Is Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman a tragedy in the Hegelian sense of the term?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If Hegel's dialectical path can be evident in Miller's work, it becomes evident that Willy  is a casualty of this progression.  Hegel's belief that history is the unfolding dynamic of the thesis and antithesis.  While these terms never exactly appear in his writing, Hegel's arguments rest upon the understanding of such ideas

Taking this idea, Willy's predicament is a result of this collision between thesis and its contradictory antithesis.  Willy represents the construct of reality that is opposite to the progressing dialectic of modernity.  The fact that Willy feels silenced and threatened by the modern setting reveals that he is a casualty of this dialectic, representing the obstacle to synthesis, or a new thesis emerging.  Willy's lack of embrace of how to function in the modern setting as well as his inability to make sense of his own place in the modern reality contributes to his state.  It is in this light that Willy's tragic condition can be seen as Hegelian

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Death of a Salesman

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