"Death of a Salesman" Is Willy a tragic hero? Does he have a tragic flaw? discussion

Essay by agakutynaCollege, Undergraduate August 2004

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I did not find Willy to be a tragic hero- according to Aritstotle he would of been a man

who enjoys great reputation and good fortune. Willy had neither of these. I found him

to be irresponsible, unable to live in his reality- cheating on his wife- somone who would

rather borrow money from Charley- a friend than to work for him. I feel that he took

the easy way out by killing himself. He did in the end provide for his wife- however-

now she is alone. All those years of financial stress and "standing behind her man" -

she is left "free & clear" finally owning the home she'd lived in for 25 years but now she

lives there without the one she's been so dedicated to for so long.

I would have to say that Willy by far is not a tragic hero, under Aristotles definition of

one. He did not appear to be a great father or husband. He drove himself crazy while

trying to push his kids towards perfection. He also ended up killing himself and giving his

wife what they both wanted their house paid off. He did not appear to be a man of good

fortune. He did however in his mind enjoy a great reputation through business.

According to Aristotle, Willie is not a tragic hero. He is not a noble person "who enjoys

great reputation and good fortune." According to Arthur Miller, a tragic hero is one

who "does not remain passive in what he believes is a challenge to his dignity." The hero

would not simply accept his situation without a fight. A tragic flaw is when the

protagonist has a "compulsion to evaluate himself justly." Based on these statements, I

would have to say that Willy is not...