This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Arthur Miller's Definition Of A "Tragic Hero" In Death Of A Salesman

954 words - 4 pages

We as readers have too often become one-sided on a particular topic and failed to consider other possibilities. Even today, over fifty years after Arthur Miller's essay Tragedy and The Common Man; we still associate tragedy with the highborn and their plights. However, Arthur Miller stimulates our minds by explaining that a tragic hero can and should include the common man. He defines a tragic hero as one who attempts to "gain his 'rightful' position in his society" and in doing so, struggles for his dignity. Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman gives a perfect example of tragedy in the common man with the character Willy Loman, who, in his fear of being displaced, his struggle to fix his ...view middle of the document...

'Willy Loman is here!' That's all they have to know and I go right through."By fearing displacement, the next step taken by the tragic hero according to Miller would be a struggle to "evaluate himself justly". Willy measures his success with Biff's and we can see that towards the end of act one. He agrees to see Howard (his boss) about the raise only after Biff promises to attempt to get his life back in order. At the end of the first act, we see that Willy has struggled to gain his position in the world through his son's popularity, now that he realizes he could never be a successful salesman again. Even Linda tries to convince the reader of Willy's effort when she explains to him about Biff, "I think if he finds himself, then you'll both be happier."(P 15) Willy then confronts Howard about his need for more money and reminding him of his once winning personality, "Howard, I never asked a favor of any man...Your father came to me the day you were born and asked me what I thought of the name Howard..." (p 80). He starts to show his need for his dignity, which is an important aspect of a tragic hero according to Miller's definition.He shows embarrassment when Howard criticizes him. He refuses a job offer from his friend Charley. All these factors lead to his downfall, as the reader can now clearly understand why Willy Loman has failed as a salesman as well as a father and husband. Yet still, after he is fired Willy does not accept failure as he believes there is still a chance because Biff might have...

Other Essays Like Arthur Miller's Definition Of A "TRAGIC HERO" In Death Of A Salesman

Arthur Miller's Death Of a Salesman Exposes Morals and Values of American Culture

1128 words - 5 pages Arthur Miller's Death Of a Salesman Exposes Morals and Values of American Culture Arthur Miller's play, "Death Of a Salesman" is a very   elaborate play that tells the story of a man's dream to achieve greatness from nothing. It almost seems to make fun of American society's competitive nature, "Imagine? When the mail comes he'll be ahead of Bernard again!" Willy(1215)        The title "Death Of a Salesman" leaves nothing to the

Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman And Sophocles' Oedipus The King

1806 words - 8 pages Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Sophocles' Oedipus the King      An overwhelming desire for personal contentment and unprecedented reputation can often result in a sickly twisted distortion of reality. In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, a man well-known for his intellect and wisdom finds himself blind to the truth of his life and his parentage. Arthur Miller's play, The Death of a Salesman, tells of a tragic character so wrapped up

Comparing Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller And Fences By August Wilson

1305 words - 6 pages Comparing Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson have similar themes of conflicts between fathers and sons, conflicts between husbands and wives, and the need to focus on a small unit of space in order to achieve success. In the process of developing these themes throughout the two plays, three similar symbolic elements are used including the

Death of a Salesman

1168 words - 5 pages not Death of a Salesman fulfills the genre of a tragedy, it contains most of the key characteristics of tragic plays that proves this work can be considered as a modern day tragedy. Works Cited "Death of a Salesman." Drama for Students. Ed. David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1998. 61-78. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 22 Apr. 2016 Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. “The Norton Introduction to Literature”. Ed. Kelly J. Mays. New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013. 2109-2175. Print. "We're all salesmen now." Commonweal 139.11 (2012): 5. Opposing Viewpoints in Context. Web. 27 Apr. 2016.

