Essay about Death of A Salesman as a Modern Tragedy

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Death of A Salesman as a Modern Tragedy


It has been stated that the audience needs to have mixed feelings about the destruction of a human being for a play to be a tragedy. To establish Death of A Salesman as a tragedy, we must demonstrate that not only does the audience feel sadness due to Willy’s demise, but also they feel that justice has been exacted on Willy for his behavior. As this is the case I will first examine the reasons why the audience feels sadness for Willy, and then go on to see why it is that the audience also feels that Willy deserves the punishment which fate hands him.

It is obvious throughout Death of A Salesman that Willy Loman’s life is bad, and that it is getting worse, despite Willy’s
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Willy’s problems at work, however, are not his only problems, and they are not even the most serious ones he has. Another of the major problems which Willy has is his relationship with his sons, and in particular Biff. Neither of Willy’s children seem to measure up to his expectations. Willy expected his children to ‘make it big’ in the city, and whilst Happy works in the city and is doing more to gain his father’s approval than Biff , even he is not very successful, working as an assistant to the assistant of a ‘buyer’. Biff is even more of a disappointment to his father than his brother, holding a variety of temporary jobs on the great plains as a manual laborer, and also getting into trouble with the police for stealing a suit (the audience is lead to believe that Biff’s stealing is not an isolated incident). Willy believes that Biff could have made more of himself, a fact which he doesn’t hide from Biff himself, and this seems to be the main cause of the tension between the two of them (though, as I will discuss later, the real reason actually lies in the past).

Despite the seriousness of the two aforementioned problems, Willy’s most serious problem is in my opinion the problem he has with being stuck in the past. He…