Similarities Connecting Two Tragedies: The Fundamentals of Human Nature and the Evolvement of Culture

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June 8, 2010 The multiple similarities between the two tragedy’s “Oedipus the King” and “Death of a Salesman” surpass the differences and reveal the significance of dramatic tragedy throughout the ages. The creative, innovation of Greek tragedy continues to provide generations with a platform in which they can modify and ultimately provide relevancy to their culture. Upon analysis of these two dramatic tragedies, one can observe the distinct similarities regarding the basics of human nature. This evidence confirms the credibility of the age old saying “the more things change the more they stay the same”. This paper will focus on the following: the analysis of the similarities, the similarities in detail, and the meaning behind the similarities concerning “Oedipus the King” and the “Death of a Salesman”. Originating in Greece, tragedies were and remain a common and popular form of dramatic entertainment. To be considered an authentic tragedy, the protagonist must be one of aristocracy. This noble character begins the story as a likeable person whose destined fate is foreshadowed in dramatic irony to the reader. The reader is aware of the errors in judgment that the protagonist is inflicting on oneself. As the last to discover one’s unfortunate fate, the protagonist is devastated. The revelation is far too much to bear; therefore, the protagonist either commits suicide or inflicts pain or mutilation onto oneself. “Oedipus the King” reflects all of the essential components of a tragedy; however, “Death of a Salesman” lacks some of these defining characteristics. In “Death of a Salesman” the protagonist is not a “tragic hero” (Kennedy, Gioia 1282) like Oedipus. He lacks the nobility that is a prerequisite to being... ... middle of paper ... ...e no royal figures; however, Miller was able to create a character that the public could relate and empathize with. Abandonment, deceit, and figurative blindness are occurrences that were relevant to Greek society and over two thousand years later the topics remain relevant in our culture as well The similarities between “Oedipus the King” and “Death of a Salesman” reveal our culture is still intrigued by a dramatic innovation created over 2,400 years ago in Greece. Early tragedies such as “Oedipus the King” continue to serve as a catalyst for modern tragedies such as “Death of a Salesman”. Oedipus and Willy Loman endured the wrath of abandonment, tortured themselves with their own deception and tragically succumbed to their own flaws. Modern Tragedy varies from what it was in Sophocles’ time; however, the fundamentals of the dramatic staple remain strong.

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