Tragedy of a Common Man in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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A tragic hero brings his own demise upon himself due to a crippling character flaw. Willy Loman from “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller satisfies the criteria for a tragic hero because his pride leads to his downfall. Despite not being a man of high estate, Willy’s readiness to “lay down his life” (miller criticism) makes him a prime example of a modern tragic hero. Willy’s pride inhibits the success of his family by feeding his egotistical nature, idealism, and false value system. Willy eventually addresses these negative traits he possesses and sacrifices himself for his family, thus satisfying Death of a Salesman as a tragic play. An overinflated ego can rapidly cause a person’s success to perish. Willy’s tragic flaw of pride …show more content…
Willy’s ego is the root of his idealistic views on life which furthermore ruins Biff’s life, creating a greater tragic effect in the play.
Additionally, Willy Loman’s pride causes him to view every scenario unrealistically. His false sense of pride and idealistic thoughts cause him to scream that he’s “not a dime a dozen” (132) when in reality, Willy Loman is the epitome of the common man. The expectations Willy has for his sons Biff and Happy are unrealistic which hinders their ability to succeed. The mental distress Biff feels for not being able to live up to his father’s expectations shatters his self-esteem. Happy notices Biff’s lack of self-drive and asks him what happened to his “old confidence” (21). Biff replies by saying “why does dad mock me all the time?” (21), proving that his self-esteem has taken a toll over the years due to his father’s idealism and high expectations. Willy puts pressure on his sons to succeed because he is prideful of being a Loman. He places a far too idealistic view on achieving the American Dream in which money is the core component. This puts pressure on Biff because instead of striving to achieve his dream job in which he’s happy, Biff attempts to fulfill the idealistic expectations of his father. He attempts to do this by moving from job to job in an attempt to find the quickest way to make money and become well liked. Eventually, this leads him to the age of thirty-four at which he believes he’s living “a measly manner of

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