Tragic Hero

John Proctor – a Tragic Hero in The Crucible

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

John Proctor is a character in The Crucible who can be described as a tragic hero. Firstly, John Proctor’s tragic flaw was his great amount of pride, that slowly tied a series of unfortunate events, eventually making Proctor succumb to his death. However, Proctor does die for a crime he did not commit. Another important part of being a tragic hero is that the character has a complete reversal of fortune brought by their own flaw: Proctor’s life turned completely upside down when Abigail accuses Elizabeth, who then was sent to jail and this all started because John had committed adultery. At the end of every tragic play, the audience must feel pity for the deceased hero- also known as catharsis, which means cleansing of emotions.

This is also very clearly evident in the play right at the end when Proctor is hung and the audience is left in sorrow. John Proctor is a classic tragic hero because he contains most of the elements of a tragic hero such as hamartia, peripeteia, catharsis, and despite not being born into nobility, he possesses many noble characteristics. In The Crucible, John Proctor’s tragic flaw was his overwhelming hubristic character that made a pathway for his death. Pride plays an interesting role in the life of John Proctor in The Crucible. At the end of the play when Proctor is asked to sign the piece of paper with his name, confessing that he helped the devil, Proctor refused “Because it (was his) name!”. This short exclamative suggests to the reader just how much of value his name is to him. Proctor’s pride in himself causes him to think that he would rather die then confess and ruin his reputation. He wages an internal, war between his conscience and pride.

During the trials, Proctor refused to testify against Abigail in order to prevent his name from being blackened. He cares much for his name and in the society he lived in at the time he was highly respected and was looked up to by others in his town. He also confessed that he “cannot have another (name) In (his) life!”, as he is an adulterer and would lose his high status. Proctor lived in a Puritan society where lechery would have been unacceptable, however Proctor attempted very hard to maintain his good name and reputation by keeping it between himself and Abigail, as if this sin was revealed to the society Proctor would lose all his respect good name and reputation and would be punished severely, likely death.

Essay Score 13/20







Sentence Structure


Evidence and Details


More about grading

Read more

Triumph and Tragedy: the Exploration of a Tragic Hero and the Consequences of Others that Contribute to the Overall Tragic Vision of the Peace “Things Fall Apart”

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

From the very title of this historical fiction novel, Things Fall Apart, composed by Chinua Achebe, it foreshadows the tragedy which is triggered by the tragic hero. Defined by Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, a tragic hero is a character who is of noble stature and greatness who posses a hamartia, a tragic flaw that leads to the character’s downfall. Subsequently, the tragic hero undergoes peripeteia, the sudden reversal of fortune for this character which results in catastrophe. Ultimately the character acknowledges their situation, known as anagnorisis.

In Things Fall Apart, Okonkwo, the central character, is considered to be the tragic hero. He transitions from being an admired leader and strong warrior of the lower Nigerian tribe, Umuofia, to committing in an act based on his hamartia that influences catastrophe. Okonkwo’s actions resulted in others suffering including himself. The anguish others experienced because of Okonkwo’s indecent choices contributes to the universal view of Okonkwo’s journey as the tragic hero. The first requirement for a character to be considered a tragic hero would be that the character must be of high status. As stated by Achebe in the novel, “Okonkwo was well known throughout the nine villages and even beyond. His fame rested on solid personal achievements”(3).

Okonkwo started from scratch, with no inheritance from his father, Okonkwo managed to work strenuously to become a strong warrior and a wealthy, respected man. Okonkwo earned many titles though his labour and dedication to not become a failure that his father was, Unoka. Unoka had borrowed an immense amount of money from his neighbors to buy titles he desired. He was a man known to be in debt. Okonkwo’s fear that he would become as his father did, he made the decision to hate everything his father ever loved. Okonkwo’s toil resulted in him having a large compound with a hut for each of his 3 wives with and many children. Okonkwo also possessing a large stock of yams, earned a lot of the respect from others for yams are valued in the Ibo Beliefs. Okonkwo also earned respect for himself when he was 18, when he bought honor to his town by defeating Amalinze the Cat, a previously undefeated wrestler for 7 years.

Okonkwo is a respected judge in the community, for he is one of the nine Egwugwu. This means he is presumed to be a spirit of an ancestor. Additionally, he is also a representative of his village to talk with the Mbaino village about the killer of the girl of Umuofia. Distinctly, Okonkwo is of noble stature, despite of how he began. Alike other tragic heroes, Okonkwo owns a tragic flaw, his hamartia. For his father, a failure, Okonkwo possess the fear of weakness and failure. Although these aspects drove him to success, fame, and his achievements, it also results in him causing many conflicts. Since Okonkwo’s has a fear of failure and weakness, this leads him to behave impulsively and violently Swindle 3toward others. This even includes his family members in which he is always violent and harsh towards. This is for his purpose of not being seen as weak person. Okonkwo’s extreme attitude of using strength and violence to not be seen as weak, ultimately causing problems with his family which lead to his ultimate downfall. For instance, Okonkwo fractures a clan law and beats the youngest of his wives during the week of peace. Also at the same time he comes close to shooting his second wife. Okonkwo kills his son Nwoye’s close 15 year old friend who was given up to Umuofia as a sacrifice for killing one of the women in Umuofia.

