A Tragic Hero of Just a Tragic Life

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Dramatists such as Aristotle started to write a series of plays called tragedies. They were as follows: the play revolved around a great man such as a king or war hero, who possessed a tragic flaw. This flaw or discrepancy would eventually become his downfall. These types of plays are still written today, for example, Arthur Millers "Death of Salesman" and Henrik Ibsens "A Dolls House." "Death of Salesman" shows the downfall of the modern tragic hero, Willy Loman, a middle class working man. Nora, in" A Doll's House" displays that characteristics of a tragic hero, in that she shows potential for greatness, but is stifled by her society. Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" and Nora in "A Dolls House" are two perfect examples that illustrate a tragic hero. In "Tragedy and the Common Man", Arthur Miller discusses different criteria and definitions for tragedy as they apply to the common man. Miller's ideal tragic hero is one who "is intent upon claiming his whole due as a personality," and when approached with a struggle, "demonstrating the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity." A tragic hero is willing to takes on the role of what makes the audience accept him as a hero when by his own virtue is worthy of their attention and perhaps respect. Miller's common man, Willy, fought the battle of life, by trying to make the best of what he was given, and by living life the only way he knows how, being a traveling salesman. Being prideful, and at times stubborn man, he loses some opportunities to better his life along the way, partly because of his pride, and partly because of the American lifestyle, Willy is still attempting to support his family, even at age sixty. Though we think of Willy as a classic tragic hero, his life is more pathetic and saddening than inspiring. His name implies he is a "low man", an ordinary man, whose dreams and expectations have been shattered by the false values of society he has put his faith in. His problems stem...
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