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Willy Loman as a Tragic Hero in The Death of a Salesman

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The salesman in the novel “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller is a perfect example of how life of today works. Willy Loman made a mistake – a big one – and tried to correct it to no avail. His misdeed left him so distraught, it had him contemplating on suicide. The audience is able to sympathize and connect with Willy because of his self-deprecation, sense of failure, overwhelming anguish and regret. Although most might not be able to relate towards the extreme actions he took because some do no commit suicide in the face of adversity. People connect with Willy because he is a man driven to extreme action.

Willy Loman is a dreamer of epic proportions. It gets to the point where can not differentiate nor distinguish between his wild hopes from rational realities in the present. The lomans – especially willy – are extremely proud even though whatever their basis is for their pride is, it is not at all founded in reality. “You and Hap and I, and I’ll show you all the towns. America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people. And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ’cause one thing, boys: I have friends. I can park my car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own.” (Miller Act 1). Despite the fact that Willy is lonely and unsuccessful, his pride leads him to boast about what he does not have and claim to be what he is not. Biff and Happy are oblivious to their fathers lies but later on, however they catch on. Willy is so delusional that he refuses to accept a job from Charley but continues to take on loans he can repay. As the play goes on, it becomes evident that Willy and his family’s pride is nothing but fiction. They keep the farce going so as not to be looked down upon by other, which is why Willy would not accept Charley’s job offer because he regards him as someone lower than him.

Willy is an emotionally unstable person. Both his father and brother left him as a child. Abandonment is one of Willys greatest fears, this might be the reason for his boasting so his kids do not leave him. “WILLY: No, Ben! Please tell about Dad. I want my boys to hear. I want them to know the kind of stock they spring from. All I remember is a man with a big beard, and I was in Mamma’s lap, sitting around a fire, and some kind of high music.” This showcases Willys desperate attempt at reminiscing his father and is suggestive of his feelings of abandonment. He is trying to find an escape from reality by drifting back into his head. The flute that is repetitively mentioned throughout the story is hinting towards the “high music” played in this act to show how his father abandonment follows Willy like a ghost. Unable to express his emotions or vent to any, he copes by being boasting to be acknowledged and abandoned or residing within his mindspace frequently.

The Lomans’ actions are just portraying what their wants; freedom and confinement. Willy, Biff and Linda feel confined in their places because of their limited income, mortgage and bills. They feel as if America’s economy and capitalism is something that traps its citizens which is ironic because America promises freedom. They are left idolizing and admiring extravagant, far away places:

WILLY: The street is lined with cars. There’s not a breath of fresh air in the neighborhood. The grass don’t grow anymore, you can’t raise a carrot in the backyard. They should’ve had a law against apartment houses. Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When I and Biff hung the swing between them?

LINDA: Yeah, like being a million miles from the city.

WILLY: There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country! The competition is maddening! Smell the stink from that apartment house! And the one on the other side…

These two quotes are displaying Linda and Willys craving for and escape to a better place. The first one touches basis with how they miss the days in which the neighborhood was greener. In the second it shows how Willy feels confined in his own home. He feels asphyxiated by how there are so many people live right on top of him and it is this type of mindset that diverges him from the social norm and leads him to have not much acquaintances.

Willy Loman is a tragic hero in the novel “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller. He faces his demons by himself makes many mistakes like every other human; his situation is not unique. What sets him apart from others is how hard he takes them and decides to act on them. His mistake irrevocably deterred his relationships with the ones he holds dearest and when his attempts to correct and eradicate them fail he does something, he makes one grand attempt to set whats wrong right and fails. Only his family, Charley, and Bernard attended his funeral because he wasn’t the best at socialising. Everyone views the stunt he pulled as pointless. Biff says Willy died for nothing, Linda says the house has been paid off but there’s nobody to live in it, and Charley eulogizes Willy as a salesman who had nothing to trade on but his dreams.

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Willy Loman As A Tragic Hero In The Death Of A Salesman. (2021, November 22). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 7, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/willy-loman-as-a-tragic-hero-in-the-death-of-a-salesman/
“Willy Loman As A Tragic Hero In The Death Of A Salesman.” GradesFixer, 22 Nov. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/willy-loman-as-a-tragic-hero-in-the-death-of-a-salesman/
Willy Loman As A Tragic Hero In The Death Of A Salesman. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/willy-loman-as-a-tragic-hero-in-the-death-of-a-salesman/> [Accessed 7 Dec. 2021].
Willy Loman As A Tragic Hero In The Death Of A Salesman [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Nov 22 [cited 2021 Dec 7]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/willy-loman-as-a-tragic-hero-in-the-death-of-a-salesman/
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