Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is often hailed as one of the greatest tragedies ever written. But what exactly makes it a tragedy? And why does it resonate with so many people?
To answer these questions, it’s important to understand the definition of tragedy. A tragedy is traditionally a story about a hero who falls from grace due to some fatal flaw. This hero is someone who is considered above average, someone who is supposed to be better than the average person. But instead of rising to the challenge, this hero falters and ends up destroying himself or herself.
In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller brilliantly examines the tragedy of the common man. Willie Loman is not your average hero; he’s an everyman. He’s a man who is struggling to make ends meet, to provide for his family, and to find his place in the world. He’s a man who is all too familiar with failure.
And yet, despite his flaws, Willie Loman is still a sympathetic figure. We root for him even as we watch him spiral downward. We can’t help but feel for him as he makes one disastrous decision after another.
Ultimately, Death of a Salesman is a tragedy because it shows us that even the most ordinary person can be brought down by their own demons. It’s a story that reminds us that we all have the potential for greatness – and for destruction. And it’s a story that will continue to resonate with audiences for many years to come.
“If the exaltation of tragic action were a quality unique to high-bred personalities, it would be inexplicable that the majority of people prefer tragedy to all other forms” (Dwyer). It’s hard to believe that tragedy is limited only to those in high positions. Arthur Miller develops his own notion of a tragedy and the tragic hero in his essay “Tragedy and the Common Man.” This pattern lends credence to the idea that a tragedy can happen to individuals from all walks of life.
Death of a Salesman follows this pattern, with Willy Loman as the struggling common man and his sons, Biff and Happy, as the ones who suffer. The Broadway play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller was first produced in 1949. The main character is Willy Loman, a traveling salesman who has spent his life selling to people he does not know.
His wife Linda tries to keep their home together and support her family while Willy is away. Their son Biff was a college football star but never finished school or found a job that he liked. Their son Happy is successful in business but married to an unsupportive woman.
Willy’s unrealistic dreams and his inability to face reality contribute to his downfall. He is obsessed with the idea that success comes from being well-liked and having personal attractiveness. Willy’s tragic flaw is his refusal to see himself as he really is. He is a man who is past his prime and no longer able to sell as he did in his youth. His illusions about himself and his sons lead to his downfall.
The death of a salesman is often cited as an example of the modern tragedy. In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller takes the common man and makes him the subject of a tragedy. Willy Loman is a man who has spent his life working hard but never achieving the success he dreamed of. His tragic flaw is his inability to see himself as he really is.
Miller’s Death of a Salesman follows the classical pattern for tragedy. The play opens with Willy in denial about his situation. He refuses to admit that he is no longer able to sell as he did in his youth. His sons Biff and Happy try to help him, but they are also unable to face reality. Finally, Willy’s illusions lead to his downfall and death.
Death of a Salesman is a tragedy because it shows the downfall of a man who is unable to cope with reality. Willy Loman is a common man who has been driven mad by his obsession with success. His tragic flaw leads to his destruction and the suffering of his family. Miller’s play is a modern tragedy because it shows that tragedy can happen to anyone, not just those in high places.
Willy regrets the fact that he has not done well in business, although he wishes he was, and cheating on Linda, showing her to be a commodity of which he takes advantage. “The essential fear underlying such plays that shakes us… derives from our natural dread of losing our chosen image of who we are in the world” (Miller, “Tragedy… “). The actual tragedy is Willy’s “primary fear of being displaced.”
Death of a Salesman is not about the death of one man, but about the death of the American Dream for all men. Death of a Salesman is not just a tragedy for Willy Loman, but for his entire family and society as a whole.
The play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is a modern tragedy. In his essay “Tragedy and the Common Man”, Miller states that he believes the common man is just as deserving of a tragedy as any other person. The main character, Willy Loman, is what Miller terms “a low man”. He is not royalty or nobility, but an every day working class citizen. Willy is a salesman who has been unsuccessful in his career. He is a victim of the changing economy and the rise of automation. He is also a victim of his own delusions and his inability to see the truth.
Setting aside Willy’s “cruel flaw,” there is a glimmer of optimism that he will reform. If anything exists to give the play hope, it is also conceivable that things can change. “Change is the driving force without which there would be no hope” (Dwyer). And with change comes the prospect of victory. Willy lives by the motto: “be well liked.”
He is desperately trying to hold on to his past, which is defined by success in the sales field. In Death of a Salesman, Miller creates a character that reflects the average man. The average man is constantly struggling and fighting for survival. He has hopes and dreams, but they are constantly being threatened by his present reality. The average man is also capable of change and growth. This can be seen in the character of Willy Loman. Although Willy is not perfect, he does have the potential to change and grow.
Willy’s tragedy lies in the fact that he does not realize this potential until it is too late. Miller uses Willy as a symbol for the average man. “The tragedy of Willy Loman is not that he dreams, but that he dreams the wrong things” (Miller). Willy is a man who is chasing after an impossible dream. He is trying to hold on to something that is no longer attainable. The tragedy of Willy Loman is not just his death, but his entire life. He has lived in a state of denial, refusing to face the reality of his situation. Willy’s tragedy lies in the fact that he has wasted his life chasing after a dream that was never going to come true.