Ikemefuna, his name was, who lived with Okonkwo’s family for three years before the elders ordered him to be killed. Okonkwo is told not to take part in Ikemefuna’s sacrifice because he is basically the man who raised him for three years and Ikemefuna calls Okonkwo “father.” Okonkwo’s fear of being seen as weak, makes him react violently and he Kills Ikemefuna despite the warning given to him. Ikemefuna asks for Okonkwo’s help because “He was afraid of being thought weak”(43). By trying to be a powerful person and deciding to kill Ikemefuna and beats his wives during the week of peace shows Okonkwo weakened his relationship with Nwoye and his wives. His violent and impulsive qualities also hurts himself mentally which lead him to kill a court messenger from the British during the clan meeting which soon after leads Okonkwo to the discovery of his own tragic fate. The last requirement for a character being a tragic hero requires that the character must recognize his own fate and situation, anagnorisis. Okonkwo experiences anagnorisis when he returns home to Umuofia after his seven years of exile with his great plan. Upon his arrival, Okonkwo realizes that a lot has changed in Umuofia and that now he is not looked upon as Swindle 4important or famous anymore as he used to be before his exile. When his arrival doesn’t attract as much attention as he hoped, he loses his place in the Egwugwu. He also discovers the white men have settled in the village, trying to get the Ibo people to convert to Christianity. He sees that in his view the Christians are attacking Igbo customs and faith. Okonkwo was unhappy with this and by his temper, he persuades his clan to use violence to drive the white men out of the village.

Conflicts between the Ibo and the Christians included the unmasking of Egwugwu, the burning of the church and the deceptive meeting held by the white men which results in the capture and humiliation of the five clan members, including Okonkwo. Okonkwo then kills one of the five British court members, which is then when he discovers his tragic fate. When Okonkwo beheads the messenger during the clan meeting and sees that none of his clan members go after the escaping white men, “He knew that Umuofia would not go to war” (144). He realizes that he will never be able get rid of the white men in Umuofia because his clan will not fight with him. He realizes that he is defeated and cannot save his village from the white men influences. Okonkwo decides to hang himself, which is contributes to the meaning of an abomination in Igbo culture. Okonkwo’s character fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. Okonkwo rises to be the honorable and successful leader of Umuofia. He also has a tragic flaw of a fear of weakness and failure that leads to his downfall ultimately. Finally, he discovers his own tragic fate and situation of his harsh temper by of killing the court British messenger. If it weren’t for the suffering of others in the novel caused by Okonkwo, a tragic hero, then the tragic hero vision of Okonkwo would not be whole.

Read more

Tragic Flaw in Shakespeare’s Hamlet

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

What is Hamlet’s tragic flaw? Hamlet’s tragic flaw is his inability to avenge his father’s death because he hasn’t been able to conquer himself in his internal conflict. This recalls the cliche- “One’s greatest enemy is no other than oneself”. I think procrastination is the inaction that leads to Hamlet’s downfall and behind the inaction, there were three main flaws: being idealistic, fatalistic and over analytical. Idealism stops Hamlet from avenging the murder of his father, when he has the opportunity to kill Claudius (his uncle, the murderer of his father ) when he is praying. It is in 3.3.89-91: “Am I then……horrid hent”. Here, Hamlet wants an ideal revenge, that his opponent will suffer damnation in hell.

Since Claudius is praying, Hamlet can’t bear to kill him because of his belief that Claudius’s soul will be purified and sent to heaven, hence he decides to kill Claudius at a more appropriate moment, like his father (King Hamlet ) was killed. The time Claudius was praying was the only time in the whole play, where he is left unguarded, which means Hamlet has let go of the best chance to kill Claudius just for the sake of waiting for the perfect moment. Therefore, Hamlet’s idealism causes him to procrastinate.

Besides from his idealism, Hamlet’s fatalism also leads him to his tragic flaw. Hamlet shows signs of being fatalistic by making the claim in 1.4.29: “cannot choose his own origin”. According to Hamlet, a person is not to be stated guilty of having a vicious nature or a natural flaw that he is born with, because it isn’t in the hands of the person to choose where he came from (1.4.27-28). Furthermore, Hamlet comments that most people would rather bear those ills we have rather than fly to others that we not know of: 3.1.89-90. Since he would rather choose to suffer from the torment of fate that he believes in, he cares not to change. As a result, he commits nothing.

