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AS and A Level: Arthur Miller
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Firstly, a tragic hero should have a "magnitude or nobility"5 about them. At first glance this would seemingly exclude w***y from the status, however according to Hardison, "noble" does not necessarily imply a high social status, but rather a "larger than life"6 quality. The fact that w***y's visions are of such a great grandeur, especially where his sons are concerned, ("You guys together could absolutely lick the civilised world.") along with the constant gesticulations that accompany his exclamations, all support the idea that w***y Loman is indeed a "larger than life" character.
w***y Loman is a struggling salesman around the age of sixty. He lives with his wife Linda and two sons Biff and Happy. w***y does not fit the usual criteria established by Shakespearean or Aristotelian tragedies. Firstly, he is not of noble birth, although in the play Miller makes a link known to the audience because w***y is made to appear of noble birth as he is in fact referred to as, "a prince", by his son. Miller commented, "I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were".2 This gives us clear insight why w***y is still a tragic hero even if he is not of high social ranking or status.
Whilst Milton would have deplored this "introducing of trivial and vulgar persons [into tragedy]", Miller dismissed all criticism of his choice of hero, demanding his accusers to recognise "it matters not whether the hero falls from a great height or a small one", or as Linda puts it, "he's not the finest character who ever lived. But he's a human being and a terrible thing is happening to him" the importance then, lies in the way and reason for which the character falls.
Good conclusions usually refer back to the question or title and address it directly - for example by using key words from the title.
How well do you think these conclusions address the title or question? Answering these questions should help you find out.
- Do they use key words from the title or question?
- Do they answer the question directly?
- Can you work out the question or title just by reading the conclusion?
To What Extent Does Death of a Salesman deal with modern issues such as materialism, consumerism, procrastination and alienation, in Act 1 of the play?
"Alienation is the issue perhaps dealt with the most as it is the end result of the other issues combined and the one which has the largest part in the death of the main character, however Miller's play treats the issues as living off each other and as all counting towards the tragic fate that is the conclusion of the events of the play."
There is too little to admire in Eddie Carbone for him to be seen as a tragic hero. Discuss this view.
"In conclusion, Eddie may not be 'purely good, but himself purely' expressing that albeit subject to an array of flaws, Eddie is human and a man whose actions are rooted to his morals and values, which are by far the most dominating reasons for how one can see him as a 'tragic hero'. Eddie remains the unconventional protagonist of Arthur Miller, in that Eddie possesses the classical Aristotelian characteristics of a tragic hero but he is not someone of royalty or great power; he is a 'common man' who has nothing but his family and his morals. Some may view Eddie as a man who fails to 'settle for half', but what marks his tale as special; what places him among the admirable tragic heroes such as Othello or King Lear, is his being 'wholly known'."
Discuss the role of Alfieri in Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge'
"In conclusion, there is no doubt that Alfieri holds a vital role within the play. He is the key to maintaining the audience's understanding of the drama and ensuring that we are aware of the changing dynamics and situations which evolve throughout the performance. He helps to develop our awareness of what the effect of these events are. It is clear also that Miller has used Alfieri quite intentionally as a way through which to express some of his views, his main ambition being to prove to people that the death of a low-born character is equally as tragic as the death of a high-born one. He clearly accomplishes this in 'A View From The Bridge'. Alfieri is not only used to enhance the audience's understanding of the play but also to create a structure, distinguishing between the two acts. Effectively Alfieri is the view from the bridge; he sits and watches the events unfold, watching helplessly as Eddie walks closer and closer to the other side, knowing what the tragic outcome will be, yet remaining powerless to prevent it."