In the end, Willy's delusions lead him to take his own life. According to Aristotle, tragic heroes also have a moment of recognition, or anagnorisis. This is supposed to be a moment where the hero realizes the terrible mistake he's made and usually moans about it a lot. This happens to Oedipus when he realizes that he's inadvertently killed his father and slept with his mother.
- Willy Loman.
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You could argue that Willy has a small realization near the end of the play. He never says it directly, but at some point—probably after Howard fires him—he must realize that he's just never going to succeed in business. If he didn't come to this realization, then he wouldn't decide to kill himself so Biff could use his life insurance money.
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However, though Willy must make some small realization toward the end of the play, we hesitate to label it as full blown anagnorisis. Willy definitely goes to his death amid a cloud of delusion.
Even after Biff totally lays it out for his dad that all he wants to do is be a cowboy or whatever, Willy refuses to understand. The pitiful salesman kills himself, thinking that Biff will use the life insurance money to start a business. It becomes painfully obvious at the funeral that this is totally not going to happen, showing that Willy went to his death without coming to grips with reality. Yes, it seems that, unlike many classical Greek tragic heroes, Willy doesn't have a major anagnorisis. Willy is also different from his tragic predecessors because he isn't royalty of any kind.
Yep, Willy is just a salesman. He has no real power in the world, and not too many people really care when he dies. Unlike the legendary and powerful Oedipus, Willy is a nobody. But why would Arthur Miller try to write a tragedy about a total schmuck? Did he not read Aristotle's book or something?
Hardly—we're guessing that Miller knew Aristotle's ideas better than we do. It turns out that the fact that Willy is an everyday guy is part of the whole point Miller is trying to make. In Arthur Miller's famous essay, "Tragedy of the Common Man," he states, "I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were. It's that fact that they share the same problems as we do today, the same flaws, fears, and hopes.
Some critics have said that true tragedy is impossible when your hero is a common man. They say that when an everyday guy goes down, not as many people suffer as they would if it were a king.
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OK, sure, but we have a question: is the size of a tragedy really limited to the world of the play? Can't we look into the life of a common man and recognize our own flaws? Can't we see those flaws in society around us? Why can't a common man's life have size and meaning?
Death of a Salesman
Miller ends his essay by saying, "It is time, I think, that we who are without kings took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time—the heart and spirit of the average man. All rights reserved. There are also Death of a Salesman analysis essay topic on the three major characters — Willy, Biff, and Linda. Death of a Salesman is not an easy play to read and analyze. Many students today find it dull, boring, and often outright depressing.
They often do not want to take the time to produce a good essay on any topic related to the play. Just put a few lines and we will contact you immediately! Get help in academic writing — EssayPenguins. Because we know exactly what matters most to you. Leave all papers to us and rest!
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