Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Pages: 2
Words: 551


Reading tragedies, people usually want to express their personal opinion about the essence of a tragic hero. It is possible to state several different definitions which are going to be correct about the main character in tragedies.

Most tragic heroes are the main characters of a play who want to achieve something, but they are unable to do it. The main character of the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is Willy Loman whose dreams have not come true, and this is considered to be the final of his life.

He is unable to fulfill himself as a personality as his sons have not achieved success in this life as salespeople, and this is the main reason to consider himself as a tragic hero of the play. Introduction

Tragic Hero is Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

There are a lot of different definitions used for identifying a tragic hero. Considering an essay written by Arthur Miller Tragedy and the Common Man, it should be mentioned that he defines a tragic hero as an “intent upon claiming his whole due as a personality, and if this struggle must be total and without reservation, then it automatically demonstrates the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity” (Miller ‘Tragedy’ 1464).

The main idea of this definition is that if a person fails to make his/her dream come true, he/she should be considered as a tragic hero as he/she has not become a personality, has not achieved humanity.

Dwelling upon the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and referencing the main character, Willy Loman, to the definition of a tragic hero, it should be concluded that he perfectly fits it.

Having a dream to help his children to become successful, Willy Loman does not pay attention to their desires and wants to reach his purpose, to make his sons wealthy salespeople. Children’s desires do not coincide with the father’s, and they fail to succeed. Father’s dreams are ruined.

The only way out he sees is death. Living in two worlds, unreal, which he has imagined and where everything is perfect and real, where his dreams are failed, a man makes a decision.

He decides to help his family to be happy and dies, wishing to leave his family with money received as insurance after his death (Miller ‘Death of a Salesman’ 73).

The tragedy of the hero is that he could not become a good father, thinking only about his benefit and desires. Moreover, according to Arthur Miller, a common man can be a tragic hero (Miller ‘Tragedy’ 1461), and Willy Loman perfectly fits this characteristic feature.


In conclusion, considering the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, it should be mentioned that Willy Loman is a tragic hero who fails to become a personality. Having a desire to make his children successful, he forgets about his main purpose, to be a good father.

This is the main failure which leads the character to death, as he does not see another way out.

Being subjected to money (the facility he has not to manage to achieve while his youth), he tries to implement this idea in his children. The understanding of failure leads him to the car where he wants to meet his last minutes.

Works Cited

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1994. Print.

Miller, Arthur. “Tragedy and the Common Man.” Discovering Literature. Eds. Hans P. Guth and Gabriele L. Rico. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993. 1461-1464. Print.