• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

"Oedipus is an odd kind of hero, who shares many of w***y Loman's weaknesses; w***y is an odd kind of anti-hero, who displays a similar nobility of character to that which we see in Oedipus. Indeed, w***y may be said to be even more of a tragic hero than

Extracts from this document...


"Oedipus is an odd kind of hero, who shares many of w***y Loman's weaknesses; w***y is an odd kind of anti-hero, who displays a similar nobility of character to that which we see in Oedipus. Indeed, w***y may be said to be even more of a tragic hero than Oedipus for, while there appears to be little sense in Oedipus's self mutilation, w***y's suicide shows that he is willing to die for what he believes in and sacrifice himself for the good of others." The central characters of "Oedipus The King" and "Death of a Salesman"; Oedipus and w***y Loman, appear to have a lot in common despite the fact the plays were written almost two and half thousand years apart. Both men have been classed as tragic heroes; however, there are many who would argue that Oedipus is and w***y is not, or even that neither of them could really be classed as a tragic hero. In order to decide whether or not either of them are really tragic heroes, one must first know about the definitions of a tragic hero. There are many variations in these definitions which have been developing for more than two thousand years. The weaknesses and strengths of character both Oedipus and w***y Loman display have a role in them being awarded tragic hero status but their fate at the end of the plays is also a key element. ...read more.


In Death of a Salesman, w***y Loman is ready to, and eventually does, lay down his life to secure is sense of personal dignity therefore in a modern sense he can be seen as a tragic hero. The statement that "w***y is an odd kind of anti-hero" can be justified as the anti-hero is described as "a persona characterized by a lack of "traditional" heroic qualities" and when w***y's character is compared with the criteria set out by Aristotle, this is indeed the case. A 1950's audience would have been able to empathize with w***y much more easily than with Oedipus. In fact, Arthur Miller recalls watching members of an audience cry when the curtain came down on Death of a Salesman. One could argue that w***y Loman is a modern hero with whom the modern world can relate to which would make him seem to be even more of a tragic hero than Oedipus who lived in an era which was so different. Both Oedipus and w***y Loman have several weaknesses and some of these can be interpreted as their "fatal flaws" or hamartia, as Aristotle calls them. These weaknesses serve to highlight the humanity of both characters but for different reasons. Oedipus's weaknesses make him more than a king in a world where power was everything and w***y's weaknesses make him more than a number in the American capitalist system. ...read more.


In contrast, Oedipus's self-mutilation seems pointless and his flaws and incest tarnish his nobility. Modern audiences empathize with the "common man" and the issues he deals with, such as; financial difficulty, moral issues and mental illness whereas not many audiences can empathize with an ancient Greek myth about a man who murdered his father and married his mother. However, Oedipus could be said to be more of a tragic hero because the idea that w***y died for his beliefs is not well-founded. Didn't w***y commit suicide to escape the world he could not cope with and for financial gain? He took and easy way out and received no respect for it; only his family and neighbour came to the funeral in the Requiem of Death of a Salesman. Exile was worse than death for Oedipus; not only did he have to cope with losing his wife because of what he did, he had to lose his children as well. It takes tremendous strength of character to live with the shame Oedipus has and for this he is respected. In conclusion, both w***y Loman and Oedipus are portrayed as tragic heroes, albeit in very different times where the important things in society are worlds apart. The answer to the question of whether Oedipus or w***y make a more credible tragic hero is a matter of opinion as both characters possess some of the features of the tragic hero of their time. ...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 Other Criticism & Comparison 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 Other Criticism & Comparison essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The English Patient

    5 star(s)

    At night, Hana sneaks across the garden into Kip's tent and they become lovers. She is very attracted to him and to the dark color of his skin. She knows that neither of them is beholden to the other. It is merely their choice to be together for the moment.

  2. In what ways are Gatsby and George Wilson similar or dissimilar, to whom is ...

    He initially created the false perception of himself that fooled Daisy into false hope. Daisy probably saw in Gatsby a future of material possessions and comfort, which she adored. But he did not have this and when he comes round to having this in the latter, he lies about how he came to earn the money.

  1. Intertextuality essay Macbeth. The intertextuality of Macbeth and a variety of modern texts ...

    social contract, trust or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship amongst individuals. In order for betrayal to be apparent, some components such as treachery, manipulation and deceit must be seen. This discourse could be seen in Macbeth where Banquo, the loyal friend of Macbeth, has been betrayed when he was ordered to be killed by Macbeth.

  2. Is Titus Andronicus a tregic hero

    He wanted to suffer with the people because he loves them so and he wanted to feel the pain they were going through. This can make him stronger in fight and learns to fight better in order to not lose the dear ones.

  1. Views on the penal System: The Dungeon and The Convict

    It also appears to be more declamatory and public than The Convict. In Wordsworth's poem he speaks about himself and his imagined personal relationship with the convict (repeated use of 'I') whereas Coleridge is more all-inclusive: "To each poor brother who offends against us", "Then we call in our pamper'd mountebanks".

  2. Compare and contrast American playwrights presentation of masculinity in Death of a Salesman, Whos ...

    more than loves (w***y), she admires him?, to the point that w***y suppresses her status within the family and never felt guilty to ?(go) right through (her) speech?. She says to w***y that ?(he) makes mountains out of molehills? while she confesses to her sons that ?w***y Loman never made a lot of money?.

  1. Are Othello and Anakin Skywalker Tragic Heroes?

    As Millicent Bell writes, "Othello seems to suffer the insecurity of someone who has crossed the racial line yet feels reproved for it when his white wife is reclaimed by her social and racial world in her supposed affair with Cassio" (7).

  2. The role of the Hero in American literature changes depending on internal and external ...

    to find a better life. This is most evident in the cowboy novels and movies that were abundant at the time. During the Vietnam war we see a strong anti war movement , the 1960's became a time for s****l empowerment , experimentation, there was a bigger focus on individual freedoms( escape from the draft)

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