In Death of A Salesman by Arthur Miller, the main character, Will Loman, could be considered a tragic hero. A tragedy must have conflict in it. Now only with people, but also in the mind of a character. In Death of a Salesman to A View from the Bridge, it said, “…not only conflict between people, but at the same time within the minds of the combatants.” From this, a tragedy must enlighten the reader, “…pertaining to the right way of living in the world.” In a tragedy, it gives the reader hope that man will overcome his weakness. “It is the glimpse of this brighter possibility that raises sadness.” Overall, a tragedy must ensue in a struggle that pins man against himself, with the possibility that everything will work out for the best. “…Most accurately balanced portrayal of the human being in his struggle for happiness.”
Tragedy must ensue in the common man. The average man will compromise his being, in order to secure his personal dignity. He is trying to establish himself in society, where he thinks he rightfully fits in. Willy Noman was the average middle class man, who felt as a salesman, he commanded respect among his family and peers. He compromised his family in order to create the “American Dream,” or perfect family.
The tragic hero must have a “tragic flaw.” This is a weakness in character. For Willy, it was his need to have material things, and have a perfect image. He had the “compulsion to evaluate himself justly.” Willy was so caught up in his image and how much money he had, he got lost in a sea of self-pity. He strived for the best with physical possessions, not a clear state of mind.
“…The tragedy of Willy Loman is that he gave his life, or sold it, in order to justify the waste of it.” What made Willy a tragic hero? In his mind, he didn’t meet society’s qualifications of a successful life. He strived all his life to set back in his older years, and contemplate on his happy life. Instead, he “stared into the mirror at a failure.” His children were not successful, Willy was not successful, and he had nothing to be happy about. A tragedy is about the “heart and spirit of the average man.” As Willy had shown, his own-doing beat down his “heart and spirit”. Therefore, the reader relates most with the tragic hero, because it is the best reflection of himself.