Death of a Salesman and All My Sons as Optimistic Tragedies

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Death of a Salesman and All My Sons as Optimistic Tragedies

This essay deals with Arthur Miller, and his uniqueness as a tragic playwright. The research question that this paper attempted to answer was, why were Miller's plays different from many other tragedies. Two of Arthur Miller's tragedies were used in this essay, Death of a Salesman and All My Sons. The thesis of this essay is, Arthur Miller deviates from the standard perception of tragedy in his plays, Death of a Salesman and All My Sons because unlike other tragedies, they are optimistic in that the main character causes the tragedy for what they perceive to be the greater good.

The body of this essay starts out with a discussion of tragedy, and the commonly viewed perception of it, one of pessimism. It goes into detail of several different definitions of tragedy, made by literary critics. The "tragic flaw" is discussed and proven to be a major part of a tragedy, especially Miller's. Death of a Salesman is used to prove this statement. The idea that Miller's plays are optimistic is discussed in great detail. Both plays are used to prove this concept, as well as essays written by literary critics with opinions on this topic. One of the major points in this essay is Miller's use of love. Love is a dominant emotion throughout the tragedies. The important thing about the love is that it is one of the main reasons that the characters do what they do to cause the tragedy.

The conclusion of this essay enforces the idea that Arthur Miller's plays are unique from other tragedies. It reinstates the thesis and the reason that it is true. The conclusion also summarizes the most important points of the essay and ends the paper tying everything together.

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7. Carson, Neil. "A View from the Bridge and the Expansion of Vision." Bloom, Harold, ed. Arthur Miller: Modern Critical Views. New York: Chelsea House Publishers. (1987) p 94.

8. Hayman, Ronald. Arthur Miller. New York: Frederick Ungar Publiching Co. (1956); p 43.

9. Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York: The Viking Press (1958); p 133.

10. Hayman, Ronald. Arthur Miller. New York: Frederick Ungar Publiching Co. (1956); p 55.

11. Miller, Arthur. "Introduction to Collected Plays." Weales, Gerald, ed. Death of a Salesman: Text and Criticism. New York: Penguin Books (1996); p163.

12. Miller, Arthur. Six Great Modern Plays: All My Sons. New York: Dell Publishing Co. (1956); p 420.

13. Gross, Barry. "All My Sons and the Larger Context." Martine, James J., ed. Critical Essays on Arthur Miller. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co. (1979); p 12.

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