A “Tragic Hero” can be defined as someone of high stature that is blind to reality and makes decisions that eventually lead to his downfall. Arthur Miller challenged that idea in his play Death of a Salesman. He brought this idea that a low man, a common man can be a tragic hero. A tragic hero needs to be a character that anyone can relate to and feel empathy for. In the play Death of a Salesman, Miller introduces us to the protagonist, Willy Loman, whose last name is a play on words. Loman is someone from humble beginnings and upbringings who is constantly trying to achieve the “American Dream”. Loman is inevitably destroyed by his actions, created by his lack of awareness of reality and his flawed dream. Through his self-destruction, …show more content…
His obsession to attain the “American Dream” leads him to lie to himself and as well as others. Through all the lies, Willy begins to believe them and cannot differentiate between his reality and actuality. For example, when Biff tells Willy that he was not a salesman, Willy begins rambling on, denies the truth, and brushes it off. Every time when his pride is hurt or his dignity is tarnished he opts to lying to save what little he has. This “Low Man” literally took reality and the truth said it was otherwise. In order to save his pride, Willy lost himself in lies in order to cope with his shortcomings, which lead to his downfall and the obsession of fulfilling this impalpable dream. This trait is just one of many used to describe a tragic …show more content…
Throughout the play, Loman seems to do just that. For example, when he tells his boys about the “American Dream”, that becomes their everything. His obsession for Biff to become a successful football player become Biff’s life. In act one, his family revolves around him and they participate in Willy’s fantasies just to please Willy. Willy meant to the world to his family, instilling many traits a “man” should have, especially into Biff. Later on, you find out that Willy has an affair in Boston and Biff finds
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Tragic heroes are characters that make judgement errors that leads to their downfall or destruction. The tragic love story of Romeo and Juliet is a prime example of a tragic hero. Shakespeare portrayed Romeo and Juliet as victims that captured the audience's hearts. The book Inherit the wind written by Jerome Lawrence, and Robert E. Lee, is no love story, and the main character Matthew Harrison Brady is no Romeo; however Brady does meet Aristotle's criteria to be considered a tragic hero.
He is filled with emotions, mainly disappointment, and he comes to a self-realisation that he cannot live trying to please his father with fake American values. Biff shouts that “[he is] a dime a dozen, and so [is Willy]” (Act 2, p. 105). He is trying to force his father to realise that he is doing the right thing by becoming his own person and by not conforming to the false values of society, which his father desperately clings ono. Willy responds that “[he is] not a dime a dozen, [he is] Willy Loman, and [he] is Biff” (Act 2, p. 105). This shows us the extent of Willy’s desire to reach his dream of American financial success.
In the play Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, the protagonist, is portrayed as contradictory, insecure, and suicidal. Willy can be described as contradictory early on in Act 1. For instance, when Willy is conversing with his wife, Linda, in their bedroom he states, “Biff is a lazy bum!”. However, only a few lines later, Willy contradicts himself by saying, “I’ll put my money on Biff”. Willy no longer believes that Biff is a lazy and thinks that Biff will be successful.
Biff wants to retake the class in the summer but when he catches his father having an affair his perception of his father, his biggest role model, is shattered causing him to give up on the things he used to want to do. Willy represses this memory entirely and tries to blame others for Biffs behavior instead of himself. Willy also fools himself into thinking he is well liked and successful. In small moments of clarity Willy admits that people have made fun of his physique and no one talks to him anymore when he goes
Biff lays bare his true feelings towards Willy, and how the image of him being a father figure is shattered. He reveals the damaging impact of Willy's unrealistic expectations and values that were imposed upon him, shaped by Willy's view of the American dream and his utopian vision. Biff expresses his deep frustration with the unattainable expectations that Willy has placed on him, which have led to a constant sense of pressure to cater to a false view of success. Biff argues "I had to be boss big shot in two weeks, and I'm through with it. Never again!
In the Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, an American Dream is portrayed as a false promise that ultimately paves a way to disillusionment and disappointment . The play tells a story about a struggling salesman, Willy Loman ; who aggressively and desperately holds on to the the belief that prosperity and success are within his reach. He finds himself overly visualising about a bright future and his mistakes, as well as his failures haunt him. He is, however, blinded from seeing his reality by his obsession to succeed and jeopardizes his relationships with his family. He also fails to take into account the value of his own life.
Furthermore another character that lives in a world of illusions in Willy’s son Biff. Biff is thirty-four years old without out a stable job and still living at home with his mom and dad. He was a high school football star, he had a charming personality, and lots of friends. Willy thought this is all his son would ever need. But since he failed math and did not have enough credits to graduate his life started going downhill.
“The man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (33). In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller uses foil characters to elucidate Willy’s flaws that ultimately prevent him and his family from succeeding. The contrast between Charley and Willy and Bernard and Biff serves to highlight how Willy’s obsession with achieving his version of the American Dream impacts both his life and his children’s. His poor values are passed on to his children producing even more failures. ¬¬¬¬Both Charley and Willy work as salesmen, however Charley represents what Willy desired to become – successful.
Secondly, Willy’s refusal to accept reality that he is with his hands is doing cases him to do injustice to himself. In Willy’s conversation with Charley he boasts about his work around the house when asks “Did you see the ceiling I put up in the living-room?” (Miller 44) Willy is unwavering in his belief that he can only be successful by being a salesman and that a salesman is what he is meant to be. One can speculate that although he secretly enjoys working with his hands, he feels a labour-intensive job is beneath him and demeaning, which aligns with his lack of humility. This stubbornness allows him to maintain the fantasy in which his true talents do not exist as he continues to convince himself that he is satisfied being a salesman.
Willy Loman and Walter Lee Younger are two different people, in two different worlds with almost the same type of problems. The struggles between the Younger and Lomans is quite a twist for some people, but if given a chance can be unraveled to see how much love and care is actually put into the meaning of family. First is Willy and how his life is being changed by his memory and struggle to keep up with payments. Second is Walter struggling with his drinking problem and trying to keep his temper in check to tell a certain white man to leave and that they are keeping the house they bought. Lastly is the difference in their struggles that they have to face in order to survive and handle in order to keep their family together.
While Linda enabled him, Willy could not help himself too keep ruining the good opportunities he had and turning them into some factious reality. At Willy`s funeral Biff comes to the realization that his father had all the wrong dreams and visions of success. Willy`s only dream was the fake “American Dream” that people believe will happen overnight. Willy`s failed attempts and happiness bonded into one and played a part into him creating this false reality and persona that he was the best salesman and that he was well loved by everyone around him.
In the early 20th century after the world war I, this was the period when modernism started. There was the industrialization, development of modern technology to solve problems and there was the modernist movement in writing also. This movement was characterized by a lack of confidence in the traditional ways of explaining existence and its meaning. Family, and religion were no longer seen as being dependable. Writers could not find any meaning in the old ways of writing, they did see the need to start writing in new techniques as the world was changing.
He has a Job, two kids, and a wife. Willy is a salesman who dreams to be like his role model, Dave Singleman. Singleman - in Willy perspective- had the ultimate successful life, as expressed in this quote: "Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people?" [Act 2] Willy believed that success, was equivalent to how well liked he was. Willy's 'flaw' was his foolish pride, his persistence of achieving "his rightful status".
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.