Willy Loman as a Tragic Hero in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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Willy Loman as a Tragic Hero in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

Should 'Willy Loman' of Arthur Millers classic, Death of a Salesman be regarded as a tragic hero, or merely a working-class, socially inadequate failure? Described by Miller as a "self-destructive, insecure anti-hero", it seems almost impossible for Loman to be what is known as a tragic hero in the 'classical' sense, but with the inclusion of other factors he maybe a tragic hero, at least in the modern context, or partially suit one nonetheless.

To make the decision as to Whether Loman is a tragic hero or not, one must define the term 'tragic hero' and reveal its development in theatre over the course of time. The tragic hero
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Although Shakespeare tends to follow this pattern; his education may have led him to lesser liberal thinking. Miller believes it may also include the modern common man. To relate Loman to the likes of Lear, Hamlet, Oedipus, directly would be ludicrous but some comparisons can be made. As Biff states Loman does follow "the wrong dreams" but he does work and he is just able to provide for his family and pay off the mortgage. However it is clear that even Loman's best is not enough, this is shown by the result of the borrowing of money from Charley. As salesmen are paid on commission Loman cannot be faulted on this, as his age, work conditions and his mental state are all core contributors to the fact he cannot make ends meet. The other tragic heroes have faults of which are the trigger of their demise i.e. Othello's jealousy. Likewise Loman has his own faults, his main one being, and his belief in the American dream. The American dream is a concept that, any one who works hard, can succeed in "the land of opportunity." This offers riches to those who start with nothing. Ben is a true representation of this as Willy states, "…a man started with the clothes on his back and ended up with diamond mines…" Loman has yet to achieve such a goal yet still holds on to the dreams at
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