The Hamartia of Blindness in Death of a Salesman and Oedipus Rex

1048 Words Feb 19th, 2018 4 Pages
Tragedy is not about learning of certain characters, but rather learning about life itself. The inability to confront reality is a matter that takes place both in everyday life and in both plays. Despite the differences in both plays, Death of a Salesman and Oedipus Rex, the theme of being unable to confront reality is revealed through the protagonists’ shared hamartia of blindness. Through experiences with themselves and other characters, the protagonists show that their tragic flaw is what leads to their downfall. Both plays display the blindness of the protagonists, Oedipus and Willy Loman, when coming to terms with what they believe to be true. Although Oedipus truly is the murderer, he does not have the slightest thought that it could be him. He is blind to the prophecy and decides he must take action towards the murderer when he says: “Whoever killed King Laïos might–who knows?–/Lay violent hands even on me–and soon./I act for the murdered king in my own interest” (Sophocles, 141-143). This is very ironic because Oedipus is feeling threatened by the murderer when he is in fact the one whom he seeks, but he is blind to that fact. Throughout the play, Willy Loman is consumed by the fact of being ‘well liked’ and maintaining a respectable status. He lies to friends and family about his successes to remain above the social…
Open Document