Death of a Salesman is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1949. The play is about the tragic life of Willy Loman, a salesman who is struggling to make ends meet. Death of a Salesman is considered to be a tragedy of the common man because it shows how someone who is ordinary can fall into despair and end up taking their own life. The play is still performed regularly and is considered to be one of the greatest pieces of American theatre.
“If tragic action were exclusively a trait of the highbred character, it would be hard to conceive that mankind should prefer tragedy to all other forms” (Dwyer). It makes little sense that tragedy is only for those in high ranks. In his essay “Tragedy and the Common Man,” Arthur Miller outlines the pattern for his own conception of a tragedy and the tragic hero. This pattern confirms the notion that a tragedy may occur in individuals from all walks of life as well as persons in important posts.
According to the essay, “a man does not became a tragic hero because he is great. He becomes great because he is a tragic hero” (Miller). In Death of a Salesman, Miller creates a tragedy in which the protagonist, Willy Loman, is an everyman. By making Willy an average man instead of someone who is high-bred or has heroic qualities, Miller allows for the audience to better understand and empathize with the character. Additionally, this ultimately reinforces the idea that tragedy can be found in anyone, no matter their station in life.
While Willy definitely possesses some flaws, he is not an evil man. He is simply a man who has made some poor choices and now must live with the consequences. In this way, he is relatable to a great many people. We have all made mistakes that we wish we could take back. Willy’s tragic flaw is that he lives in a world of illusions. He wants so badly to be successful and to be remembered after his death that he is willing to sacrifice anything and everything to achieve those goals. Unfortunately, his illusions eventually lead to his downfall.
Willy’s story is one of a man who has lost touch with reality. He is desperately clinging to his youth and his dreams of what could have been. In the end, these things consume him and lead to his demise. While Willy Loman may not be a traditional tragic hero, he is still a tragic figure. His story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of living in an illusion and chasing after unrealistic dreams. It is a story that resonates with people from all walks of life, which is perhaps one of the reasons why Death of a Salesman is considered to be one of the greatest American tragedies.
In his article, he argues that anyone should be able to relate to the tragic hero. Miller redefines tragedy as a more frequent occurrence than what may occur in events such as those portrayed by Shakespeare and Euripides, thus defining Death of a Salesman as a tragedy.
Willy Loman is a tragic hero. His greatest fear is that others will see him only as an excellent, decent human being and nothing more. He wants people to believe he’s a well-liked nice guy who doesn’t make errors. The fact is that he has made mistakes, some of which continue to haunt him, and that he is human just like everyone else.
Willy is a man who is unable to accept change. He lives in the past and only looks back at what he perceives as the good times. Death of a Salesman is a tragedy not just because Willy Loman dies at the end, but because he is unable to see his own faults and ends up destroying himself and those around him.
Arthur Miller was successful in writing a tragedy that allows the common man to be able to identify with the main character. Willy Loman is relatable because he is human and makes mistakes. He also wants to be seen as a good person, even though he knows he isn’t perfect. This tragic story teaches us about being humble and accepting change. It also highlights the importance of family and relationships.
Willy does not accept that this is acceptable, and he deeply regrets such failures as raising his children inadequately, as he sees it, failing in business, and deceiving Linda by displaying her to be a commodity for which he takes advantage. “The fundamental dread of being cast aside… derives from the underlying worry of losing our preferred image of who we are in the world” (Miller). Willy’s “underlying dread of being uprooted” is the actual tragedy.
This is a fear many people have. Death of a Salesman is not about the fall of one man, but the tragedy of many men. The playwright Arthur Miller was successful in creating a work that speaks to the human condition. Death of a Salesman is a tragedy for the common man.
Willy Loman, the protagonist in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, is often referred to as ‘the common man’. Willy’s dreams and aspirations for himself and his family are representative of those held by many Americans during the post-World War II era. Unfortunately, like so many others, Willy’s dreams are never realized. The tragedy of Willy Loman is not simply that he fails to achieve his goals, but that his life is ultimately a waste.
Willy does not consider this normal and severely regrets such failures as raising his children poorly, as he sees it, not doing well in business, though he wishes he was, and cheating on Linda, showing her to be a commodity of which he takes advantage. “The quality in such plays that does shake us… derives from the underlying fear of being displaced, the disaster inherent in being torn away from our chosen image of what and who we are in the world” (Miller, “Tragedy… “).
Willy’s “underlying fear of being displaced” is the real tragedy. This is a fear many people have. Death of a Salesman is not about the fall of one man, but the tragedy of many men. The playwright Arthur Miller was successful in creating a work that speaks to the human condition. Death of a Salesman is a tragedy for the common man.
While Willy’s story may be unique, his struggles are not. In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller gives a voice to the frustration and disillusionment felt by many Americans in the wake of World War II. Through Willy Loman, Miller shows us that the American Dream is not always attainable, and that sometimes chasing after it can lead to tragic consequences.