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Word Count: 857
The definition of a tragic hero varies from person to person In the Elizabethan times people relied on the Aristotle definition of a tragic hero who must be from the nobility class Yet modern literature tend to shift away from that notion and according to Arthur Miller in Tragedy and the Common Man common man can be subject of tragedy as well as a nobleman In the same article Miller also sets other definitions in which he backs up the creation of his protagonist Willy Loman as a tragic hero in the play Death of a Salesman Willy Loman is a tragic hero in many ways according to Millers definition of the term One of the first adjustment Miller made to Aristotles definition is his neglect of social classes that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were Tragedy and the Common Man Loman is certainly a common man a man from middle class America who constantly makes economic welfare an issue for his family because he wants the best and nothing but success for his family yet he is unable to achieve this because of his dignity which he maintains throughout the play by refusal of jobs fellow friend offered to him and also his disillusion between reality and fantasy Dignity and its effects are also discussed in Millers article He defines a tragic hero as someone who is ready to lay down his life if need be to secure one thing - his sense of personal dignity also someone who tries to gain his rightful position in his society Tragedy and the Common Man Loman is certainly willing to lay down his life to maintain his dignity Although in destitute economic situations Willy rejected a job that has nothing to do with sales offered by Charley because if he accepted the job it would annul everything he believes and have believed in This would
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