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Death of a Salesman tells the story of a man confronting failure in the success-driven society of America and shows the tragic trajectory which eventually leads to his suicide Willy Loman is a symbolic icon of the failing America he represents those that have striven for the success but in struggling to do so have instead achieved failure in its most bitter form Arthur Millers tragic drama is a probing portrait of the typical American psyche portraying an extreme craving for success and superior status in a world otherwise fruitless To some extent therefore Death of Salesman is concerned with the jagged edges of a shattered dream but on another more tragic and bitter level it also evokes the decline of a man into lunacy and the subsequent effect this has on those around him particularly his family Miller amalgamates the archetypal tragic hero with the mundane American citizen The result is the anti-hero Willy Loman He is a simple salesman who constantly aspires to become great Nevertheless Willy has a waning career as a salesman and is an aging man who considers himself to be a failure but is incapable of consciously admitting it As a result the drama of the play lies not so much in its events but in Willys deluded perception and recollection of them as the audience gradually witness the tragic demise of a helpless man In creating Willy Loman Miller presents the audience with a tragic figure of human proportions Miller characterises the ordinary man the low man Loman and ennobles his achievements Willys son Biff calls his father a prince evoking a possible comparison with Shakespeares Hamlet Prince of Denmark Thus the play appeals greatly to the audience because it elevates an ordinary American to heroic status Death of a Salesman seems to conform to the tragic tradition that there is an anti-hero whose state of mind causes him to suffer The audience is compelled to genuinely sympathise
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