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Arthur Millers play Death of a Salesman presents a new take on the genre of tragedy Miller writes of a tragic hero much like each and every person an everyday man named Willy Loman Willy Lomans very name explains his social position that of a low man Arthur Miller felt that one of the key elements in the modern day tragedy was that the compulsion within the protagonist gives rise to his insistence upon securing his personal dignity Miller presents Willy Loman as a man who is obsessed with securing his personal dignity a trait that acts as Willys tragic flaw and also a key component of the play The extreme use of contradiction attributed to Willy Lomans character is a key way in which he attempts to preserve his dignity Willy seems trapped in his own world of lies and half-truths while never quite realizing that he is lying to others or to himself For instance Willy makes the statement Biff is a lazy bum followed a few seconds later by Theres one thing about Biff - Hes not lazy It is the mark of someone who is obsessed with dignity to never choose a firm course of reasoning nor to take a firm position on any issue Willy contradicts himself in order to have always have said the correct thing inadvertently this trait actually makes him seem more foolish then if he had said only the wrong thing The nature of contradicting oneself is that a person who does so can never actually be proved wrong and can always assert an intellectual high ground even when it is in no way warranted A key example of this occurs when Willy tells Biff that Gee is a boys word and later that night uses the word Gee himself Willy contradicts himself because of a need to be right or at least to be right so long as a person can determine the accuracy of
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