Death Of A Saleman. Is Willy Loman A Tragic Hero Essay, Research Paper
According to Arthur Miller, The tragic feeling is invoked whenever we are in the presence of a character, any character, who is ready to sacrifice his life, if need be, to secure one thing, his sense of personal dignity. Willy Loman was willing to do that, no matter what the cost. That makes Willy Loman an excellent example of Aristotle s tragic hero.
Willy is far from a perfect man. He is a flawed human being, and his flaws are very much like our own. He wants what we want–dignity, success, respect, and a decent standard of living. He was not born in a high social class and he never lived in high society but he believed that his was in an upper class of society. He told himself so many times that his family and him were not average, that they were better that the normal family.
Willy is generally a good father, husband, and human being. However, his one tragic flaw is his lack of a grip on reality. He couldn t differentiate the difference between the current time and the past. His flashbacks are a part of his everyday lifestyle, only he doesn t know that he is experiencing them. Because he lacks that awareness, he brings about his own downfall.
Willy could not comprehend that his family is average. No matter what his family members do he thinks that the entire world revolves around them. The have made their names famous for a small amount of time in high school, but they haven t done anything important since. Willy doesn t pay attention to anything other than the positive aspects of their lives. Biff tries to explain that the are an average family to him and in the final argument Willy understands what Biff is telling him. That catharsis brings upon a realization of what his life means and what he has achieved.
Willy s realization of his life causes him to have a dramatic change in the way he looks at life and a reversal in fortune. He knows that his life is not what he had thought and he thinks of the only honorable way to get out of his troubles, he must kill himself and let all the insurance money go to his family. His decision to kill himself in order for Biff to benefit represents an awareness of how futile his own struggle has become.
There are many characteristics of Willy that would make him a tragic hero, but all of the characteristics are from interpretation. The feeling I had towards Willy is compassion, which is an emotion that must be felt for the character to be a tragic hero. I do not find the play depressing; I feel that Willy Loman was a man that would do anything to better the quality of his families life.