Tracing the Agonies of Life: Death of a Salesman as a Modern Tragedy
Aristotle explains his views on tragedy in his famous work ‘Poetics’. The term tragedy cannot be reduced into a formula. An American critic has admirably summed up tragedy in a few words: “courage and inevitable defeat”. Though we can never think of a tragedy without an unhappy ending, the Greeks did; Philoctetes by Sophocles, for example has no unhappy ending. There is a similarity between the ancient Greek tragedy and the modern tragedy where the hero and certain other characters are caught in a difficult situation. In some of the Shakespearian tragedies despite the importance of character the motivation of action comes from the supernatural forces of even external circumstances. In modern tragedies the hero is often the victim of social forces. This paper is an analysis of Arthur Millers’s Death of a Salesman as a modern tragedy.
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