Death of a Salesman - A Modern Day Tragedy Essay

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Death of a Salesman - A Modern Day Tragedy

The question which arises within Death of a Salesman is, 'Is this a modern Tragedy?' A tragic play can be commonly observed when a protagonist falls from a great height. His decline is not about immediate death, although in most cases death becomes apparent at the end of the play, e.g. Macbeth. A tragedy shows the suffering of a character and utter compulsion of him if he does not succeed to reach his dream. These plays show the blissful release from intolerable suffering this character feels. In most tragedies the immediate audience is unable to relate directly to this torture the character is going through. They will still have emotions towards the play but usually, e.g.
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To add to the effect of the past and show how important and prominent it is, the past is staged downstage. Willy exaggerates his commission to Linda to pretend that his dream is coming true. The Loman's cannot except that they 'aren't well-liked.' And that they need to work to make a future. Bernard reminds Biff that if the dream is to be fulfilled it needs a foundation in hard work. Willy ridicules this

Tragic heroes have a fatal flaw. Willy's is betrayal. He has an affair with a woman and buys her stockings, while Linda has to sew her old ones. But his main flaw is the inability to accept his failure and expectancy to live up his American Dream. Charley offers him a job but
Willy is a man of principal and declines this offer. Not only does he do this but also looks insulted by people wanting to help him when surely he is more than capable himself? Willy's biggest mistake was not taking the opportunity to go to Alaska with Ben. Ben is the only person he will admit his defeat to. 'If I'd gone to Alaska that time everything would be different.'

At the time of this play America was a free Enterprise Economy, conceived as a land of opportunity. The play shows the consequences of the common man, Willy. He was a victim of the capitalist system. The play says to be successful you have to do your own thing, and it takes a sympathetic
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