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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