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Willy Loman as a Tragic Hero in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Essay

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Willy Loman as a Tragic Hero in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Should 'Willy Loman' of Arthur Millers classic, Death of a Salesman be
regarded as a tragic hero, or merely a working-class, socially
inadequate failure? Described by Miller as a "self-destructive,
insecure anti-hero", it seems almost impossible for Loman to be what
is known as a tragic hero in the 'classical' sense, but with the
inclusion of other factors he maybe a tragic hero, at least in the
modern context, or partially suit one nonetheless.

To make the decision as to Whether Loman is a tragic hero or not, one
must define the term 'tragic hero' and reveal its development in
theatre over the course of time. The tragic hero first defined by
Aristotle in the Poetics, "...sees the rise of a noble character
(employing artistically enhanced language); presented in dramatic
form. Due to a character flaw and a seemingly unchangeable series of
events, their demise is met, resulting in a pitiable and fearful
scenario, leading to catharsis." According to Aristotle, fate and the
wish of the Gods played a large component in the falling of the tragic
hero and nothing at all could be done to stop this. On the contrary
some centuries later Shakespeare, whose collection of plays included
many tragedies, decided his plays would rely less on fate and more
blame would be attributed to the character involved and those
surrounding him. As time moved on to the 20th century Miller further
developed his own beliefs on tragedy, laying nearly one hundred
percent of the blame on the character. This was due to his disbelief
in 'forces below the surface'' but that rather forces at work, with...


... middle of paper ...


...f this modern story can takeits place alongside other great
classic tragedies?

I believe it must take its place along side other great classic
tragedies whilst also challenging old meanings and thus improving them
to suit what going on at present. A new definition is not really
needed just an improved one as, the developments in society such as
science do tend to steer our view away from factors such as fate.
Therefore I propose tragedy as: "The rise of a noble character (be
them of royal blood or just the common man); presented in dramatic
form. Due to a character flaw or flaws and the involvement of outside
help, their demise is met, resulting in a pitiable and fearful
scenario, leading to catharsis." And that Willy Loman in his situation
can be classified according this new meaning as a Modern day tragic
hero.


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