Willy is a perfect example of a tragic hero. He shows different aspects of a tragic hero such as having a tragic flaw, he is degraded by society, and struggles against the world to keep up his dignity. His tragic flaw would have to be his pride. He takes pride in pretty much everything he does, like when he says “Call out the name Willy Loman and see what happens! ”, just to show Biff and Happy how much pride he takes in his name (page 62).
His lifelong dream is to live the life of a salesman and to die the death of a salesman, and for people to recognize his name everywhere that he traveled.
He struggles with the reality that he was unsuccessful in completing his dream. Willy is a person who thinks he’s well liked and who doesn’t make mistakes, but in reality he makes many mistakes that also haunt him. This makes him regret things such as not raising his children the right way, not doing well in business, and cheating on Linda.
I believe Willy’s real tragedy would have to be his fear of being put out of place. He keeps having dreams and flashbacks that still haunt him, like when Biff catches him with another woman. That haunts Willy because he sees it as being part of the reason why Biff does not love him.
Willy always argues with those around him so he can keep whatever dignity he has. Including the argument he had with Howard on how he can still sell, the arguments with Charley over the card game and job, and then his argument with Biff about not being a dime a dozen. “I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman and you are Biff Loman! ” (page 132). Apart from Willy’s flaw, there is some hope and possibility that he will change. If hope can be brought into the play, then I don’t see why change can’t also happen? During the entire play, Willy lives by the belief of being well liked. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more… Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not-liked. He’s liked, but he’s not-well liked! ” (page 30) He doesn’t believe this even though he keeps making less and less money on business trips. “Howard, and now I can’t even pay my insurance! You can’t eat the orange and throw away the peel! A man is not a piece of fruit! ” (page 82). In spite of this, he refuses to change his view of the world and continues to struggle with things. What makes this tragic is that he does not change at all.
I think his tragic flaw is what makes a failure out of him. He has already set an idea in his mind about how he wants to be and how he wants his children to be. He is a salesman and refuses to become anything else. “I thought I’d go out with my older brother and try to locate him, and maybe settle in the North with the old man. And I almost decided to go, when I met a salesman in the Parker House… and he was eighty-four years old, and he drummed out merchandise in thirty-one states… he’d pick up the phone and call the buyers, and without even leaving his room, at the age of eight-four, he made his living” (page 81).
Even when Willy was younger he had a chance to become like his brother Ben, but chose not to. If he would have became like his brother he could have been better than the way he is now, but then he saw the life of a salesman and wouldn’t do anything else. After he’s given surety that Biff loves him, he offers the only thing he knows to somehow make up for everything; he decides to take his own life. He takes his life so Biff can get the insurance money. When he does that I think Willy’s sincere desire is directed towards something greater than himself or his “success“.
The love for his son is his motivation. But, in the end, Willy dies at the hands of his tragic flaws because of his refusal to make change to his life. Pretty much any man could relate to Willy. His stubbornness and refusal to make personal change as well as his fear of being denied his identity by the world. He brought upon himself the death of a tragic hero due to his effort in believing that existence can be impartially evaluated. That’s why I think that his death brings him to the standards of being a tragic hero.
Cite this Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman. (2017, Mar 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/death-of-a-salesman-5/