Tragedy of a Common Man in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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A tragic hero brings his own demise upon himself due to a crippling character flaw. Willy Loman from “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller satisfies the criteria for a tragic hero because his pride leads to his downfall. Despite not being a man of high estate, Willy’s readiness to “lay down his life” (miller criticism) makes him a prime example of a modern tragic hero. Willy’s pride inhibits the success of his family by feeding his egotistical nature, idealism, and false value system. Willy eventually addresses these negative traits he possesses and sacrifices himself for his family, thus satisfying Death of a Salesman as a tragic play.
An overinflated ego can rapidly cause a person’s success to perish. Willy’s tragic flaw of pride feeds his egotistical nature which causes an immense amount of distress in his family. Due to the desire to fill his ego, Willy finds a mistress who has “picked him” (38). By having an affair with a woman who has chosen him, Willy is able to fuel his overinflated ego. The need to constantly feed his ego is caused by the tragic flaw of pride which hurts his son Biff’s future. Biff is heartbroken due to the fact that his idol and father commits such adultery. He runs off “weeping fully” (121) when he discovers the scarring truth of whom he once thought to be great. Due to Willy’s egotistical nature and the need to feed it with a mistress, his downfall begins in the eyes of Biff. Not only does Willy lose Biff’s respect which is proven when Biff calls him a “phony little fake” (121), but Willy is also too prideful to amend his relationship. This causes Biff to lose his confidence and surrender his dreams of studying at the University of Virginia. As a result of his egotistical nature derived from his pr...

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...ives to achieve the wrong things. 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. These negative traits eventually lead to his downfall in which he sacrifices himself, proving to be a modern tragic hero. Willy Loman is a common man brought down to his demise because of the one tragic flaw of pride that he possesses.
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