Death of a Salesman and the Tragic Hero: Analysis

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Just in Case “Tragic Hero” Isn’t Said Enough…..
Way back in the history of time, a philosopher named Aristotle set up guidelines, six in all, for the perfect tragic hero. Vincent Van Gogh was a tragic hero. He had the gift of being able to paint and perceive colors different from others, but he was a drunk, and hated by most of the people around him. In the end he committed suicide. Long after his death people had come to love his work. Willy Lowman from “Death of a Salesman” is a wonderful model of the tragic hero Aristotle painted for us.

Willy Lowman was a man trying to live out the American dream. Linda was his stay at home wife and he had two point five sons, Biff and Happy. He worked as a salesman to support his family, “I’m the New England man, I’m vital in New England” (pg. 163). He worked hard for thirty four years at the Wagner Company. His inspiration was Dave Singleman, a man who could go into a town, pick up a phone, and be able to place many orders without ever leaving his hotel room. When Singleman died, people from all over the country came to his funeral.

Even though Willy was a hard working man, he still had qualities or faults that made him human: “Other men- I don’t know- they do it easier. I don’t know why- I can’t stop myself- I talk too much” (pg 180). Willy had simple and common human faults such as talking too much, speaking of frequent fatigue, and his constant lustful appetite. Willy found himself slowly not having enough money to suffice for his family. Each week he brought in less and less income.

Willy’s ultimate downfall was he refused to come to reality; he was living in an illusion. He continuously flashed back throughout the play to when his sons were in high school, when his brother Ben visited, and when he was having an affair with a woman in another town. Willy wasn’t well-liked by the people he worked with, and he was borrowing money from his neighbor Charley to pay his insurance bill, even though Willy was too...
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