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Is “Death of a Salesman” A Modern Tragedy?

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A.M.D.G. Filip Prodanovic GM2 8th January 2002 In "Death of a Salesman", the main character Willy Loman is epitome of a tragic hero as he is surrounded by various elements of tragedy. These Elements strip him of his dignity as he struggles to clinch his rightful position in the world. Arthur Miller uses corrupted society, a bad view of success, and delusional dreams, to create a path to Willy's downfall. Willy's destruction is calamitous, and did not have to happen. He had many opportunities to live a good life that he just failed to grasp, and he would get lost in a moment of joy. The intercity of this tragedy comes from the actual viewing of these failed attempts in finding happiness and a good life. One of the main forces that destroyed Willy Loman, is Willy Loman himself. Despite all other elements of tragedy in the story, Willy ultimately destroys himself, as his tragic flow slowly kills his existence. Willy enormously cogitates the concept that connections, and linked pasts can provide him with the future, as he as a salesman desires. Willy's perception of what he could be, or should be, contradicts what he actually is. He sees himself as a success. However, we see Willy as a tired old salesman with a vintage view of society. Willy's entire identity is tied up with an image of what a salesman should be. ...read more.


His name was never in the papers. He is not the finest character that ever lived.......A small man can just be as exhausted as a great man. Willy simply does not realise that personality and friendship are not enough to become who he dreams. This is evident as he is fired by his boss, and receives the information with disbelief: "I was just fired....Imagine that....I named him. Willy convinces Biff that anyone confident enough, gorgeous, and born leader, such as Biff himself has the right to set the rules in life. Willy is convinced that he is famous because of his career. He talks of going to New England on a summer trip and explains to his boys that: "they know me up and down in new England. I have friends. I can park my car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own." When he refers to his yet to come funeral, he proudly insists: "That funeral will be massive. They'll come from Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire. All the old timers with the strange licence plates - that boy will be struck. He has never realised - I am known." The truth is that nobody showed up for his funeral, but his family and two friends. Willy even gets caught in a delusion of forming his own business one day: "Someday, I'll have my own business, and I'll never have to leave home any more." ...read more.


She has finally managed to pay off the house payments as the play draws to a close. "Help me, Willy, I can't cry. It seems to me that you're just on another trip. I keep expecting you. Willy, dear, I can't cry. Why did you do it? I search and search and I can't understand it, Willy. I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there'll be nobody home. We're free and clear. We're free. We're free... We're free...". It seems that Linda, like the reader, understands that Willy's disintegration did not have to happen. She realizes that the downfall has been tragic, just as Willy's life. She knows that the joy and the promise of the right way of life were there for Willy, and she knows that he just missed it. But, despite the grieving done by his family, Willy finally achieves one of his numerous dreams as he is remembered, loved, and a guide for people. Though Willy's life was a life of frustrated hopes and unfulfilled dreams, it is why we revere this tragedy in the highest. Tragedy is the most accurately balanced portrayal of the human being in his struggle for happiness, and that is why tragedies truly portray us. And that is why tragedy must not be diminished: It is the most perfect means we have of showing us who and what we are. As we watch Willy struggle for himself throughout this tragedy, we come to understand what we must strive to become. L.D.S. ...read more.

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