Death of a Salesman

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It is known that in literature, a tragedy is one of the most popular genres. It always combines some story which discusses human sufferings with a certain sense of audience fulfillment. The roots of the tragedy are related to ancient Greece. A Greek tragedy is a sad story, which represents a character with a tragic flaw leading to his downfall. In addition, in traditional tragedy, the main character falls from high authority and often it is predetermined by fate, while the audience experiences catharsis (Bloom 2). Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman is considered to be a tragedy because this literary work has some of the main characteristics of the tragedy genre. In this play, the main character Willy Loman possesses such traits and behaviors that lead to his downfall, and the audience experiences catharsis. Willy Loman as a real tragic hero comes to the decision to commit suicide because of serious financial problems of his family (Phelps 79). This play has already been criticized by a number of literary critics who represented different opinions on the plot of the book. The major goal of this paper is to critically evaluate the play Death of a Salesman written by the well-known American writer Arthur Miller, paying special attention to the play’s characteristics of a tragedy.

In the play Death of a Salesman, the author investigates human nature and represents his main character as a person whose dissatisfaction with his own life leads to his tragic end. The plot of this literary work is rather simple. The play consists of two acts. In the first act, Willy Loman, the main character of Miller’s play returns home from New York. It is found that his goal was to travel to Boston, but he could not achieve this goal and returned home. The author of the play states that Willy’s personal dissatisfaction is the result of the tension in interpersonal relations between him, his wife Linda, and their two sons Biff and Happy. The first act of the play is focused on such issues as Willy Loman’s emotional instability because of his personal dissatisfaction, Biff’s frustration and the family’s financial problems. Moreover, the author represents his story is such a way that Willy’s emotional instability leads to the tension in relationships between Willy and Biff, who is also unhappy because of his professional failure. Willy says: “The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich!” (Miller 31).

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