Literary Analysis: Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” – A Tragedy?

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What is man’s focus in life? What is man’s purpose in life? Is it materialism and/or the prospect of how others may view him? Should man put their trust in God’s Word the Bible or leave it up to himself? In “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, but is it correct to define this theatric drama as a tragedy. According to Klaas Tindemans, “Aristotle’s concept of tragedy has been perceived as both a descriptive and a normative concept: a description of a practice as it should be continued” therefore, Aristotle’s definition of tragedy could be considered complex. On the other hand, according to Tony Hunt in “The Tragedy of Roland”, “in the Poetics Aristotle is particularly concerned with capturing the essence of tragedy and its …show more content…
By all accounts, “Death of a Salesman” reflects on our society as a whole. Some individuals are wealthy and living the American dream, some are just trying the make ends meet, while others are living above their means. From cars to houses, everything is purchased using credit cards. However, what happens when the money dries up and/or the person loses his or her job, the person has no way of paying their bills. This is indeed a tragic state of affairs, but is it a tragedy as depicted by Aristotle? According to the text, Aristotle wrote that a tragedy “is the imitation in dramatic form of an action that is serious and complete, with incidents arousing pity and fear wherewith it effects a catharsis of such emotions”(1220). In other words, the characters portrayal in the drama brings about some intense emotions of pity or fear from the audience. According to, catharsis is defined as “emotional purification through Greek tragedy: according to Aristotle, a purifying of the emotions that is brought about in the audience of a tragic drama through the evocation of intense fear and pity”. Therefore, after reading “Death of a Salesman”, it indeed has brought about some intense feelings of pity and fear.

The text goes on to define Aristotle definition of a tragic hero in six sections. The text states that the “chief characters are noble personages” (1220) with noble actions or “a man of
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