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In Arthur Millers 1949 essay Tragedy and the Common Man Miller began by saying In this age few tragedies are written This particular essay was published in the New York Times was also the preface that was prepared for Death of a Salesman in 1949 Before Millers Death of a Salesman there was only one type of tragedythat which fit Aristotles definition For Aristotle plays of tragedy had to revolve around kings gods or people of high class In these classic tragedies the diction must be elevated and fitting of the characters Arthur Miller challenged just about every belief and convention that had previously been accepted about tragic plays as in Shakespeares Hamletwhich could be considered the paragon of tragedies In claiming The tragic mode is archaic Miller explains that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were This very notion that regular people are just as fit to be main characters in a tragedy as royalty was also applied to the audiences understanding of a tragic play If the play was supposed to be about upper-class people and was spoken in a vernacular that was only known to the high-bred how were the common people who saw these plays supposed to comprehend their meaning The only way for this problem to be solved according to Miller was to present a character to whom the audience will readily relate Miller did this by presenting Willy Loman the main character of Death of a Salesman who was a common workingman with a wife and two kids The reason that there is such an absence of tragedies in this day and age is that the turn which modern literature has taken toward the purely psychiatric view of life or the purely sociological has been one that creates skepticism With so much thinking involved and analyzing no one can really enjoy a play for what it ispure entertainment By
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