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Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller: Willy Loman Is Not A Tragic Hero

978 words - 4 pages

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller: Willy Loman is NOT a Tragic Hero

In The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, it is argued weather that Willy Loman is a tragic hero. There are cases for both classifications of Willy. By definition, a tragic hero is a person born into nobility, is responsible for their own fate, endowed with a tragic flaw, and doomed to make a serious error in judgment. The tragic hero eventually falls from great esteem. They realize they have made an irreversible mistake, faces death with honor, and dies tragically. The audience also has to be affected by pity or fear for the tragic hero. In order for Willy Loman to be a tragic hero, he has to fulfill all of these descriptions. Willy Loman fits into some of these descriptions but not all. Therefore, Willy Loman is not a tragic hero (#2).

The descriptions of a tragic hero that Willy Loman do not fits in are: he is not born in to nobility, he is not endowed with a tragic flaw, and he never realized that he made an irreversible mistake. Oedipus is the epitome of a tragic hero. He exemplifies all of the descriptions of Aristotle’s tragic hero. First, he is the son of a king and queen. Oedipus is also responsible for his own fate. He does kill his father and marry his mother, both willingly. Oedipus’s flaw is that he is to prideful. His pride caused the death of his father, by him not getting out of the road, and caused his exile because he insisted that the killer be found. He falls from the greatest heights a man could fall. He went from being a king to a blind exile in a matter of minutes. Oedipus realizes his mistake of being full of pride, causing the deaths of both his parents. He then gouges out his eyes and wonders of into the desert (#4). Willy Loman is the son of a middle-class man. He has been working as a traveling salesman for the last forty years. This is not the life of nobility. Nobility is someone that is of a high social class. A nobleman could also be a person in a position of high authority. Willy Loman was a peon of the firm that he was selling for. At one point, he may have been respected, but that time has come and gone. Willy Loman was not endowed with a tragic flaw. His failure in life came from the pretensions of the American dream. All he wants in life was to support his family and see his sons be productive in life. This is at time in American society when many people essentially worked themselves to death. Society cannot be a character flaw, because it represents everyone, not just a tragic flaw in a single man (#1). One could argue that Willy Loman’s tragic flaw was his pride. This was one of Willy’s flaws, but it does not cause his death. His pride kept him...

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