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Willy Loman A Tragic Hero Essay

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The standards for a tragic hero were set by Aristotle many years ago. In his book The Poetics, Aristotle argues that a tragic hero must be in the middle of being good and bad, and a tragic hero must cause his own downfall because of acting in blindness. Furthermore a tragic hero must be greater than the common man .Willy Loman has all the qualities that by Aristotle standards, would define him as a tragic hero, except for one. Willy Loman is not king or any kind of nobility, he is just an ordinary person. In Arthur Miller essay “Tragedy of the common man “he states “I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for a tragedy in its highest sense as kings were” (Miller 1). Willy Loman is a tragic hero, just Oedipus, who to Aristotle was the perfect example of a tragic hero. Willy has many of Aristotle principles, Willy was the middle kind of personage, and he has a “tragic flaw” that ended up in his downfall. The fact that Willy was not nobility, does not take away the feeling of pity and fear, in fact it strengthen those feelings.
In his book The Poetics, Aristotle states that a tragic hero cannot be neither good nor bad, a tragic hero must be “The intermediate kind of personage, a man not pre-eminently virtuous and just”(84) . Willy is not perfect he is compulsive liar, delusional and has a distorted set of value. Throughout the entire play Willy is always trying to deceive everyone around him, but only end up deceiving himself. For example when Willy says to his sons “You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. "Willy Loman is here!" That’s all they have to know and I go right through.”(Miller, “Death of a Salesman” 869). Willy wants his boys to see him as a successful, well liked salesman, he...

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...f action, not of narrative; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions” ( 1). Miller created fear by creating a character that people can relate to. The fact that Willy is a common man reinforces the fear in the audience, because he is more relatable then a king. You feel pity because throughout his life Willy live blindly with lost dreams and hopes.
The purpose of a tragic hero, is to create both pity and fear on the audience, to teach a lesson to the audience .Willy is a tragic hero, Willy is not perfect, and he has a distorted set of values. Sadly Willy cause his own downfall, his meaningless pride, his “tragic flaw” blinded him from seeing the truth, but his flaw thought a lesson to the audience. From Willy we can learn to value life, we learn that success does not mean happiness, but happiness means success.
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