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Death of a Salesman. The plays author, Arthur Miller, gradually exposes tragedy throughout the play like a drip feed.

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Introduction

Death of a Salesman. Tragedy is like a strong acid - it dissolves away all but the very gold of truth. Ancient Philosopher Aristotle wrote that 'the purpose of a tragedy was to create pity and fear in the audience'. He also stated that 'the tragic hero should be of elevated status in society, thus making his subsequent fall from grace all the more dramatic.' Rather than being a fall from a great height, Death of a Salesman extends this concept to the ordinary person. This makes it more realistic and therefore creates pity and fear within the audience as the 'ordinary person' may be able to relate to the play on a personal level; the pity and fear felt by the audience may be achieved by them witnessing a fate that they fear for themselves. It could be argued that Willy's lies cloud the truth and tragedy acts like acid to dissolve away these lies until there is nothing but the truth left. At the start of the play Willy is boasting to Linda about his wages, 'I did five hundred gross in Province and seven hundred gross in Boston.' ...read more.

Middle

But the protagonist's emotional purification is cut short due to Linda currently reassuring and fuelling this fantasy with comments such as 'you're the handsomest man in the world' and, 'few men are idolised by their children the way you are.' Her persistent compliments lead to Willy believing them himself and arouse pathos in the audience as this confirms he is deluded. Another comment from Linda that leads you to realise the tragic state that Willy is in is during a conversation with Biff and Happy about her husband's condition. She says, 'Attention. Attention must be paid to such a person.' The repetition of the word attention illustrates the desperation in Linda's argument. The actress playing Linda could further portray this desperation by emphasising the repeated word, almost as if she was begging. This would also help to contribute to helping the audience recognise the tragic quality of the play. The idea that Willy, and sometimes Linda, is deluded continues throughout the play. Linda seems to think that a type of fridge is the best and most reliable because it has 'got the biggest ads of any of them!' ...read more.

Conclusion

Aristotle claimed that the 'Hamartia or tragic flaw in the hero's personality caused him to suffer.' In this case Willy's tragic flaw could be that he was not a successful salesman; over time this flaw contributed to problems with money, within the Loman family and eventually to Willy's suicide. This, along with his ignorance in not knowing he is a poor salesman and the refusal to face the truth arouse pity and fear within the audience as it shows us a fate that we fear. The play's author, Arthur Miller, gradually exposes tragedy throughout the play like a drip feed. In a way this is similar to acid as it is slowly and constantly wearing away at something. In this case it is Willy's tragic life and everything is laid bare in the requiem scene. Arthur Miller has written that, 'to me the tragedy of Willy Loman is that he gave his life, or sold it, in order to justify the waste of it.' Here the plays author is implying that the true tragedy is that Willy's life lacked meaning, everything he worked for was ultimately for nothing. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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