Death of a Salesman

1067 words - 5 pages Death of a Salesman As Aristotle proposes in Poetics, Sophocles' Oedipus the King is “...an example of the highest achievement in tragedy.” Similarly, Death of a Salesman shares characteristics of classical tragedy in a contemporary setting. Just as hamartia and hubris bring devastation and ruin upon King Oedipus and his family, Death of a Salesman has a hero whose life, through a series of flawed decisions, spirals out of control and ends in

Death of a Salesman

1657 words - 7 pages Death of a Salesman The play Death of a Salesman (DOAS) by Arthur Miller, written in 1949, focuses on the life and actions of the Loman family in the heart of Brooklyn. The man of the house Willy and his two sons Biff and Happy are the most interesting of the bunch, since they are very much alike on the surface, but oh-so different on the inside. Willy Loman, the main protagonist (and antagonist) of DOAS, is your usual patriotic father

Death Of A Salesman

948 words - 4 pages Critical Essay – Drama      The idea that any person can rise from humble beginnings to greatness is the basis of the American Dream. Arthur Miller paints a harsh picture of this ideal in the drama Death of a Salesman. The main character, Willy Loman, is a complex and tragic figure. He is a man striving to hold onto what dignity he has left in a world that no longer values the beliefs he grew up with. While

Death Of A Salesman

328 words - 2 pages "Death of a Salesman" One of the main conflicts in "Death of a Salesman" is, father versus son. This conflict is one of the main points in the play that we see Biff separate from his father Willy. There are two times in the entire play when you see both Biff and Willy actually acting like father and son. One is when Willy talks about Biff playing football in the city championship game. The other is when Biff decides to stay in the city and go

Death of a Salesman - 1237 words

1237 words - 5 pages Death of a Salesman There are some who would argue that it is precisely the ultra-capitalist mentality of individuals like Willy Loman that has propelled the American Economy to global dominance, but Arthur Miller’s classic work “Death of a Salesman” begs the question: at what cost? What does it do to a person, this desperate need to “be number one man?” Each of Willy’s sons draw a different lesson from his life and their assertions about

Death Of A Salesman

889 words - 4 pages The Dysfunctional Family      In Arthur Miller’s drama, “Death of a Salesman” the protagonist is a sixty-year-old salesperson by the name of Willy Loman. Willy suffers from self-delusion and is obsessed with the desire to succeed. Willy’s actions strongly influence his family, which contributes to their self-delusions. Willy’s wife Linda is an enabler and is codependent upon him. Linda encourages and participates in

Death of a Salesman - 961 words

961 words - 4 pages The madness of Willy Loman the Salesman As the story of “Death of a Salesman” by Authur Miller unfolded it became clear that that the main charter Willy Loman is losing his mind. It all seems to begin when Willy starts having flashbacks of an earlier life. The flashbacks quickly turn into a nightmare, and just the sound of the woman’s laughter can set Willy off. Eventually, Willy’s madness destroys his life and everyone around him. He sits

Related Papers

A Tragic Hero Of A Salesman Tragic Heroism In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

574 words - 3 pages Death of a Salesman is the tragic story of one man and his struggle to fulfill the Americandream and take his family along with him. Since the story is tragic, what would a tragedy bewithout the title character, himself, dying? Well, probably just a sad story. So, it happens, butwe have to wonder, is Willy Loman a tragic hero? Arthur Miller says a tragic hero is "Thetragic feeling...invoked whenever we are in the presence of a character, any

Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

2092 words - 9 pages Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman was written after the second World War while the American economy was booming. Society was becoming very materialistic, and the idea that anyone could “make it” in America was popular. These societal beliefs play a large part in Death of a Salesman, a play in which the main character, Willy Loman, spends a lifetime chasing after the American Dream. Willy

The American Dream In Arthur Miller's "Death Of A Salesman"

1084 words - 5 pages "Death of a Salesman" is centered around one man trying to reach the American dream and taking his family along for the ride. The Loman's lives from beginning to end is a troubling story based on trying to become successful, or at least happy. Throughout their lives they encounter many problems and the end result is a tragic death caused by stupidity and the need to succeed. During his life Willy Loman caused his wife great pain by living a life

Willy Loman, An Idiot With A Dream In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

1198 words - 5 pages Willy Loman, An Idiot with A Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman     A common idea presented in literature is the issue of the freedom of the individual in opposition to the controlling pressures of society. Willy Loman, the main character in Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, epitomizes this type of person; one who looks to his peers and co-salesman as lesser individuals. Not only was he competitive and overbearing