"Death of a Salesman" as a Modern-Day Tragedy Analytical Essay by Nicky

A discussion on how Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" is a modern-day tragedy.
# 145324 | 1,086 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2010 | US
Published on Nov 03, 2010 in Drama and Theater (American)

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The paper relates Aristotle's definition of a tragedy and his belief that the hero of the play is a character of great stature. The paper shows how Arthur Miller's play "Death of a Salesman" contains most of these aspects with the exception of Willy Loman being of great stature. The paper asserts, however, that one of Aristotle's requirements is that tragedies reflect life, and this requires that modern dramas shift from the tales of great kings and princes to common heroes such as Willy.

From the Paper:

"Death of a Salesman is a tragedy in that its hero possesses a fatal and tragic flaw. Willy suffers from an inability to face reality. In short, he is blind because the life he dreams about is not the life he lives. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is good to dream but Willy dreams too much and acts too little. He wastes his life by never realizing that he might not be a good enough salesman to succeed. Instead of facing this harsh truth, Willy would rather invent excuses for why his salesmanship fails. He honestly believes that soon, he will "knock Howard for a loop, kid. I'll get an advance, and I'll come home with a New York job" (Miller 1070-1). He honestly believes that he will succeed and never have to "get behind another wheel" (1071) again. He cannot face the truth about his failure and makes excuses. He tells Linda that the reason he did not do well once was because "three of the stores were half-closed for inventory in Boston. Otherwise, I woulda broke records" (1046). He admits, "people don't seem to take to me" (1047) but he never stops to consider why. The people he works with, "just pass me by. I'm not noticed" (1047), he tells her without further consideration. Willy's fatal flaw is his refusal to accept the reality of his life."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Aristotle. "The Poetics." Understanding Plays. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 1990
  • Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. An Introduction to Literature. Sylvan Barnet, ed. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 1985. pp. 1030-1114.
  • ---. Theater: The Lively Art. New York: Mc-Graw-Hill. 1991.
  • Barranger, Milly. Understanding Plays. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. 1990.
  • Cohen, Robert. Theatre. Mountain View: Mayfield Publishing Company. 1981.

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

"Death of a Salesman" as a Modern-Day Tragedy (2010, November 03) Retrieved April 19, 2024, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/death-of-a-salesman-as-a-modern-day-tragedy-145324/

MLA Format

""Death of a Salesman" as a Modern-Day Tragedy" 03 November 2010. Web. 19 April. 2024. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/death-of-a-salesman-as-a-modern-day-tragedy-145324/>