• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

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

Extracts from this document...

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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Arthur Miller essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Death of a Salesman: Is Willy Loman a tragic hero or a tragic victim?

    5 star(s)

    It is almost as if Willy is predicting his own ends; he is precariously ready to drop or give up on life throughout many sections of the play. This self-pity is not an admirable quality and is therefore more befitting to a victim than a tragic hero.

  2. Peer reviewed

    How does the Requiem reflect the elements of tragedy explored within Death of a ...

    3 star(s)

    It is this weakness which prohibits him from escaping the "Jungle" of the American Dream, meaning he dies within it; a result of it and as a sacrifice to it, hoping that his death will reveal the "diamonds" he seeks.

  1. Character Analysis - Willy Loman

    This could show his disgust towards what he is doing or that he does not want it to happen. Happy Happy is shown to be quite successful, vibrant and he has his way with women. Happy is shown to be very concerned about Willy, but Happy seems to know more than Biff about what is happening to him.

  2. How does Millers handling of time and memory add to our understanding of tragedy ...

    For example, Biff finds the rubber tubing at night, before the end of act 1, which traumatises not only the characters, but us too. This breaks the linear narrative convention and allows us to dwell on the concept that Biff exists in the way he is, (e.g.

  1. An Analysis of the Dramatic Impact of the Restaurant Scene in Death of a ...

    So, before I get on to the scene with The Woman, I want to explain this. First of all, as Willy has encountered Howard, Bernard and Charley, and has seen their success, his dreams are seriously dented. His illusions and constructed reality is falling apart.

  2. Death of a Salesman. The effect of Millers presentation of Linda helps to carry ...

    Willy is determined that he is "worth more dead than alive" because he will be able to "set up" his sons for a better life, financially. Linda conveys a sense of tragedy through her desperate attempts to stop Biff criticising Willy and to ensure that nobody makes him feel depressed.

  1. To what Extent does the Character of Willy Loman conform to the Conventions of ...

    We are able to assume that this influence is based upon the exaggerated stories Willy tells them and the audience also sees the influence of Willy when he is talking to his sons and other characters. Willy does have an extraordinary impact on his sons in particular and this is an important attribute to have for a classical tragic hero.

  2. Is Biff the True Hero of Death of a Salesman?

    towards Willy's first born son Biff, "Not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace!" (pg5). This shows the realism that the American Dream has taken over Willy Loman's every reasonable thought and the pressure of his dream is put on the shoulders of all his family too.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work