Tragedy in Oedipus the King and Death of a Salesman People in real life as well as in fictions will maximally expect happy endings. However, creators of fictions could incorporate tragic endings and particularly sketch tragic heroes to make a stronger impact on the readers’ mind…
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Creators would also end the protagonist as a tragic hero as a justification for all the actions committed by him/her. On the whole, tragic endings or tragedies are being created by the authors from time immemorial. Despite being separated by more than a period of two thousand years, the two plays, Oedipus the King by Sophocles and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller have several similarities as both belong to the same genre of tragedy. So, this paper focusing on these two plays will compare how the protagonists in these plays, Oedipus and Willy Loman undergo various phases of tragedy. Setting for the tragedy or Hamartia Willy Loman, the patriarch of the family, lives an insecure and deluding life with his wife Linda Loman and two sons named Biff Loman and Happy Loman. Willy is a traveling salesman, who does not achieve expected success both in his professional as well as in his personal life, thereby ‘setting’ him to become a tragic hero later. As the society of his times was filled with heightened expectations due to the phenomenon of American Dream, Willy not to be left behind wanted to become hugely successful. However, his American Dream can be a misguided one because he wanted to achieve success without putting his best efforts. He was working as a salesman for sizable years, but he failed to achieve the expected sales results. Although, his original love was carpentry, he did not wanted to take it has a profession. He wanted to work only as a salesman, and felt ‘memorable’ to be a failed salesman than a contented carpenter, who did what he loved. Even, when his eldest son, Biff questions his mother, Linda, why his father could accept that he is a failed salesman, and take on the vocation of carpentry, like the grandfather, Willy takes offence to it and counters Biff by stating that “Even your grandfather was better than a carpenter” (Miller 43). Apart from his unsuccessful professional life, personally also he suffered because he was abhorred by his sons especially Biff. As Willy once indulged in an immoral act of non-marital sex with an unknown woman, and as Biff came to know about it, he hated his father. Thus, with Willy Loman experiencing struggles both in his professional and personal ‘spheres’ of life, Hamartia gets initiated or the stage is set for the onset of tragedy. On the other hand, in the play Oedipus Rex, the setting for the onset of tragedy developed through different set of events. Oedipus was born to King Laius of Thebes and Queen Jacosta, but he was given away to the foster parents, because of the fear that the prophecy of he killing his own father could come true. “…was doomed to kill him,” (Sophocles 109). However, that prophecy comes true when he kills King Lauis without knowing that he is his father. That incident further leads to the fulfillment of the second prophecy, as Oedipus solves the Sphinx puzzle and marries the widowed queen, Jocasto, again without knowing that she is his mother, thus becoming the King of Thebes. “Oedipus with the answer, but only so that he may enter the grateful city, be hailed as its hero, and marry its widowed queen” (Smith 93). Although, both the protagonists’ life events moved around their family and profession/kingship, there are certain differences. That is, as discussed above, Willy’s initiation of Hamartia is due to his own mistakes and inefficiencies, while Oedipus’ setting of tragedy seems to be driven by external factors, than him committing mistakes. He did not
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The oracle reveals that the plague will only end when the murderer of the erstwhile king Laius is killed or banished for his misdeed. Oedipus also calls upon Tiresias who reluctantly divulges that it is Oedipus who killed Laius. Oedipus is angered because he has won against the Sphinx and has his pride.
Many having been waiting upon the downfall of this piece of literature, but it is almost certain that it will not come to a dark end. While many argue that it will, I still stand for the fact that it will stand the test of time and continue being used in many schools, as a literature tool.
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller having been written in 1949 is the latest followed by Hamlet written sometime between 1599 and 1601 A.D. with Oedipus the King going way back to the Greek era in 429 B.C. Arthur Miller consistently makes use of Willy’s past to engross the reader in his Death of a Salesman.
Yet, sometimes the tragedy is in the life of the protagonist and not his untimely death. Three characters in three books, Oedipus in Oedipus Rex, Tom Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie, and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman tell the stories of men that are trapped in their mortal heroism and misunderstand the world all around them.
In this essay we are going to analyze the relationship between father and son in the stories – “Hamlet”, “Oedipus and the King” and “Death of a Salesman.”
William Shakespeare’s spectacular story ‘Hamlet’ encompasses
s, it is possible to understand how the sudden downfall of a mighty man, such as Oedipus the King from the play by Sophocles, would be shocking to a public brought up to believe that the mighty cannot fail (Bryant, 1996). To these people, these same events happening to a common
The play is guided by a prophesized fate that states that Oedipus Rex would come to kill his father and sleep with his mother. The play demonstrates that no matter what the characters associated with the fate do that fate is bound to happen. This
On the other hand, the play death of a salesman was written by a renowned American playwright, Arthur Miller and published in 1949(Cohen, 2003).It is a true depiction of present day heroic tragedy. As narrated in the play, Willy the
The economic growth registered in 2014, at just 7.4 percent, is the lowest growth level that had been tallied for the country in more than two decades. Other indicators of the economy, such as demand for commodities like steel, and
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