At the heart of tragic experience is the disillusionment with love. To what extent do you agree with this view?
The feeling of disillusionment is a recurring aspect in Keats and Death of a salesman and it usually occurs as a result of love. The knight in La belle dame sans merci was extremely infatuated with the “faery’s” “wild, wild eyes” and “light feet” that he failed to see the underlying danger that she possessed causing him to lose touch with reality. Beauty clouded the tragic hero’s judgement just like the “pale princess and warriors” and in the end their disillusionment with love propelled their downfall further. Some critics suggest that, La belle can be regarded as a warning against the absorbing nature of illusory, passionate love that defies reason. Therefore, at the heart of tragic experience may be the disillusionment with love.
However, Willy Loman is a victim of society and might not be guilty because he is trapped by an unjust system emphasised by the “towering, angular shapes surrounding it on all sides” showing a capitalist society that has overpowered Willy and one that does not consider a man's devotion to his job, and by his two sons who turn their backs to a father who deposited all his aspirations on them, arousing pity on the audience. The inevitability of trying to escape their real selves, and their inability to overcome a confrontation with the truth is what makes Willy’s characters tragic heroes. Death of a Salesman starts when Willy Loman is “tired to death" due to an excess of work, this foreshadows his tragic fall. Therefore, it can be argued that at the heart of tragic experience is not always the disillusionment with love.
On the other hand, Lycius also associated beauty with love from the moment he met Lamia, “his eyes had drunk her beauty up/ leaving no drop in the bewildering cup” The extended drinking metaphor conveys the literal impossibility of true love and portrays Lamia as a femme fatale because men fall in love with her simply by the sights of her beauty. Keats believed that desire must be curbed by restraint and that love must harmonise with it. Furthermore, Lycius’ fear of time being short “cup was full while he afraid,” represents his ability to exist in a state of negative capability and this could be also seen as the tragic flaw that allows him to be a tragic hero. Lycius’ hubris removes him from reality as he plans to parade Lamia to show off her “beauty.” This emphasises Jessica Maldruga’s view that 'the issue of control is a main idea...