Tragedy Salesman Essay

Towards the beginning of the play, Willy falls back in time to a place where Biff and Happy were perfect sons.When Arthur Miller began reading plays in college, Greek tragedies made a profound impression on him.He says that he was drawn to the Greeks "for their magnificent form, the symmetry." "That form has never left me; I suppose it just got burned in." However Arthur Miller argued that times have changed- "we no longer live in an era dominated by kings and queens- and so maybe our definition of tragedy should change, too." Changing ideas on the qualities of a "modern tragedy" means also changing the qualities of a "modern tragic hero".Biff is playing football like Willy wanted him too and Happy trying hard to acquire Willys attention at all costs.Willy tends to center himself on Biff and all the potential that he thinks he has.Willy cannot seem to turn his life into his dream and comes to terms in the end by taking his life. During the play Biff and Happy talk day after day about their American dream but never quite start the steps to achieve it. Biff tries to rebel against Willy in the beginning by failing math and moving out west. Happy, Biff and Willy all have the American Dream as their goal but suffer the torment of never accomplishing all that they have foreseen for the future. Happy, on the other hand tries so very hard to gain the attention of his father for example, by exclaiming, Im losing weight, you notice, Pop? Later on in the play as it shifts back into the present, Biff and Happy start to understand that having all they want in life doesnt just take dreaming. They all transform from beginning to end, by first daydreaming about what could be done and then understanding the truth that it will never be. They realize this by observing their father, Willy with all of his hardships and downfalls. In the conclusion after Willy has committed suicide, Biff says at Willys grave, He had the wrong dreams. Biff and Happy now know that for once in their lives they have to make their fathers dream of being the, number-one man happen (2004). Miller replied to these critics with an essay titled "Tragedy and the Common Man." He said that Death of a Salesman does have a shattering emotional impact on the audience that corresponds to that of a Greek tragedy.It also shows the inevitable movement toward death of the protagonist with growing self-awareness, the single story without subplots and a clear beginning, middle and end, and the unity of time, as Death of a Salesman takes place within the course of about twenty-four hours.


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