly man who constantly acts in a cowardly manner. Willy lies about his success and constantly reiterates his greatness in order to mask his shame. His arrogant pride holds great significance throughout his life. Hamlet suffers from a different type of character flaw. His goal is to avenge his father’s death. Hamlet’s cowardly attitude and indecisiveness delay him from reaching his goal—the death of his uncle. Though their imperfections exist, the next step decides who truly has the characteristic of a tragic hero. A tragic hero overcomes his flaw, therefore making him a hero. Though both Hamlet and Willy had a sense of self awareness, Willy did not overcome his pride. His unmistakable conceit poses great harm to his family, and so does his death. Though he thinks his suicide will benefit his family, overall it will cause them great distress....
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