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Is "Death Of A Salesman" A Literary Tradegy?

698 words - 3 pages

Arthur Miller's, "Death of a Salesman" is a tragic story. It is a story about a man who has spent 40 years chasing an unattainable goal, while the most important issues fall to the wayside. This is a man with many flaws; the most harmful flaw of all being his persistence in chasing what he believes to be the "American Dream". In doing so, he becomes a lost, delusional soul, eventually giving in to suicide. After his death, his family is left alone, without even the benefit of an insurance settlement. This story is indeed a real tragedy.Willy Loman is a common, average man, whose goals and expectations are shattered by the fictitious ideals of the society he has put his faith in. He spends the majority of his life in pursuit of the "American Dream" only to find bitter disappointment and rejection. Willy most likely has good intentions and wants nothing more than to be liked and admired. ...view middle of the document...

He even tells Linda, his wife, "If old man Wagner was alive I'd a been in charge of New York now!" (Miller, 1826). Being unable to cope with the loss and the rejection, Willy lies to his family about his success.Pride is one of Willy's biggest flaws. It is his pride that prevents him from being honest with his family and facing the fact that he is losing everything. After he gets fired, a long-time friend offers him a job and he immediately rejects it, saying to his friend, "I--I just can't work for you, Charley" (Miller, 1867). He would rather borrow the money and present it to his wife as money he has earned on the road.Willy's relentlessness in the pursuit of success dominates the lives of his wife and children as well as his own. His family knows that Willy is lying to them, but they hide that fact from him. Maybe to protect him, but without realizing it, they are actually enabling him. During a confrontation near the end of the play, Biff, the oldest son, reveals to his father that they know he plans to commit suicide. Biff also reveals that they know about his job and the lies Willy has been telling to them. Biff becomes very angry and says to his father, "We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house" (Miller, 1884). It becomes clear that Willy's deceit and his own family's determination to protect him are having obvious ramifications. No one is left unaffected by the course that Willy's life has taken.Willy Loman never reaches his goal of being the successful, respected man he desires to be. After losing his job, and subsequently, his identity, Willy hits the proverbial "rock bottom". He views suicide as the only possible solution to be able to provide for his family. Unbeknownst to him, the insurance benefits will never be received by his family. This is a very sad and tragic story, not only for Willy Loman, but for the family that he is survived by.Works cited: Meyer, The Bedford Introduction to Literature--Plays for further reading, Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller.

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