Death of a Salesman Essay

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“The Tragic Demise of a Tragic Hero”
Through the eyes of Aristotle, a tragedy depicts the downfall of a noble hero or heroine, whether it may be through death or a change in fortune, after they understand human fate and destiny. Many authors have used Aristotle’s wise words to create tragic novels which involve tragic heroes. A tragic hero has a powerful wish to achieve a goal but which inevitably encounters limits. In the case of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the limits that Willy Loman faces are human flaw and delusional personality. Death of a Salesman is a story about a mentally disturbed man named Willy Loman and how he lives his life before his death. Willy has many flashbacks and illusions throughout the novel explaining the many reasons why he decides to choose death over life. Many critics have questioned and debated whether or not Death of a Salesman can be categorized as a tragedy. Death of a Salesman is classified as a tragedy because Willy Loman experiences a tragic fall, Willy tries to recover his normal life, and Willy Loman is portrayed as a tragic hero. All tragedies must have a tragic hero who, in this case, is Willy Loman. Willy Loman tries so hard to make his family happy and to build a good life for his wife and sons. But, Willy stresses on being well liked by everyone rather than getting good grades in school. After Bernard, one of Biff’s classmates, tries to persuade Biff to study, Willy says that Biff should not worry about grades “because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead.”(33). Willy thinks that all you need to get a job is to know people and not because of your experience. He thinks that even if you have poor grades, if you look good and if you are popular and social you will succeed. This is Willy’s biggest flaw which makes him a perfect tragic hero. Willy fails to realize that not only does a man need to have a good appearance; he needs to...
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