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Death of a Salesman: Tragic Hero - Essay Example

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28 March 2012. Death of a salesman: Tragic hero “The tragic hero is a man of noble stature. He is not an ordinary man, but a man with outstanding quality and greatness about him. His own destruction is for a greater cause or principle” (“What is a tragic”)…
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Death of a Salesman: Tragic Hero

Download file to see previous pages... Willy is a man of very weak character and is not a tragic hero. He pretends to hallucinate his way out of any problem he gets into. For example, when Willy is caught into a losing argument with Charles as they play cards, he starts hallucinating and talking to the ghost of his brother Ben. This frightens Charles and he leaves. Willy does something he forbids his son Biff from doing. When Biff was a teenager, Willy asked him not to make promises to girls because they would take the promises seriously while Biff would not be committed enough to fulfill his promises. When it comes to Willy, he himself throws the woman in the hotel bathroom out and in return, the woman yells at him for having broken his promises. Willy is somebody who cannot appreciate others when appreciation is due. Although he knows that he has no friend in his life but Charles, he does not maintain a nice relationship with him. Rather than appreciating Charles for having a great business and learning from him, he envies Charles and dreams of becoming richer than him without any sound planning of the same. Later, when Bernard warns Willy in time that Biff is not taking his studies seriously and is likely to fail in the Math exam, thus losing his chances of admission in UVA, Willy calls Bernard names rather than being thankful to him for such a timely indication and warning. Willy is a person who cannot digest others telling him his mistakes even if they are right. A hero is someone who takes the criticism as constructive and tries to change his ways in order to eradicate his deficiencies, but Willy does just the opposite. Willy has wrong concepts of business and professional ethics in his mind. He thinks that personality matters the most in business and makes an individual successful. As his sons are physically strong, he cares little if Biff is failing the Math exam and is getting ineligible for admission in UVA. What makes it even worse is that to Willy, personality is depicted by one’s looks rather than one’s manners and etiquettes. He has no good reason to believe that Biff would be successful as a businessman other than that Biff is physically strong. In addition to all the weaknesses that Willy has in his character, a very important weakness is that he is not consistent. At one point in time, he thinks that personality depicts an individual’s success in business, and at another time, he thinks that one’s relations and approach decide one’s success in business. One trait that Willy has that accords with the character of a hero is that Willy has a lot of self-respect. When Charlie offers him to work with him, Willy disapproves of this idea out of pride in spite of the fact that he needed a job at that time. Although Willy lived a tough life, he never gave up and always struggled. Rather than realizing his mistakes, he always remained over-confident. According to Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, “[t]he best tragic plot … moves the hero from prosperity to misfortune, occasioned not by depravity, but by some great mistake he makes” (“Aristotle’s Tragic Hero”). A tragic hero is somebody who possesses the traits of a hero but is not supported by fate in life, so ends up in the tragedy. Evaluating the character of Willy from the point of view of Aristotle, Willy cannot be considered as a tragic hero because he does not move ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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