This truly does make him a tragic hero. Willy Loman is a tragic figure in the play Death of a Salesman. Willy faces a superior source in the play and puts his life on the line for his beliefs and the beliefs of others. He meets the requirements of Miller’s article for a tragic hero. Death of a Salesman also meets Miller’s requirements for a tragic play because of Willy’s role in the novel along with the other standards that Miller sets for a tragedy.
Provide detailed background on the playwright and his method of inquiry. Death of a Salesman is one of Arthur Miller’s most famous works. It talks about the painful encounters within one family. It also tackles larger problems about American values. The play shows the faith in the American Dream.
“This original deception dooms him to a life of touring and a hobby of prideful rationalization, until at the age of sixty he is so far along his tangent that his efforts not to admit resultant mediocrity are fatal.” (Hawkins 202). Hawkins eloquently describes Willy’s attitude throughout the play. He states that Willy, in searching for success, looses sight of the truth because of his “prideful rationalization.” However, Willy does know the truth about himself, his father and his brother, but he does not want to believe it. Willy continues to voluntarily stay blinded so he can blissfuly imagine a “perfect” life when, in fact, it never was anything close to perfect. So, instead of believing, or even considering, the truth he continues down the path that he started on years ago.
He was reprimanding and made it seem as though Willy’s contributions to the company were meaningless. In conclusion, Howard’s combination of ignorance and his lack of empathy lead to the majority of Willy’s internal turmoil and most of the conflict in the book. It’s caused by Howard’s position of success, following the American Dream to its fullest. Willy’s treatment, Howard’s ignorance of Willy’s lifestyle and misplaced values are all byproducts of Howard’s own lifestyle. The contrast between Howard and Willy accentuates the tragic outcome of the story, knowing that it didn’t have to end with Willy’s death if only Howard was more focused on people than money.
Tragic Hero in Death of a Salesman Produced in the end of modernism, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman portrays a tragic story behind the American Dream. The play encompasses over a life of an average salesman, whose personal failure consumed on his deceptive and deluded life. Aristotle would perceive the downfall of the main character, Willy, as an intellectual error – not a moral error for he had fallen into an error in judgment. Furthermore, Miller combines the Aristotelian principles of tragedy and immerses it in a relatable context for the common people. Although Willy Loman fails to come into self-realization before his death, he, by the Aristotelian definition of tragic flaw and Miller’s belief in the mistakes the “common man,” is
As Pamela Loos says, “Willy Loman fails to understand himself and esteems a career path that goes against who he truly is,” this keeps him from ever being happy with himself. It is easy to see that these problems hurt his personal relationships with Biff and Happy, and they keep them from having a stable family. As the story unfolds, the flaws that each character possesses begin to all come back to Willy, and the way that he conducted his life. Early on in the story, it is clear that the brothers are very different, but each of them shares something with Willy. Biff is the all-american boy, and seems to have everything going for him.
Throughout the play, the most important reason causing Willy’s failure in achieving his goal seems to be his own inability to recognize the unpleasant reality while continually living in a slanted fantasy that his mind has created. Throughout his life, Willy Loman experiences much despair and abandonment which has indirectly caused his failure and affected him as an individual in the end. At a young age, the departures of Willy’s father and Ben drive Willy to lose himself and strive for the American Dream. Over time, Willy buys into the dream so thoroughly that he tends to ignore the tangible reality around him and see only the pleasant results of one’s success but not the practical ability or hard work required. Willy frequently lies to his family about his income and status while keeps borrowing money from Charley, because he still believes he is a hugely successful salesman in his own world of delusion.
And the answer is that he has written a confused play because he has been unwilling or unable to commit himself to a firm position with respect to American culture. Miller prepares us for stock response-relief in escape to the West and the farm; firm satisfaction in the condemnation of the tawdry business ethic.1and then denies us the fulfillment of our expectations. The play makes, finally, no judgment on America, although Miller seems always on the verge of one, of telling us that America is a nightmare, a cause of and a home for tragedy. But Willy is not a tragic hero; he is a foolish and ineffectual man for whom we feel pity. We cannot equate his failure with America's (Eisinger .0 p. 174.
The downfall and crisis points in the play are directly linked to the Loman family's combined harmartias, or personal flaws. The Loman's have unrealistic ideas regarding the meaning of success. To Willy, the foundation of success is not education or hard work, but rather "who you know and the smile on your face." Moreover, Willy ridicules the education Bernard has earned, declaring that his sons, Biff and Hap, will get further ahead in the business world because "the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked, and you will never want."
This furthermore leads to the downfall of Willy and his family, proving that Willy Loman is a tragic hero. To conclude, “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller satisfies the criteria for a tragic play because Willy’s pride is a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall. Ultimately, Willy gains enlightenment of his false perception of life and realizes how he inhibits the success of his family. This epiphany leads him to sacrifice himself for the well-being of his family. During his lifetime, Willy’s pride caused him to have an overinflated ego, a bizarre idealistic view on life, and a false value system.