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Discusses Willy Loman As A Tragic Hero In Arthur Miller's Play "Death Of A Salesman"

959 words - 4 pages

#2) Discuss Willy Loman as a tragic hero: Based your understanding of what being a hero means. You are, of course, free to differ with the designation.No one has a perfect life. Everyone has conflicts that they mustface sooner or later. The ways in which people deal with these personalconflicts can differ as much as the people themselves. Some insist onignoring the problem as long as possible, while some attack the problem toget it out of the way. Willy Lowman's technique in Arthur Miller's playDeath of a Salesman, leads to very severe consequences. Willy never reallydoes anything to help the situation, he just escapes into the past, whetherintentionally or not, to happier times were problems were scarce. He usesthis escape as if it were a narcotic, and as the play progresses, the readerlearns that it can be a dangerous drug, because of it's addictiveness andit's deadliness.The first time Willy is seen lapsing off into the past is when heencounters Biff after arriving home. The conversation between Willy andLinda reflects Willy's disappointment in Biff and what he has become, whichis, for the most part, a bum. After failing to deal adequately with hisfeelings, he escapes into a time when things were better for his family. Itis not uncommon for one to think of better times at low points in their lifein order to cheer themselves up so that they are able to deal with theproblems they encounter, but Willy Lowman takes it one step further. Hisrefusal to accept reality is so strong that in his mind he is transportedback in time to relive one of the happier days of his life. It was a timewhen no one argued, Willy and Linda were younger, the financial situationwas less of a burden, and Biff and Happy enthusiastically welcomed theirfather back home from a long road trip. Willy's need for the 'drug' issatiated and he is reassured that everything will turn out okay, and thefamily will soon be as happy as it was in the good old days.The next flashback occurs during a discussion between Willy and Linda.Willy is depressed about his inability to make enough money to support hisfamily, his looks, his personality and the success of his friend and neighbor, Charley. 'My God if business doesn't pick up , I don't know whatI'm gonna do!' is the comment made by Willy after Linda figures thedifference between the family's income and their expenses. Before Linda hasa chance to offer any words of consolation Willy blurts out 'I'm Fat. I'mvery--foolish to look at, Linda'. In doing this he has depressedhimself so much that he is visited by a woman with whom he is having anaffair. The woman's purpose in this point of the play is to cheer him up.She raises his spirits by telling him how funny and loveable he is, saying'You do make me laugh....And I think you're a wonderful...

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