Moreover, before his duel with Laertes, Horatio asked Hamlet if he wanted to stop the duel, making him aware that the King might have set up a scheme for him. Nevertheless, Hamlet replies: 5.2.210-11: “There’s a special providence in the fall of sparrow”. Since Hamlet believes in predestination, he walks into Claudius’s trap even if he knows it, because he believes that if he is destined to die then he will die, and there is no way he can figure a way out of it. This is how fatalism becomes deadly for Hamlet.

Above all the reasons, the most important tragic flaw Hamlet possesses is being over analytical. He refers to it as: “craven scruple Of thinking too precisely” in 4.4.42-43. Further in the same speech in 4.4.44-46, he says “which quartered has but one part wisdom and three parts coward”. In this, he is simply criticising his own hesitation. It is intelligent to analyse the situation and be cautious, however too much of it makes him see of himself as a coward. Due to this tragic flaw, Hamlet has been unable to make important decisions. By considering so many different alternatives and point of views, Hamlet is always kind of finding himself an excuse to procrastinate. None other than dissatisfaction over took him. As a result, he is passively taken up in the sequence of events as the play unfolds, which lead him to death. In conclusion, as heroic and refined as Hamlet is, he still suffers a downfall which leads to the tragic flaw. By the end, when he finally decides to take action, its too late. In short, Hamlet’s flaws illustrate the vulnerability of mankind especially those men with a romantic or philosophical bent, as he himself was.

Read more

An Analysis of a Tragic Hero in Othello and Macbeth

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Question 1

There are several ways to define a tragic hero. Aristotle breached upon several of these characteristics during his philosophical years. Several definitions were provided at the top of this question, many of which can be attributed to both Othello and Macbeth : Shakespearean plays. These characters were both prime examples of tragic heroes, which differs significantly from regular everyday heroes. The distinct main difference between the two is that tragic characters have some sort of supernatural fate causing destruction. Sometimes in the form of their own personal default.

Macbeth is very relatable to these ideas. In the criterion, Aristotle claimed: “Tragic doom is both public (the State) and private (a family tragedy as well) and usually sexual transgressions are involved in some way. “Personally, I feel this is most relatable to Macbeth. In this play, Macbeth killed Duncan in the very beginning. It was a loss both to the state and family because the citizens lost their King. However, it was also a loss to the family because they lost Duncan. Shakespeare was very consistent with these characteristics employing Aristotle’s ideas.

Aristotle also claimed that: “But the hero struggles mightily against this fate and this cosmic conflict wins our admiration”. Othello had not only one flaw, but several. One being that he was too trusting of Iago. The other being his love Desdemona way too much. He allows this love to consume him and change who he is. He became very jealous and Iago is the fault of this. He sees this deep love and tries to tell Othello that she is cheating on him. Which is what caused him to become so jealous and turn into a unfair leader. These faults caused the destruction of Othello and his reign alike. Aristotle’s criteria fit very well into both Shakespearean works.

Several prejudice concepts are woven into Othello. Amongst these, a reoccurring these would certainly be racism. As we all know, the main character Othello is black and living in a very racist period in history. There are several times when his race determined his fate and how others viewed him as well. Although he was considered a tragic hero, Othello did not obtain the high social recognition as Aristotle claimed was known to tragic heroes.

Othello also married Desdemona, a white woman. This caused many problems in his community and with Iago as well. He became very jealous and became the antagonist in this play, causing Othello many problems. One of the obvious displays of racism in this play would be when Brabantio confronts Othello about the marriage. He came to Othello claiming that Desdemona was forced against her will to marry him. Although it isn’t outright said, we can understand that this is due to his race. But later on, in the discussion he claimed that Othello had nothing to offer a white woman and he’d rather see her unmarried than with him.

In my opinion these ideas are central to the theme of the play. Without these racist conflicts, Othello’s story would be completely different. The hero had to be of color to fully explain the complexities of his life and his struggles. It also shows the intensity of the good nature and morality of the hero Othello. Although these racist implications would have occurred with or without Othello being black, Shakespeare uses this to explain that outside looks have nothing to do with the person inside. Othello was driven to do extremely bad things because of white person’s influence.

Read more

Willy Loman – A Tragic Hero In The Death Of A Salesman By Arthur Miller

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Many stories have a hero that is fortunate to overcome their problems, although some have flaws and meet tragic ends. In the Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, Willy Loman is conveyed as a tragic hero as he loses his battle against mental stability and family conflicts. Willy doesn’t admit that he’s old to work, which leads to him traveling to far places to sell products which his body is not capable. Willy is a tragic hero rather than mentally ill, because he is struggling to hold morality that has left in society which does not values the standards he grew up accepting.

