As we have learned in the past, the style of literature evolves as time changes. Different events in the world had influenced these changed. The different movements that created its definitions of their work and how we use these definitions today to classify a piece of literature what period it belongs to. The American dramas, The Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller and Glengarry Glen Ross by David Alan Mamet are tragic plays. Analyzing the main character of each drama: Willy of The Death of the Salesman and Shelly of Glengarry Glen Ross will determine if both, neither or one of them possess the features of a tragic hero by the descriptions of Aristotle and Arthur Miller.
According to Aristotle, “A man doesn’t become a hero until he can see the root of his downfall. ” What is the root of the hero’s downfall? This is what Aristotle calls hamartia or flaw (“Tragic”). Willy Loman lives his life in denial, denying that he had failed as a father and failed to have the American dream. He cannot grasp reality causing his delusional psyche. “I see great things for you kids. I think your troubles are over. But remember, start big and you’ll end big. Ask for fifteen (Baym 266).” Willy’s delusional that his son, Biff, will just walk into a previous employer’s office and borrow money to start a business that he has no experience and knowledge about. Willy’s delusion of his son, Biff, being successful in the business caused him to take his life for his family to collect the insurance money and use the money for Biff to start a business. In fact Biff knew what he wanted, to be in the West. “ I’ve always made a point of not wasting my life, and every time I come back here I know that all I’ve done is to wast...
... middle of paper ...
...death. After Shelly was identified to be one of the culprits of the crime, he desperately pleaded and offered bribe to his boss to be forgiven of his crime and not to face the chance of jail time with no success. “ John: John: … my daughter… (Baym1041).”
To sum up Willy is a tragic hero in Aristotle and Miller’s definition of a hero of a tragedy. Willy attempted to be financially successful to provide for his family, but failed to attain the American dream. He also felt his failure as a father when his sons’, more on Biff, careers were not successful like his own. Willy is classified a tragic hero because he took his life in order to give his family the financial freedom he wasn’t able to provide when he was living. Shelly might not have died in the drama, but his flaw brought him to fall costing his job that provides for daughter and his reputation as person.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Greek drama first start in ancient Greece around 700 BC in the city-state of Athens. It was usually held at the festival of Dionysia as a way of honoring the god Dionysus. Greek drama was split into 3 categories, satyr, tragedy, and comedy. The Dionysia festival was used as a way to promote common cultural identities between the many Greek city-states. The Greeks favorite drama type was that of the Greek tragedies. The word tragedy is derived from a compound of two Greek works, tragos meaning goat and ode meaning song.... [tags: Tragedy, Euripides, Aeschylus, Sophocles]
1298 words (3.7 pages)
- Modern domestic tragedies began between the late 19th century and feature ordinary people to be the heroes/anti-heroes unlike Greek tragedies in which the protagonist was of high status or noble birth. “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller is a classic example of this and features the anti-hero Willy showing the audience how his perfect family lifestyle has falling apart contributing to the disorder of his world which increases as his mind slowly deteriorates. Through the play Willy is striving to live the American Dream; to have a better, richer and happier life.... [tags: Death of a Salesman, Aurthur Miller, tragedy, ]
916 words (2.6 pages)
- Analysis of An American Tragedy and What Makes it a Classic An American Tragedy is an intriguing, frighteningly realistic journey into the mind of a murderer. It is a biography of its era. And, it is also historical fiction. But what makes this novel a classic. While society has changed dramatically since 1925, Dreiser's novel, which shows the futility of "The American Dream" and the tragedies that trying to live it can cause, accurately summarizes social mores of this and any time period. Before Theodore Dreiser was born, his father, a devout German immigrant, lost everything when his large wool mill burned down (kirjasto.sci.fi 1).... [tags: An American Tragedy Theodore Dreiser Essays]
3715 words (10.6 pages)
- American Tragedy: Self-Destruction in a Self-Indulgent Society "The boy moved restlessly from one foot to the other, keeping his eyes down . . . . [and he] appeared indeed to resent and even to suffer from the position in which he found himself" (p.9). Clyde Griffiths always wanted to be somebody---anyone but who he was. Growing up in a poor home of evangelizing, exhorting missionaries, he was not drawn to God but pushed away from Him and his family. Clyde was looking for a way to escape from his haunting reality to both a place and position in life that were more attractive.... [tags: American Tragedy]
1642 words (4.7 pages)
- The Tragedy of EveryMan in Death of a Salesman "Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?" "I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money; his name was never in the paper; he's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid ... Attention, attention, must be finally paid to such a person." from Death of a Salesman Only in America. The American Dream.... [tags: Death Salesman essays]
1660 words (4.7 pages)
- Death of a Salesman - A Modern Day Tragedy The question which arises within Death of a Salesman is, 'Is this a modern Tragedy?' A tragic play can be commonly observed when a protagonist falls from a great height. His decline is not about immediate death, although in most cases death becomes apparent at the end of the play, e.g. Macbeth. A tragedy shows the suffering of a character and utter compulsion of him if he does not succeed to reach his dream. These plays show the blissful release from intolerable suffering this character feels.... [tags: Death of a Salesman]
1182 words (3.4 pages)
- Death of A Salesman as a Modern Tragedy It has been stated that the audience needs to have mixed feelings about the destruction of a human being for a play to be a tragedy. To establish Death of A Salesman as a tragedy, we must demonstrate that not only does the audience feel sadness due to Willy’s demise, but also they feel that justice has been exacted on Willy for his behavior. As this is the case I will first examine the reasons why the audience feels sadness for Willy, and then go on to see why it is that the audience also feels that Willy deserves the punishment which fate hands him.... [tags: Death Salesman loman ]
1962 words (5.6 pages)
- Death of a Salesman: Tragic but Not a Tragedy Though a more modern version of tragedy in its’ classical sense, Death of a Salesman in many ways is very much like an ancient Greek play. In his ‘Poetics’ Aristotle tries to set out the common ideas throughout tragedy, attempting to demystify the necessary elements for such plays. One of his main ideas was that of the ‘Three Unities’ - that of Space, that of Time and that of Action. He stated that all the action of a tragedy must occur in the place, which was often the front of a palace, which allowed the poet to have many characters coming and going, and allowed random meetings to occur easily, rather than having to ‘explain’ the reaso... [tags: Death Salesman Arthur Miller essays]
1374 words (3.9 pages)
- Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman as Classic Greek Tragedy Miller’s Death of a Salesman is an interesting and complex play set at a time of great change in America. Some people believe that it is one of a few classic tragedies written in modern time. While on the surface this play and characters don't appear to hold the definition of tragedy that Aristotle described. In a modern context I believe it may be very close to fitting that mold. Willy is a person that has always been a dreamer. Willy is very proud and self reliant in his approach to life.... [tags: Death Salesman essays]
1170 words (3.3 pages)
- There are many aspects of Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy that involve the moral decision versus the immoral decision and God. The main theme that Dreiser maintains throughout the novel is Immorality. Each character in the novel possesses one or more characteristics that show that he or she is partially immoral. When combined, all these elements have a strong message, that there is consequence to straying from God's path.Clyde Griffiths is the perfect example of how a person is led from God's light.... [tags: essays research papers]
538 words (1.5 pages)