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Death Of A Salesman A Modern Tragedy

818 words - 3 pages

The American TragedyDeath of a Salesman is typically classified as a modern tragedy. A form of drama in which a person of superior intelligence and character is overcome by the very obstacles they are struggling with to remove defines a tragedy, as most people know it. However, tragedy can reflect another aspect of life: the tragedies of the common people. Heroic behavior in these instances may at times be impossible. We expect, from reading the Aristotle tragedies, that only kings or nobility can be tragic heroes. Death of a Salesman can be defined as a tragedy, with Willy Loman as the tragic hero. Willy Loman has a tragic flaw characteristic of all tragic heroes, however, it is not necessarily a weakness. (Web) Willy has a lot of dignity, and he is unwilling to remain passive in the face of what he conceives to be a challenge to his dignity, his image of his rightful status. His tragic flaw leads to his death.According to Aristotle's famous definition of tragedy, the Death of a Salesman would not be considered as a tragic play. Miller's play does not depict the fall of a "great man" in the traditional sense, Willy Loman is neither a king or a nobleman, and has really achieved anything. Neither does the play take place within classical unities, such as in a castle with a king and in the medieval times. In Aristotle's case, the play would not be defined as a tragedy but using he definition and modern times now, we will see how the play in fact is a tragic story.The American Dream to the ideal American man is all about success and prosperity and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work. The main character, whose name is Willy Loman, thinks of nothing other than success through being a salesman. His American Dream consists of being a successful, well known and a well-liked salesman, and nothing else other than a salesman. This shows that he is very narrow minded about the American Dream and this is where his fault lies. This is very clear to the readers, in the scene where he is speaking to his boss, Howard. Willy here is asking for a New York job so he does not have to travel as much. Howard mentions there are no spots available, and through a series of back and forth arguing, Willy then gets fired. In...

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