Preview
Preview

The Tragedy in "Death of a Salesman" Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 916 words (2.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Yellow      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Modern domestic tragedies began between the late 19th century and feature ordinary people to be the heroes/anti-heroes unlike Greek tragedies in which the protagonist was of high status or noble birth. “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller is a classic example of this and features the anti-hero Willy showing the audience how his perfect family lifestyle has falling apart contributing to the disorder of his world which increases as his mind slowly deteriorates.
Through the play Willy is striving to live the American Dream; to have a better, richer and happier life. He is obsessed with materialism thinking that acquiring possessions will make him and his family happy. When Linda tries to mend her stockings, Willy tells her “I won’t have you mending stockings in this household”¹. This shows how he strives to bring the American dream home and how much he wants the rest of the family to believe in his dreams too. It also shows how guilty and remorseful he feels about his affair with ‘the woman’ who he gave new pairs of stockings to as a present which he should have saved for his ever-loyal wife at home.
Throughout the play the audience learn how importantly Willy feels about upholding his pride and morals. He teaches Biff and Happy that it is charisma and not brains which will make them successful. In his flashbacks he tells them “the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead”² and scorns Bernard who gets high grades. By being a salesman, he believed himself to be well liked and valued in society and he devoted his life to it. Accordingly, when Howard fires him from the company, his pride is ruined and he feels as though he has failed his family “(a...


... middle of paper ...


...alesmen will be there from all over the country and in that way he will be able to prove to Biff and his family that he was a great man to be proud of. “I am known...and he’ll see it with his eyes once and for all”¹³. However, no one but his family and next door neighbours, Charley, who Willy described as his “only friend”, and Bernard, arrive and both Biff and Happy see Willy to have taken the cowards way out as Ben had suggested. They realise that Willy’s life was a lie as Linda says “there’s more of him in that front stoop than all the sales he ever made”¹⁴. Even though all these points are evident in his funeral, tragedy is also presented in that Happy decides to take up Willy’s job as a salesman despite its leading Willy into so much despair. Happy is desperate to help Willy like he never allowed him to do in his life since his attention was focused on Biff.



Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Tragedy of "Death of a Salesman" Essay - In the writing world today, there are many definitions for technical terms that are used to describe certain genres of theatre, music and literature. There are romantic novels, musical dramas, and tragic plays. Tragedy is a difficult genre to pinpoint and label. The title ‘tragedy’ can be placed on virtually any piece of writing that involves a death. But it also is up to the individual as to what they believe a tragedy is defined as. The play, Death of a Salesman is not tragedy in the traditional sense of the word....   [tags: Literary Analysis]
:: 1 Works Cited
922 words
(2.6 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
Essay on The Tragedy of EveryMan in Death of a Salesman - The Tragedy of EveryMan in Death of a Salesman      "Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?" "I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money; his name was never in the paper; he's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid ... Attention, attention, must be finally paid to such a person." from Death of a Salesman   Only in America. The American Dream....   [tags: Death Salesman essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
1660 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about The Modern Tragedy: Death Of A Salesman - A Modern Tragedy A form of drama in which a person of superior intelligence and character is overcome by the very obstacles he/she is struggling 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 first tragedies, that only kings or nobility can be tragic heroes. Arthur Miller himself said, “I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were…[The same characteristics] which were enacted by royal beings…apply to everyone in similar emotional situations.” Dea...   [tags: essays research papers] 433 words
(1.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Death of A Salesman as a Modern Tragedy Essay - Death of A Salesman as a Modern Tragedy      It has been stated that the audience needs to have mixed feelings about the destruction of a human being for a play to be a tragedy. To establish Death of A Salesman as a tragedy, we must demonstrate that not only does the audience feel sadness due to Willy’s demise, but also they feel that justice has been exacted on Willy for his behavior. As this is the case I will first examine the reasons why the audience feels sadness for Willy, and then go on to see why it is that the audience also feels that Willy deserves the punishment which fate hands him....   [tags: Death Salesman loman ]
:: 4 Works Cited
1962 words
(5.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Death of a Salesman: Tragic but Not a Tragedy Essay - Death of a Salesman: Tragic but Not a Tragedy Though a more modern version of tragedy in its’ classical sense, Death of a Salesman in many ways is very much like an ancient Greek play. In his ‘Poetics’ Aristotle tries to set out the common ideas throughout tragedy, attempting to demystify the necessary elements for such plays. One of his main ideas was that of the ‘Three Unities’ - that of Space, that of Time and that of Action. He stated that all the action of a tragedy must occur in the place, which was often the front of a palace, which allowed the poet to have many characters coming and going, and allowed random meetings to occur easily, rather than having to ‘explain’ the reaso...   [tags: Death Salesman Arthur Miller essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1374 words
(3.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay about Death of a Salesman - A Modern Day Tragedy - Death of a Salesman - A Modern Day Tragedy The question which arises within Death of a Salesman is, 'Is this a modern Tragedy?' A tragic play can be commonly observed when a protagonist falls from a great height. His decline is not about immediate death, although in most cases death becomes apparent at the end of the play, e.g. Macbeth. A tragedy shows the suffering of a character and utter compulsion of him if he does not succeed to reach his dream. These plays show the blissful release from intolerable suffering this character feels....   [tags: Death of a Salesman] 1182 words
(3.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Death of a Salesman is a Tragedy as Defined in Miller's Tragedy and the Common Man - Death of a Salesman is a Tragedy as Defined in Miller's Tragedy and the Common Man In Tragedy and the Common Man, Arthur Miller discusses his definition and criteria for tragedy as they apply to the common man. The criteria and standards proposed by Miller may be used to evaluate his timeless work, Death of A Salesman. The first major standard of tragedy set forth is:  “...if the exaltation of tragic action were truly a property of the high-bred character alone, it is inconceivable that the mass of mankind should cherish tragedy above all other forms.” All persons regardless of background, nobility stature, rank, or pretended or actual social division can innately empathize with the tragic...   [tags: Death of a Salesman]
:: 1 Works Cited
1049 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay about Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is A Modern Tragedy - Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is A Modern Tragedy              In the fourth century B.C., Aristotle set forth his description of dramatic tragedy, and for centuries after, tragedy continued to be defined by his basic observations. It was not until the modern age that playwrights began to deviate somewhat from the basic tenets of Aristotelian tragedy and, in doing so, began to create plays more recognizable to the common people and, thereby, less traditional. Even so, upon examination, the basic plot structure of some modern tragedies actually differs very little from that of the ancient classics....   [tags: Death Salesman essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1053 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Common Man Tragedy in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Essay - The idea of dramatic tragedy is a classical one, discussed in Aristotle's Poetics. Before it can be established as to whether Miller really has written a tragedy or not, the very concept of tragedy must be investigated. Aristotle asserted, 'Tragedy is a representation, an imitation, of an action.1. He went on to outline the common features tragic drama must have. Tragedy has six elements, which, in order of importance, are: plot, character, thought, music, language, and spectacle. The plot requires peripeteia, anagnorisis, and cathartic effect....   [tags: Death of a Salesman Essays]
:: 8 Works Cited
1794 words
(5.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman as Epic Tragedy Essay - Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman as Epic Tragedy     Aristotle's Poetics defines the making of a dramatic or epic tragedy and presents the general principles of the construction of this genre. Surprisingly, over the centuries authors have remained remarkably close to Aristotle's guidelines. Arthur Miller's twentieth century tragedy Death of a Salesman is an example of this adherence to Aristotle's prescription for tragedy. It is significant to test Aristotle's definition and requirements of tragedy by comparison and contrast, against a contemporary tragedy and to make observations with regard to what influence society and culture may have on the genre....   [tags: Death Salesman essays Arthur Miller]
:: 7 Works Cited
1420 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]