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To what extent does Arthur Miller's character 'Willy Loman' conform to the conventions of a tragic hero? Discuss with reference to the play "Death Of A Salesman"

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Introduction

To what extent does Arthur Miller's character 'Willy Loman' conform to the conventions of a tragic hero? Discuss with reference to the play "Death Of A Salesman" Arthur Miller is the author of this play (Death of a Salesman) and he has had a difficult life just like Willy Loman.  He was born in New York in 1915 and his Austrian father had come to America, "the land of opportunity", where he had made a prosperous living as a clothing manufacturer.  Miller could not go to university like he wanted as after the stock market crashed in 1929 Miller's family business was ruined and there was no money to send Miller to university.  He paid his own way to university by having different jobs, when at university he studied economics, history and, rather later, journalism and play-writing. Arthur Miller's most successful plays were; All my sons (1947), Death of a salesman (1949), The Crucible (1953) and A View from the Bridge (1955).  All my sons (1947) and Death of a salesman (1949) have common themes: an individual in business who is trying to make his way in a society.  The protagonists in both plays smash themselves to pieces as a result of their inability to adjust to these changing and declining living standards.  Death of a salesman shows a series of chronological events which take place during one evening and the next day.   Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, is a good example for modern playwrights to follow. ...read more.

Middle

Finally, the family car, a symbol of pride within the Loman household, was destroyed when Willy committed suicide. This was the last example of Willy�s destruction of all that was once important to him. Willy Loman, in this regard, follows Aristotle�s suggestion that the tragic hero has ��a change of fortune� from prosperity to misfortune�.� A tragic hero.  Is Willy Loman a tragic hero? Does Willy learn from his mistakes? What about those around him? In Miller's play Death of a salesman there are loads of unanswered questions.  My opinion is that Willy Loman is not a tragic hero throughout the entire play.  He seems to be lost, helpless and he is cheating on his wife with this other women.  He seems to be unreal, as he has everything: a house, a car, a job, two sons whom he adores, and a supportive, caring wife, everything that any man could ever want.  He never comes to term with reality.  Willy Loman has everything a man could possibly want but still he tries and goes for more than he can handle.  To me this does not sound like a hero!! I think he's a tragic character.  He doesn't fall under the guidelines of tragic character. Firstly Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" Doesn't actually qualify as a "tragedy", even if it is modern. It more falls under the literature of the absurd, or a tragic comedy. Willy Loman is a flat character, he is unchanging throughout the entire play. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Willy knows that his life insurance money will help his family live comfortably, he states that he is ?worth more dead than alive?(Miller 98). He then sacrifices himself for them. Although he is a common man, Willy has the requisite stature to be heroic. According to Arthur Miller, the tragic hero has ?alternatives of a magnitude to have materially changed the course of his life?(Miller 33). Willy strives to obtain the American Dream by becoming successful in the business world. Willy envies people like Ben and Howard who have achieved the American Dream. Willy also wants to have a successful family life as a father and husband. Unfortunately, Willy was out of town on business for a large part of his son?s lives. These business trips were also the cause of his secret affair with a woman in Boston. The success that Willy tries so hard to achieve in the business world is what causes his failure to obtain success in his personal life. Willy Loman illustrates significant characteristics of a tragic hero. Many decisions made by Willy cause his downfall. Through his actions and the course of events it becomes clear that Willy Loman is a modern tragic hero. This document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ This document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ This document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ This document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ This document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ This document was downloaded from Coursework.Info - The UK's Coursework Database - http://www.coursework.info/ ...read more.

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