According to Aristotle, a tragic hero is one of noble upbringing who undergoes a reversal of fortune. The hero must then realize that their peripetia is a direct result of their own tragic flaw. King Lear in William Shakespeare’s King Lear and Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman both share the tragic flaw of being blind to reality, but Lear fits the remainder of Aristotle’s description more accurately. It is evident that Lear holds these tragic qualities because he is born of a noble birth, receives pity, and is able to see the truth. On the contrary, Willy Loman lacks these same characteristics. As a result, he fails to accept his mistakes unlike Lear did, proving that the one who more precisely
At the beginning of the play it is evident that he cannot determine the realities of life, and so he repeatedly contradicts himself to establish that his conclusion is correct and opinion accepted. These numerous contradictions demonstrate that Willy is perturbed of the possibility that negative judgements may come from others. Willy strongly believes that “personality always wins” and tells his sons that they should “be liked and (they) will never want”. In one of Willy’s flashbacks he recalls the time when his sons and him were outside cleaning their Chevy. Willy informs Biff and Happy the success of his business trips and how everyone residing in Boston adores him. He mentions that due to the admiration of people he does not even have to wait in lines. He ultimately teaches his sons that being liked by others is the way to fulfilling one’s life and removing your worries. These ideals, that one does not need to work for success, demonstrate Willy’s deluded belief of achieving a prosperous life from the admiration and acceptance of others. This ultimately proves to be a false ideology during his funeral, when an insufficient amount of people arrive. Willy constantly attempts to obtain other’s acceptance through his false tales that depict him as a strong, successful man. In the past, he attempts to lie to his wife, Linda, about the amount of wealth he has attained during his
Willy is a salesman trying to find success in a country known for its endless amount of opportunities. He grows up seeing how successful his brother, Ben, has become and because of this he is determined to succed in his lifetime. He wants to show his family that they can achieve whatever they put their mind to. Willy sees the American dream as the ability to become prosperous by the amount of individuals that like him. It is easily shown that he feels personality, not hard work and improvement, is the key to living a successful life. “You and Hap and I, and I’ll show you all the towns… And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ‘cause one thing, boys: I have friends. I can park my car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own…” (Miller 24). Willy always raised his kids to think being popular and well liked was most important. He told them that if they had those two traits t...
As someone who is on the other side of success, Willy has an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. He has lost most of the business contacts he enjoyed when he was younger, and has not been successful in updating his selling methods for the generation he is now interacting with. His relationship with everyone centers on fantasies and exaggerated truths, and is an attempt to show to others that he is successful, but most see through this and it ultimately results in his alienation from society. The American Dream for Willy is elusive even though he worked hard and followed its success formula. Hi...
Willy Loman’s character is capable of making errors. He believes he is a very successful salesman and well liked. He also thinks that the company likes what he is doing. He once said, “I’m the New England man. I am vital in New England” (Miller pg. 32) Because of his false belief about his success Howard fired him. After he got fired charley offered him a job, but he refuses to accept, because he is too proud and jealous to work for Charley. His actions were wrong because at no time was a successful salesman. He is not a powerful character. Willy lives in his fantasies where he is the man. Who goes out to another place and comes out rich, he is love by everyone and admired by his family. In real life, he is lazy and does not live up to his own ideals. “As Aristotle explains, a tragic hero must be one of noble character and must fall from power and happiness.”(Www.ccd.rightchoice.org/lit115/poetics.html) but Willy neither has a noble characteristic nor does he fall from power because he does not have a position of power.
They argue that the character Willy Loman fits the mold of a tragic hero, a misguided man unaware of his flaws who comes to discover them through his journey but ends up dying in a tragic way in the end in grand release of tension. However, Willy Loman doesn’t reach the standard of a high status that is required to be a tragic hero. He is simply a typical man, a simple salesman. Willy is not even great at being a salesman or even a husband and father, the only roles he plays in his simple life. He never comes to discover his many flaws, he is deluded until the very end. The only consistency Willy has with a tragic hero is the tragic end. But the audience does not experience a catharsis of emotions, the audience can anticipate the miserable way Willy goes out but when it happens there is still a lingering air of unresolved misery and , especially for his
Willy had affected his family with the obsession of the American Dream and this has caused suffering in his family. Each family member responded differently to Willy, however he caused them all suffering. Linda lived in fear of Willy committing suicide, Biff believed he was unsuccessful most of his life, and Happy was always looking for approval which he never received. Willy’s interactions with his family affected how they felt and inadvertently because of him they all suffered. Without Willy’s obsession with the American Dream they all could have lived happier lives and if that doesn’t make one wonder how slightly twisting an ideal can ruin one's life what
The American Dream has long turned sour for Willy. At the beginning of his life, he remembers travelling in a wagon going westward. His parents conquered the new frontier and succeeded. His brother Ben, “Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich'; (1811). For a while, the American Dream was alive in Willy too. He helped stake out new territories by selling his goods, his son Biff was going to a university with a scholarship and he had a home with no apartments closing in on him. But now, Willy is forced to work on commission at an old age and ultimately fired by his godson. His favored son Biff is also a hopeless dreamer, unable to hold on to a job. Willy’s “fatherly advice'; advocated “…it’s not what you do. It’s who you know and the smile on your face'; (1833). Willy’s delusions of fame and fortune infected his own life and spread to the sons he had placed such high hopes on.
Willy is blind to the reality around him. This blindness, is his tragic flaw like that of Oedipus Rex. Willy is a dreamer who is unable to face the realities of a modern day society. Willy builds his whole life around the philosophy that if a person is well likedand good looking, he will be successful. Willy says to Biff, "I thank Almighty God that you are both are built like Adonises." Later, Willy makes the comment, "Be liked and you will never want." His need to be well liked is so strong that his choices throughout his life, and his blindness to the reality around him, prevents Willy from realizing his dreams and values were flawed.
Willy wants his family and children to have as much as possible, as he thinks the more material things they have in their life that more people will like them and it will bring them happiness. “Never mind there is something I want you to have “This is what Willy said to his son after Biff was caught stealing a football; Instead of punishing him he gave him a punching bag for a gift. Whatever Willy could do or anything he could give his family to make them happy he would, but when Willy has reached an age that he can’t compete with the other traveling salesman his job was terminated. After being faced with the conflict of losing his job his life with his family starts to take a downfall. Without a job Willy cannot provide for the family and everything he says or does is a lie. He is very insecure about himself, lying to himself and his family makes him feel better. Willy tends to hide his anxiety with being cocky and arrogant. Instead of searching for another job he conti...