Books and Movies Reviews

Willy Loman's Evaluation as a Tragic Hero

In his essay "Tragedy And The Common Man," playwright Arthur Miller offers a modern definition for tragedy and a new criteria for the tragic hero.Due to his "underlying struggle…attempting to gain his rightful position in his society,"Willy is a perfect example of Arthur Millers idea of a tragic hero (Tragedy 228).Willy exemplifies four aspects of Arthur Miller's utopian tragic hero; he possesses a tragic flaw, he is degraded by society, his surroundings seem to conspire against him, and despite his hardships he struggles against the world to maintain his dignity.
Tragic heroes are often characterized because they bear a tragic flaw.Willy's obvious tragic flaw is his pride.He takes pride in everything he does, he even says, "Call out the name Willy Loman and see what happens!", just to display to his sons how much pride he takes in his name (Death 62).His lifelong dream was to live the life of a salesman and to "die the death of a salesman", and for people to recognize his name everywhere that he traveled (Death 81).He struggles with the reality that he was unsuccessful in completing his dream, and refuses to stop trying.He becomes indignant with his piers when they try to explain that he was a failure, for example when he says, "I am not a cripple!" (Death 84).He is in a sense crippled by his neglection to see reality and only to believe what he perceives as reality in his mind.His tragic flaw is a major component of his ability to become a tragic hero.
Willy Loman is aging and losing his mental stability.This is clear to many of the people in his environment.They begin to conceive him as useless and degrade him to a lower standard in society.Willy refuses to realize that he deserves nothing more than to be considered with the same respect as any regular man.Arthur Miller says that "Tragedy is a consequence of a man's total compulsi…


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