Comparing Tragedies In Macbeth And Death Of A Salesman

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Comparison of tragedies between Arthur Miller and Shakespeare

There are many instances throughout the play’s, “Death of a Salesman” written by Arthur Miller and “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare where many characteristics are existent which support the idea of both stories being tragedies, especially so in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.” However, both writers achieve this tragic outcome in different approaches. Shakespeare uses the clear cut model of tragedy set up by Aristotle while Arthur Miller strives away from the Aristotle tragedy and argues that tragedy is a genre that is just as applicable to “normal” characters with regular everyday problems. Both works focus on the element of tragedies but their portrayals are somewhat different
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Another characteristic of a tragedy is the use of violence and death. Once again, both play’s use this in entirely different ways. In “Death of a Salesman” it is shown that Willy and his family have tremendous family issues because of Willy’s fatal flaw of illusion. Most of the play consists of arguments, sobbing and pleading because of Willy’s ignorance of the true values of life. Especially when Willy becomes violent when things do not go his way. This is shown when Biff says to his mother “Because I know he’s a fake and he doesn’t like anybody around who knows!”(Act 1). Although tragedies with Shakespeare usually involves violence and murder. Miller follows this formula differently. The idea of not using physical violence to kill someone, but to kill someone with emotional violence as Willy does towards Biff is also a tremendous loss in the play. The Loman family breaks apart and relationships are killed. But a similarity in both plays is that the tragic hero does die. Miller shows a different kind of violence that still correlates to the elements of a…show more content…
In Macbeth however, Shakespeare follows the formula of a tragedy precisely and entirely different from Miller’s tragedy, including brutal murders and death throughout. Macbeth kills as he is a soldier, he kills King Duncan and anybody in his way. There is even violence through word choice as his manipulative wife says that she’d kill her own child ”Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you have done to this." (1:7, 63-65) Shakespeare uses every moment in the play to use physical violence as a aristotle tragedy should. Death is present in almost every scene of Macbeth through the weather, the animals, etc. This violence leads macbeth to madness and pure evil whilst Miller tries to create character development with each character rather than kill them off throughout the story. Shakespeare shows physical violence that stays in line with what a tragedy is said to
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