Essay on Can Willy Loman Be Considered A Tragic Hero?

Essay on Can Willy Loman Be Considered A Tragic Hero?

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Can Willy Loman Be Considered A Tragic Hero?

Whether Willy Loman can be considered a tragic hero has long been
debated between critics. Ever since Miller produced the play, people
have discussed whether Willy’s status was high enough for his fall to
be considered tragic, or whether Willy can be seen as an altogether
modern tragic hero, I will be looking at both these views taking into
consideration critics views and also adding my own thoughts.

Tragedy has its origin in ancient Greece. In his Poetics Aristotle
defined a tragedy as portraying a serious, complete and important
action involving pain or destruction and shows the fall of an
important person from happiness and prosperity into misery and
catastrophe. The problem with this view is that some believe it cannot
be used to define modern tragedies as many things have changed and are
no longer relevant since Aristotle’s time of ancient Greece.

Critics such as Bier man, Hart and Johnson1 believe that Willy Loman
can be seen as a tragic hero, they have described death of a salesman
as “a tragedy set in our own time, played out on our own scene, in our
own language”. The fact that the play is modern, helps us to identify
with Willy Loman and therefore it affects our emotions more, there is
more of a connection between ourselves and the character, the fact
that we feel more emotion brings us closer to classical tragedy for
example catharsis. There are many factors throughout the text, which
show connections to the modern world, the references to insurance
payments, front porch, refrigerator, Chevrolet and the tennis are
reflective of contemporary society. These things make the play seem
far more realistic to the audience as they can relate to these
f...


... middle of paper ...


...t at all whether the hero falls from a great
height or a small one”. The fact that Willy Loman is a modern hero
allows us to connect with him and understand his situation more,
“Tragedy, he argues, should bring out not only sorrow but
understanding” I believe that understanding is shown throughout the
play and that things become clearer in the requiem as it provides some
insight.

In my own opinion I believe that it is true, Willy Loman cannot be
seen as a traditional tragic hero, however I believe that he can be
seen as a modern hero to an extent. Willy had a tragic fall in life in
his own opinion, just as it would seem if it happened to someone you
knew. However Willy didn’t do anything in society to make his
character seem heroic. I think that the audience would feel more
sympathetic towards Willy and not feel that the story was a tragedy as
a whole.

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