An Essay On Arthur Miller's "Death Of A Salesman".

860 words - 3 pages

What are the basic elements of tragedy? Arthur Miller believes that the common man is just as fitting to be a tragic figure as a king. However, this argument can be supported as well as it can be argued. The most common elements in a tragedy are that the figure be of noble status, have at least one tragic flaw, and gain tragic awareness before losing their life. Willy Loman can be considered a tragic figure as well as just plain pathetic. The characteristic of blind faith is the deciding factor on whether Willy Loman is tragic, pathetic, or both.Willy Loman can be considered a tragic figure because he has a tragic flaw which eventually leads to his death. Miller also considers Loman to be a tragic figure because he is a common man that everyone can relate to. Willy Loman's major tragic flaw was his blind faith that if you work hard you will succeed, and his faith in the goodness of people. Miller also commented that, "... the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life... to secure... his sense of personal dignity." (pg 1) This description fits Willy Loman because he was willing to die to provide for his family and to keep his "dignity." Another characteristic that Loman possessed was that he feared people no longer respected him and viewed him as a salesman, he realized that people were laughing at him and making fun of him. "The quality in such plays that does shake us, however, derives from the underlying fear of being displaced,... being torn away from our chosen image of what and who we are in this world. ... it is the common man who knows this fear best." (pg 2) Willy Loman's tragic flaw, blind faith, led to him making many mistakes. One of his mistakes was that he believed Howard would allow him to have a job in New York so he didn't have to travel just because he was with the company for so long and knew Howard's father. Another mistake Loman made was not accepting the job that Charley offered him. His blind faith and dignity wouldn't allow Willy to accept the job. Willy Loman makes a good tragic figure in many respects, but he doesn't fit all of the necessary criteria.Willy Loman is just as easily considered pathetic as he is tragic. First of all, he never gains tragic awareness which a tragic figure is supposed to do before he...

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