Death of a Salesman – Pride; the Deterioration of Dignity Essay

Death of a Salesman – Pride; the Deterioration of Dignity Essay

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A tragic hero is commonly known as a character of nobility that undergoes a fatal change which ultimately results in a tragedy. Arthur Miller, however, has a slightly different view in regards to what a tragic hero is. He asserts that a tragic hero does not necessarily have to be a character of nobility, instead can be an average person in possession of a tragic flaw. In Death of a Salesman, a play written by Arthur Miller, the criteria of a modern tragic hero are best expressed and demonstrated through the main character, Willy Loman. Willy Loman’s tragic flaw would be his excessive and unwarranted pride. This is because his pride causes him to live his life in a world of delusion, ultimately resulting in his very death. Willy’s pride first leads him into misunderstanding and mistreating his family, consequently resulting in family feuds and resentment. It then leads him into building his life out of false hopes, consequently resulting in his absolute failure in the business world. Finally, it results in him living an incredibly narcissistic and delusional life; to a point where he believes that he can attain fame and success through suicide. As it has been thoroughly demonstrated by Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, having excessive pride in one’s self can ultimately derail an individual’s life into a mass pit of delusion and failure.
Willy Loman’s false pride leads him to believe that he has been successful as a father. He remembers how he was once looked up by his children, especially by his son Biff. However, Willy fails to realize that the relationship he once had with his son Biff has been broken, due to the fact that Biff caught Willy in an affair he was having with another girl; Biff was heartbroken to fin...


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...corrupt the life of a good individual, ultimately resulting in detriment and turmoil. Having excessive pride in one’s self can deteriorate ones relationships with friends and family, resulting in the isolation and depression of that individual. It can also cause one to establish false and unattainable hopes, consequently resulting in delusion and harsh disappointment. Finally, it can completely deteriorate the mental health of an individual, to a point where one can simply not concede failure and generally, accept reality. Once an individual begins to build up excessive pride, their lives will plummet into adversity, and ultimately they will die as a failure. To maintain a good life, abstain from building up excessive self pride, and avoid becoming a tragic hero.



Works Cited
1. Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Penguin Classics, London, England, 1961.

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