Willy Loman Tragic Hero Essay

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Arthur Miller’s writing of Death of a Salesman does correctly fit the title of a tragedy because his main character, Willy Loman, does possess the qualities needed to be considered a tragic hero according to modern-day tragic heroes. Hamlet and Oedipus are the well-known tragic heroes from the past. They relate more to Aristotle than Willy Loman does and that is what causes the controversy in these tragedies. Aristotle had written down some of the common tragic hero characteristics for Greek tragedies, but those do not relate to more modern tragedies that have been written. Miller’s main character Willy Loman does deserve to have the title tragic hero. According to the pink handout, “…A new kind of tragic hero was created out of a result of this ‘classical’ definition. The modern hero, it seems, does not necessarily have to be of high estate – but rather an ‘ordinary person’” (Pink Handout). Willy Loman is indeed an ordinary man in Death of a…show more content…
These characters have what it truly means to be a tragic hero in the past. They both possess the qualities, according to Aristotle, of a tragic hero. They are both born of noble birth, and the audience feels pity on these characters. They also both have Peripeteia, defined as a reversal of fortune brought about by the hero’s tragic flaw. Hamlet’s tragic flaw was him waiting too long to kill Claudius and in doing so, everyone died including Hamlet. Oedipus’s tragic flaw, on the other hand, was his excessive pride. His ego got too large when he solved the riddle and didn’t believe his fate. As Bowra says, “For though Oedipus’ mistake in killing his father leads to other disasters, it is itself fore-ordained by the gods. The tragic career of Oedipus does not begin with it. His doom is fixed before his birth” (Bowra). Oedipus and Hamlet are well known tragic heroes from the past, but they do not easily compare to the modern-day heroes such as Willy

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