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Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman as Classic Greek Tragedy

Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman as Classic Greek Tragedy

Miller’s Death of a Salesman is an interesting and complex play set at a time of great change in America. Some people believe that it is one of a few classic tragedies written in modern time. While on the surface this play and characters don’t appear to hold the definition of tragedy that Aristotle described. In a modern context I believe it may be very close to fitting that mold.

Willy is a person that has always been a dreamer. Willy is very proud and self reliant in his approach to life. So much so, that his attitude contributes to his overall downfall. Willy’s character lives during a time of great change in America. Willy’s job along with the American way of life he loved and felt secure with has outgrown him. As his life and job slip away from him, Willy’s attempts to hold his dreams and family together continue to deteriorate to a point that all he has left are his memories.

The main character Willy Loman has a certain rough appeal. He is married and a father, and supports his family both financially and emotionally. Willy shows encouragement to his children when they are younger. Willy certainly shows the ability to be great, at least in the eyes of his family and children and that seems important to him.

Willy’s children and wife see him as a great man and father, as all small children and loving wives do. The children, especially Biff, idolized him as a person in their youth. This is characterized in the way Biff “simonizes” the car as a child. Biff hangs on every word from his father; wanting to know where he’s been on his trips and if he can come along and carry his valises. When Biff discovered he’d failed math, surely his greatest time of…

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…te for Willy to be in, it certainly is not necessary. His house is almost paid off, his other bills are also almost cleared. He has been given a job offer numerous times by Charley. Willy he can’t have someone else give him the answer or fix things for him or give him a job like Charley or Ben offered a number of times. Willy has to do it himself, he has to accomplish the task because he’s Willy Loman. This is certainly the case when he decides to end his life and he is not sad about doing this. Willy is actually excited and enthusiastic. He’s figured out a way to give Biff a chance to make something of himself with the life insurance money, and he gets himself out of having to admit he’s not the man he’s portrayed himself to be. Willy isn’t doing this for profit or to hurt anyone, it’s a solution to a problem that Willy can provide. The ultimate sale so to speak.

Essay on Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery – Blind Obedience Exposed

Blind Obedience Exposed in The Lottery

The annual ritualistic stoning of a villager in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” parallels tradition in American culture. This paper will inform the reader of the effect tradition has on characters in the short story “The Lottery” and how traditions still strongly influence people’s lives in america.

Christian weddings hold many traditions and superstitions that seemingly defy logic. Although most couples no longer have arranged marriages or dowries, fathers still give their daughters away during the services. The bride and groom do not see each other before the ceremony, fearing that bad luck might come their way. A friend scolded me because I had originally planned to marry at the top of the hour, and told me I should change it “just to be safe”. Society continues to hold these traditions and superstitions very dear because of cultural influences and the possibility of bad things happening. In Shirley Jackson’s short story “The Lottery”, the annual ritualistic stoning of a villager parallels the traditions inherent in American culture.

The black box is a source symbol of tradition for the townspeople. The original box wore out many years ago, and a new box was built from pieces of the old. This reflects customs in our own society. For exam…

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… time. It is possible that they were simply afraid of what would happen to them if they changed or stopped the lottery. Maybe they just went through the motions of the lottery without questioning why, or really giving it much thought. Whatever the real reason, the tradition of the lottery continued. I will also continue to uphold traditions at my wedding one-month from now when my father will give me away at half past the hour, and I will take great pains not to see my fiancé before.

Work Cited:

Jackson, Shirley. “The Lottery.” Literature Reading, Reacting, Writing. 4th Ed. Ed. Camille Adkins. Orlando: Harcourt College Publishers, 2001. 315-322

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