Tragedy And The Common Man By Arthur Miller

2260 Words Apr 29th, 2016 10 Pages
In his essay “Tragedy and the Common Man” Arthur Miller redefines the genre of tragedy and the tragic hero. Miller defines a tragedy as a person struggling against an injustice in the world around him to, which he responds forcefully. Miller states that the “wound from which the inevitable events spiral is the wound of indignity, and its dominant force is indignation” (144). The wound originates from the injustice in the environment, but it is perceived by the character as an “indignation” or other forms of outrage. Ultimately, the struggle of the character leads to that character’s downfall, and also reveals the nature of injustice as being insurmountable by the individual. Miller writes that the character’s “destruction in the attempt [to evaluate himself justly] posits a wrong or an evil in his environment” (145). Therefore, Miller idea of tragedy stems not from the flaws within the character, but from the flaws within the environment in which he or she lives that the character rails against, but is never able to overcome.
Tragic heroes, according to Miller, actively and entirely commits themselves in a hopeless attempt to attain or regain their personal dignity. Miller states, “the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing--his sense of personal dignity” (144). This statement emphasizes the absence of “personal dignity” that the character seeks to gain or regain, and it…
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