Tragic Hero In Arthur Miller's Use Of Modern Tragedy

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For centuries, tragedy has been used to make the protagonist relatable to the audience. Despite the hero usually being someone who is high-bred, modern day films and novels still continue to use the aspect of tragedy to reach the conventional man. However, man is imperfect and no matter how noble they are, every man experiences fear. Arthur Miller’s use of modern tragedy allows the common man to be a suitable tragic hero because the simple man combats fear of displacement in their everyday life no matter how noble they are. Man fears displacement in society. Similarly, the fear of losing their role in life creates the relatability between the tragic hero and the audience. Ultimately, man fears displacement in themselves. Nobility does not …show more content…
The common man, Miller maintains, knows this fear better than any king, queen, dictator, or politician. Joe Keller knows the consuming fear of not being able to provide for his family. The business is all that matters to Joe Keller; his entire world “had a forty-foot front, it ended at the building line” (Miller 63). Joe’s entire life consisted of make money to provide for his family and sons. Like Oedipus, Joe Keller’s tragic spiral leads to a climax in which he finally accepts the answer of his fate and admits that his actions affected not only his family, but “all my sons,” (Miller 68) and he pays the ultimate price. Joe, who defends his decision to save his business and his family’s future by shipping out the cracked cylinder heads by saying “[he] did it for [Chris]” (Miller59). Joe is just a common man who feared not being able to provide for his son. The readers can pity Joe because he lost everything that is important to him at this point. Chris’ love and approval is what was important to Joe. Readers understand the situation Joe is in because they too have the fear of losing their purpose in life whether that is being a parent or serving the country. Joe is a common man who is the tragic hero of the play and is relatable to the audience because he worked his entire life to provide for his family at all costs. Losing a job that supports your family no matter how high paying comes with the fear that one day the family cannot be provided for if the job is lost. Therefore, the common man is suitable to be a tragic hero because their fear of losing their purpose is relatable and we pity the

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