Death Of A Salesman

972 Words4 Pages
Literary critic Joseph Wood Krutch, author of the essay “Tragic Fallacy,” asserts that tragic heroes do not exist in modern day literature. He proffers this idea with the argument that noble pursuits have become nonexistent in modern day heroic figures. Today, people are quick to group athletes, politicians and actresses as heroes. While these well-known celebrities are associated with great success and certainly high-class life styles, they may in fact lack the nobility that creates the true hero whom Joseph Wood Krutch refers to. But what about the more common folk? Nobility is indeed found in the single mom—working two jobs, picking her kids up from their respective schools, coming home to make dinner before leaving for her next shift. Or what about the honor of the immigrant—learning new language and culture, working for minimum wage, doing anything to support his family? Similarly, it is found in the everyday parents—attending their children’s extra-curricular activities and working hard to create a stable life for their kids. It is this average man that Arthur Miller attributes to a hero in the essay, “Tragedy and the Common Man.” In his essay, Arthur Miller describes his idea of a tragic hero. When he states his opinion that “the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were,” (Miller, Tragedy and the Common Man) he directly contradicts Krutch’s thesis about tragic heroes today. Miller demonstrates the qualities he identifies with tragic heroes through the character Willy Loman, in his drama Death of a Salesman. Although not esteemed or “exalted,” Willy Loman is a tragic hero by Miller’s definition as he is a human being with complex emotions, who is not a pessimist and is willing to “lay down his life” to “secure his sense” of pride. In Miller’s essay he explains that the common man has the ability to be a tragic
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