How did Troy die in Fences?

Quick answer:

In Fences by August Wilson, Troy Maxson is swinging his baseball back in the yard when he drops over and dies of a heart attack.

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In August Wilson's play Fences, Troy Maxson dies of a heart attack. The audience does not see this happen: it occurs between the fourth and fifth scenes of act 2, and Rose tells Cory about it. Troy was swinging his baseball bat in the backyard, and he just dropped over. He was probably dead before he even got to the hospital, Rose thinks.

Troy's cause of death is both fitting and ironic. It is fitting because he dies doing one of the things he loves most in the world: swinging his baseball bat. He is remembering the old days when he could knock the ball right out of the park. There is a sadness here, too, for those days are gone.

But Troy's death is also ironic. He has so often challenged "Death" throughout the play, saying that he's ready for it and that he won't go easily. But death catches him unaware, and he actually goes very easily. For all Troy's bluster, death surprises him in the end.

Troy's death gives his family a chance to gather and come to terms with Troy and his life and legacy. Seven years have passed. Cory is now a corporal in the Marines, and he is engaged to be married. He still carries a grudge against his father, and he does not want to attend to funeral. Rose explains a few things to him, and Cory begins to realize that his father really did love him.

Rose herself seems to have come to terms with her husband's combined infidelity and love. Lyons has been in prison, but he admits his wrongdoing and is still making music. Gabriel is still concerned with making sure Troy gets to Heaven, and at the end of the play, he is dancing and singing to open the gates of Heaven.

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