American Tragedy Aristotle defines tragedy in his respected piece Poetics and many other forms of literature. Many tragic heroes such as Oedipus Rex and Romeo and Juliet fit well into this mold of a tragic hero as defined by Aristotle. For example, they were flawed but well intentioned and their lives ended in a catastrophic death. Those plays, and many others in the genre, had all the elements of a tragedy: plot, character, thought, diction, melody, and spectacle. They were fantastic displays of misery that aroused pity and fear in the audience.
“The Jungle is dark but full of diamonds,willy. ”(Miller 134). Willy Loman is the main character in the novel “Death Of A Salesman’ and Mr.Loman was the type of person that would always focus on the simple things. Instead of looking for new opportunities and for a better change everything went downhill for Mr.Loman. For that reason, Arthur Miller utilizes the title “Death Of A Salesman” not just to predict Willy Loman’s death and failure, but also how Mr.Loman’s dreams died alongside with him.
The tragic hero is defined by Aristotle as "a great man who is neither a paragon of virtue and justice nor undergoes the change to misfortune through any real badness or wickedness but because of some mistake” (Aristotle n. pag.). There are a few principles that Aristotle believes to form a tragic hero: the protagonist should be a person of power and nobility, who makes a major error in judgment and eventually comes to realization of his or her actions (Aristotle n. pag.). In Arthur Millers’ play, Death of a Salesman, he has twisted Aristotle’s belief of a tragic hero, and has created his own. Although Miller has twisted Aristotle’s belief, Sophocles’ play, Oedipus Rex, has a tragic hero (Oedipus) that follows the flaws, dignity, and acknowledgment of the truth that Aristotle believes in to make a tragic hero. It is essential for them to recognize their position and role in the play. Due to the fact that Willy Loman and Oedipus experience tragic flaws throughout their respected plays, they both have nobility, and they both realize the fact (anagnorisis) that they made an error in their life (hamartia). Through their fatal mis-steps, their pride and ego, predominately affect their familial lives, which in turn causes them to realize the truth that they are tragic heroes.
According to Aristotle, a tragic hero is one of noble upbringing who undergoes a reversal of fortune. The hero must then realize that their peripetia is a direct result of their own tragic flaw. King Lear in William Shakespeare’s King Lear and Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman both share the tragic flaw of being blind to reality, but Lear fits the remainder of Aristotle’s description more accurately. It is evident that Lear holds these tragic qualities because he is born of a noble birth, receives pity, and is able to see the truth. On the contrary, Willy Loman lacks these same characteristics. As a result, he fails to accept his mistakes unlike Lear did, proving that the one who more precisely
In the Death of a Salesman, the man who wrote this play, Arthur Miller, challenges the idea of a modern American Dream, and how Willy Loman, the main character, is the perfect candidate for this day’s Tragic Hero. A Tragic Hero, originally defined by Aristotle, must be centered around five main characteristics: hamartia, peripeteia, anagnorisis, hubris, and the character's fate must be greater than deserved. After a life of pursuing a successful-enough salesman career, Willy finds himself in a new world: the modern day. Now, jobs are looking for people with degrees behind their name, and Willy has nothing to show for himself, unacceptingly. Another splinter in Willy’s leg is Willy struggles to keep a job at his old age, and his sons aren’t
Death of a Salesman is a play about a man named Willy Loman who is an aging sales man that has difficulty remembering events, as well as distinguishing the present from his memories. Willy has always tried to live up to the “American Dream,” but unfortunately has failed miserably as a salesman and a father. Willy still having high hopes of the dream tries to live his life through his oldest son Biff, who has turned out to be just as big as a failure. Biff uncovers the truth behind his father’s lies and Willy being tormented by his failures starts to spiral downward. The thoughts of having failed as a salesman and father finally lead Willy to take his own life. In order to understand a play like this one you need to use a strategy in approaching it. One valid approach to any type of literature is to experience, interpret, and evaluate it.
In Arthur Miller’s essay about “Tragedy and the Common Man,” he argues that the common man is as appropriate a subject for tragedy as the very highly placed kings and noble men. Mankind keeps tragedy above all forms because they are given the same mental abilities as the nobles. In “Death of a Salesman”, Willy Loman is a common man and a middle class worker, enough saving to provide food for his family. So if the tragic hero can be a common man, does Willy fit in that category? Even though he is a common man he fails to live up to the standards of being a tragic hero because he never accepts nor admits to his own errors. He, therefore, loses his dignity. One of his biggest errors is his failure of be a good father.
Many dilemmas throughout the recent decades are repercussions of an individual's foibles. Arthur Miller represents this problem in society within the actions of Willy Loman in his modern play Death of a Salesman. In this controversial play, Willy is a despicable hero who imposes his false value system upon his family and himself because of his own rueful nature, which is akin to an everyman. This personality was described by Arthur Miller himself who "Believe[s] that the common man is as apt a subject for a tragedy in its highest sense as kings were" (Tragedy 1).
In The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, it is argued weather that Willy Loman is a tragic hero. There are cases for both classifications of Willy. By definition, a tragic hero is a person born into nobility, is responsible for their own fate, endowed with a tragic flaw, and doomed to make a serious error in judgment. The tragic hero eventually falls from great esteem. They realize they have made an irreversible mistake, faces death with honor, and dies tragically. The audience also has to be affected by pity or fear for the tragic hero. In order for Willy Loman to be a tragic hero, he has to fulfill all of these descriptions. Willy Loman fits into some of these descriptions but not all. Therefore, Willy Loman is not a tragic hero (#2).
Tragedy and the Common Man - Arthur Miller redefines the Tragic Hero Arthur Miller states in his essay, "Tragedy and the Common Man," " . . . we are often held to be below tragedy--or tragedy below us . . . (tragedy is) fit only for the highly placed . . . and where this admission is not made in so many words it is most often implied." However, Miller believes " . . .