Tragedy in Death of a Salesman

Topics: Tragedy, Death of a Salesman, Drama Pages: 3 (1130 words) Published: January 8, 2013
Tragedy in Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller depicts a salesman, named Willy Loman in the play Death of a Salesman. Faced with hardships and troubles, Willy maneuvers in ways that cause his unfortunate outcome. In the tragedy, Death of a Salesman, the main protagonist Willy Loman’s fatal flaws were his unrelenting pride and his inability to face reality, which ultimately led to his demise. This novel is a tale about the tragedy that was the life of Willy Loman. A tragedy is a “serious drama” that depicts a “conflict” between the protagonist and a “superior force” such as which ends up with “disastrous consequences” that elicits “pity”. (Merriam Webster) Death of a Salesman is a tragedy because the main protagonist is a man filled with unrealistic hopes and dreams that lead to his demise. Although the story portrays a tragedy, I believe Willy Loman attempted to find optimism in defeat. By definition, a tragic hero is “a great or virtuous character in a dramatic tragedy that is destined for downfall, suffering, or defeat.” ( Willy’s life resembled that of a tragic hero, he was not one by definition because there was nothing great or virtuous about him. He was an average person who lived a tragic life. As one critic suggests, “Willy Loman is too far down the social scale to be considered a classical “tragic hero” he represents the average man.” We learn that he made mistakes just like any other human being. In fact, one of the mistakes he made changed the very way he lived his life and perceived himself. In the beginning of the story, Willy cheats on his wife and is caught by his son Biff, which negatively affects their long-term relationship. As a result, Willy always feels guilty, leading to a constant struggle between father and son about almost everything. One example of this is in Act II, after arguing Biff says to his father, “Dad, you’re never going to see what I am, so what’s the use of arguing? If I strike oil, I’ll send you a check....

Cited: 1. Miller, Arthur, and Gerald Clifford. Weales. Arthur Miller: Death of a Salesman, Text and Criticism. New York. Penguin, 1996. Print.
2. "Tragedy." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 09 Apr. 2012. .
3. "Tragic Hero." Web. 08 Apr. 2012. .
4. Literary Criticism Attached
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