Tragic Hero In Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

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A tragic hero is a literary character that makes a judgment error that leads to his or her downfall. Traditionally, a tragic hero is reserved only for the elite, or noble members of society. However, Miller believes that the common man is equally subject to tragedy as the highest kings are. In The Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller portrays the protagonist, Willy Loman as a tragic hero. Willy Loman is a financially struggling man in his sixties looking for success for him and his family. Miller depicts Willy as a tragic character in his willingness to preserve his dignity. Additionally, Willy’s dignity is tainted in the story because of his flawed philosophy of the American Dream. This along with unjust comparisons leads to Willy’s death. Based on how Willy Loman evaluates himself unjustly, he is a tragic hero because he must do anything to preserve his dignity, and his false impression of the American Dream, which leads to his downfall. According to Miller, a tragic hero is one who is willing to die for his dignity, this is seen in Willy Loman. In Tragedy and the Common Man Arthur Miller states “the tragic feeling is evoked in us…show more content…
Miller states that a tragic flaw is a character’s “unwillingness to remain passive in the face of what he conceives to be a challenge to his dignity” (“Tragedy” 1). Willy’s tragic flaw is his belief that you do not need to work hard but instead everyone is entitled to the American Dream and success. This is seen when he praises Ben’s words after Ben says “when I was seventeen I walked into the jungle, and when I was twenty-one I walked out. And by God I was rich” (Miller, DOAS 48). Willy truly believes the American Dream just happens for everyone and requires no hard work. All you have to do is be well liked. This misinterpretation of the American Dream is what caused Willy to never be successful and his sons to be
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