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To what extent do you consider Willy Loman a tragic hero?

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  • Essay length: 1643 words
  • Submitted: 13/01/2005
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GCSE Arthur Miller

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1. To what extent do you consider Willy Loman a tragic hero?

Should 'Willy Loman' of Arthur Millers classic, Death of a Salesman be regarded as a tragic hero, or merely a working-class, socially inadequate failure? Described by Miller as a "self-destructive, insecure anti-hero", it seems almost impossible for Loman to be what is known as a tragic hero in the 'classical' sense, but with the inclusion of other factors he maybe a tragic hero, at least in the modern context, or partially suit one nonetheless.

To make the decision as to Whether Loman is a tragic hero or not, one must define the term 'tragic hero' and reveal its development in theatre over the course of time. The tragic hero first defined by Aristotle in the Poetics, "...sees the rise of a noble character (employing artistically enhanced language); presented in dramatic form. Due to a character flaw and a seemingly unchangeable series of events, their demise is met, resulting in a pitiable and fearful scenario, leading to catharsis." According to Aristotle, fate and the wish of the Gods played a large component in the falling of the tragic hero and nothing at all could be done

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