Death of a Tragic Hero in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

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Death of a Tragic Hero in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller


Since the beginning of time, man has endeavored to become something more, to grow as a society. This has been accomplished through many extremes from war and conquest to science and exploration. The struggle endured during these events has indeed been great, but there is no greater struggle, nor one that reaps more reward, than that which the individual goes through to discover himself. Benjamin Franklin once said, “There are three things that are extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” Arthur Miller capitalized on this theme in his play turned film, Death of a Salesman. The main character of the film, Willy Loman, is an aging salesman, who
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Loman realizes that he has failed as a father and as a salesman. This causes him to become mentally unstable and he starts acting out scenes from the past, when he was happier. He pictures images of his brother giving him advice on how to be successful and constantly regrets the decisions he has made. At the end of the film, he offers the only thing he knows that can make recompense; he takes his own life. He does this so that his family can obtain the insurance money. Lomans sincere desire is directed at something greater than himself, his image or success. He is motivated by the love he has for his family.
The falsity of the American Dream is the dominant theme in Death of a Salesman. Historically the American Dream meant a promise of freedom and opportunity for all. Loman represents the primary target of this dream. Like most middle-class working men, he struggles to provide financial security for his family and dreams about making himself a financial success. After years of working as a traveling salesman, he has only an old car, an empty house and a defeated spirit. Loman is the protagonist in this film. He is a traveling salesman, the lowest icon of popular United States culture, who believes in the false promises of the American Dream. That false promise is the antagonist, which makes people believe that anyone can become rich through hard work, perseverance, or personality. Unfortunately, Loman is overcome by his dreams and illusions during the…