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Discuss Death of a Salesman as a Tragedy. as Defined by Aristotle, Is It Correct to Label the Play as a Tragedy?

By | March 2006
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Research Paper
Discuss Death of a Salesman as a tragedy. As defined by Aristotle, is it correct to label the play as a tragedy?

Outline
I. INTRODUCTION
A. Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman"
B. Willy Loman spent his life searching for success and happiness based on self centered ideals and illusion II. MAIN BODY
A. Willy's Life
1. Grasping for success
a. Measurement of success
b. Distorted view
2. Self Worth
a. Successful men
b. Risk taker
3. Lack of happiness
a.Impacts the family
b.Delusional
III. CONCLUSION
A. Death of a Salesman is not a tragedy
B. Willy chose his path in life

Arthur Miller's play, "Death of a Salesman" is centered around Willy Loman a husband and father of two sons, who is grasping to attain his dreams and hopes of success and ruining his life and his families lives at the same time. Miller's play is seen by many as a tragedy. A tragedy, according to Aristotle in his Poetics, is a form of drama exciting the emotions of pity and fear. Aristotle further clarified that a tragedy depicts people of high noble character not by birth but by moral choice. A noble person is one who chooses to act nobly. "Tragic characters are those who take life seriously and seek worthwhile goals, while comic characters are "good-for-nothings" who waste their lives in trivial pursuits."(qtd. in Brown) Given the clarification by Aristotle "Death of a Salesman" does not fit Aristotle's model of a tragedy. Willy Loman spent his life searching for success and happiness based on self centered ideals and illusion.

Willy desperately grasped to be successful. Although his intent is worthwhile the ideals Willy uses to measure his success are self centered. As Willy tells a secret to his boys about one day owning his own business his son Happy makes a comparison to his "Uncle" Charley. Willy quickly points out that his business would be bigger (or more successful)...

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