• 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...


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.


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.


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)

    This is because it is questionable as to whether Willy Loman has any control over his destiny at all, as although he is in command of his body and actions, the American Dream has polluted his mind to such an extent that he can barely grasp reality.

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

    This is incredibly ironic because she only wants to help her husband but instead she adds to his deteriorating mental state -through her actions in the play. Linda loves Willy unconditionally however; it becomes apparent to the audience that her love is potentially quite dangerous.

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

    Biff leaves in guilt and anguish. Happy claims to the ladies that Willy is not his father, ?he?s just a guy? and then he frantically asks for the bill, Stanley doesn?t respond, so they all leave, and Willy is left babbling in the washroom alone.

  2. How Does Arthur Miller create dramatic tension in A View from the Bridge(TM)?

    When Marco and Rodolpho come down, tension is seen immediately between Eddie and Marco. Marco has of course also realized Eddie is to blame for the events and is accusing him of the starving of his family. This anger is adjacent with the connection between Catherine and Rodolpho who are

  1. Death of a Salesman - Requiem

    It comes with the territory." This is another example of people making excuses for Willy even after he has died. Miller has displayed a lot of dishonesty and naivety in Death of a Salesman. It shows that the characters don't seem to be in the real world, they make up excuses for themselves and their

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

    Both his sons Biff and Happy idolise their Father. This is because Willy shows some humane aspect in the things he does. Willy is prepared to go to Biff's teacher and demand he gives him enough marks to pass. His father in particular influences Biff and we see that when the pair first appear in the play "...Gee, I'd

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