Unaccepted Realities

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Unaccepted Realities

Sophocles’ “Oedipus the King” and Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” are dramas demonstrating how life can produce tragedy when a person fails to accept reality. The unwillingness of both Oedipus and Willy to accept reality, along with their pride, leads to selfish and disastrous actions, in spite of their contrasting social statuses and values. Their determination and motivation to rise above their struggles and maintain a positive outcome in their lives unluckily surrenders to tragic descents, as Sophocles and Miller portray tragic heroes from different spectrums in life.

Oedipus and Willy are incapable of accepting the truth. Both cannot accept their circumstances, and use explanations to disavow reality. Oedipus is unwillingly to accept certainty, upon recognizing that Lauis’ death may have been by his hands, as he desperately clasps to the hope of being innocent by the only witness of the murder. Oedipus’ says to Iocaste, “if his account of murder tallies yours, then I am cleared” (Sophocles 1227). Oedipus refuses to believe that he committed murder, in spite of actually killing men on the very road on which Laius was slain. Willy displays a similar delusional mindset when he states, “that’s why I thank Almighty God you're both built like Adonises. Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want” (Miller 1777). Willy’s undeniably believes that a well-liked and good-looking man receives advantages within America, in spite of the unproductive results from Biff and Happy, is an improbable concept that lives only in his mind. Oedipus and Willy’s lack of self-awareness and unconsciousness of essential truths about themselves and their lives continuously traps them in a world void of reality.

A component of pride and self-sacrifice for the sake of others is also mutual ground for Oedipus and...
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