Death of a Salesman

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The Tragedy of Willy Loman
A tragedy is a literary work in which the main character is brought to ruin, or suffers from extreme sorrow especially due to a tragic flaw, inability to cope, or moral weakness. A prime example of a tragedy is Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller. Miller shows this theme throughout his play through his main character Willy. Willy is unable to move on from his past failures, he constantly has flashbacks throughout the play of things relating to them. One of the major things that he is unable to cope with is Biff, and how he is a failure to Willy. He cannot get over the fact that Biff flunked math in high school, and why he didn’t just go to summer school to make it up. He has constant flashbacks about how he flunked, and the events leading up to that, as if he is trying to figure out what went wrong. One of the flashbacks he has is when him and his sons are in the restaurant talking about Biffs “meeting” with Bill Oliver. Willy has a flashback about the day Biff flunked, and starts yelling, “.. You had to go and flunk math!” “If you hadn’t flunked math you’d’ve been set by now!” (Miller 109) The boys are confused, seeing as it had nothing to do with what they were talking about, but to Willy it made sense because it related to the fact that once again Biff was presenting failure. He also has flashbacks about how Bernard had kept warning them that, “If he doesn’t buckle down he’ll flunk math!” (40). Willy’s inability to cope with the fact that Biff was going to fail is shown when he defends him saying “Theres nothing thematter with him!”(40) Willy believes that since Biffs, "..got spirit, personality.." (40) there's nothing wrong with him. His inability to face reality, impacts his judgement and affects those around him. Willy also has a problem getting over missed opportunities. One instance that continuously hangs over his head is missing his chance to go to Alaska with his brother, Ben. He makes a comment to Charley in act one...
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