Death of a Salesman Questions and Answers
by Arthur Miller

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Is Death of a Salesman a tragedy?

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Death of a Salesman is generally considered a tragedy. Not only that, it's also considered a modern incarnation of the genre due to some key elements within the story which deviate from classic tragedy.

A tragedy is a play in which a character experiences a reversal of fortune for the worse. This character is usually a good person at heart, even if he or she is seriously flawed, so their fall is supposed to produce a cathartic release for the audience.

In Death of a Salesman , the main character Willy Loman is brought low by his own pride and self-delusion. He seeks to achieve the American Dream, but when measuring his life according to those standards, he falls short and feels like a failure because he is not rich or popular, which are the two standards of success in the United States. In trying to achieve this model of success, Willy instead alienates his family and is unable to enjoy his life for what it is. His reversal of fortunes is then more ironic: he was never on top to begin with,...

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user115570 | Student

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epollock | Student

Death of a Salesman is a classic American tragedy in every respect. Though the definition from Aristotle is a little antiquated, his tragic death had profound effects on the emotional feelings of everyone that watched the drama or reads it today.

innocentpigeon | Student

Miller was a unique dramatist, who transformed the modus operandi of tragedy with his artistic genius and realistic vision. He is the true representative of modern tragedy, where tradedy does not orginate from your status or achievements, but the way you counter the uncertainity and chaos in a harsh competative world.

He is a modern Shakespeare, whose concepts are universal and applicable. The protagonist Willy Loman is searching for an economic harbour despite being a dreamer. Loman presents the terrible plight of ordinary people in these tragic words, " A MAN IS NOT A PIECE OF FRUIT. YOU EAT THE ORANGE AND THROW AWAY THE PEEL." In fact Miller presents the story of everyman in a hostile industrial set up, where there is no place for sympathy and love for the weak and the depressed classes. Hail ARTHUR for your great tagic vision. May your soul rest in peace. 

shefadaar | Student

like ibsen, miller often explores the origin and consequences of shameful actions