Willy’s relationship with Linda is a very complex relationship, she enables and supports Willy’s fantasies and dreams. Plus she defends him against the criticism that others makes about Willy. In Act I, Willy is worried about traveling far places to sell products. After Linda finds out about his problems, she quotes, “Willy, dear. Talk to them again. There’s no reason why you can’t work in New York…..why don’t you go down to the place tomorrow and tell Howard…’re too accommodating dear.”After a long conversation with Linda, Willy decides to finally confront Howard, his boss in New York. Once he arrives at his office, Howards asks Willy if he is supposed to be on a sales job in Boston, and then pursued to ask, “’You didn’t crack up again, did you?”. Willy then explains to Howard that he’s been working for his family for thirty-four years, and confronts him for the request of transferring to a local office. But in return Howard comes clean with Willy and tells him that he doesn’t want him to represent the company, because he’s slower than other young salesman to sell products. Once, Howard denies his request, Willy goes on a rampage and starts yelling. Which follows Howard firing Willy, and stating, “This is no time for false pride, Willy. You go to your sons and tell them that you’re tired. You’ve got two great boys, haven’t you.” Once Willy comes home, he had a daydream or a flashback to several years ago when Ben came from an Alaska trip to visit Willy.

The dream shows a cheerful moment in Willy’s life, a moment which shows faith in his prime sales career, plus the future success of Biff. Subsequent to being let go, however, Willy memory can’t bring him much happiness. Because it helps him remind of the time when he denied the conceivable cash of Alaska. For half of his life, he kept on accepting aimlessly that he and Biff would end up happy based on being liked. Willy is trying to escape reality through his dreams of imaginary talks with Ben. The relationship of Willy and his son is remarkable and most important in the novel. He has two sons, Harrold “Happy” and Biff Loman, both brothers connects with each other through emotionally or physically. In their young age, both Happy and Biff admires their fathers work, believes in his morals, and tries to go on the same path as him. But as the story continues, they slowly start to realize that Willy has nothing but fake, that he has failed to prepare his sons for the real society. After Willy gets fired from his job, he quotes, “I’ve got to get some seeds. I’ve got to get some seeds right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground.” The seeds represent the future of both Biff and Happy, as a father, he wants to leave something behind for his family to live for. As Biff starts to fail in life, he blames Willy for making false promises, and flunking him out of math. Biff decides to split up with his family, he quotes, “I realized what a ridiculous lie my whole life has been.” But Willy believes that biff hates and mocks him only because he’s not successful, which leads him to think that his sons doesn’t like him. There are many unique items that symbolize something big in the novel, but the biggest one is the rubber hose. The rubber house symbolizes that Willy wants to commit suicide. Linda finds it first in the fuse box in the cellar, and finds some part of it on the gas pipe in the kitchen which leads her to believe that Willy wants to inhale the gas. Biff confront Willy about the rubber hose, which Willy continues to deny and goes on to say that he doesn’t know how it got inside the house. Biff doesn’t believe a single word that his father says, plus tells him that he wants to leave the house right away and never come back again.

Willy gets angry, curses him and says that Biff is wasting his life away and he will not be successful. Biff admits that he was arrested due to stealing a suit, which led him to serve time in prison for three months, also comes clean about stealing items many times from others. He also realizes how many great job offers he declined since high school. Biff alleges his family of lying and never saying the truth “for ten minutes in this house.” Willy and Biff are not the only ones lying, Happy has also lied about his job. Biff exposes him in front of Linda and Willy, he says that Happy has never been the assistant buyer, the truth is that he’s been one of two assistants to the assistant buyer. He also says that Happy wants to work in the open environment. He wants his father to realize what their sons what to do in life, not what he wants them to do. In conclusion, Biff and Happy wants Willy to accept the reality. Willy Loman, a man wanting to achieve his American dream loses the battle against life and his family. Willy was a great salesman in his young days, but as he gets older, his body gives up and he starts having daydreams or flashbacks. He starts talking imaginary people, such as Ben. Ben died years ago and he was the best Salesman in the company. A great amount of people and his family showed up to give their final regards. That tells the reader that he was loved by everyone plus he lived his best life. Willy wants people to show up to his funeral, he doesn’t want his funeral to be gloomy or sad. Willy and his family need money, he wants to leave something behind for his family. He saw a big beauty between his once dream-drive away life plus his present circumstances. He wanted to redeem himself from the real world respecting the desolation and emptiness of life. He gets the idea to commit suicide, so his family can receive a small fortune of twenty-thousand dollars of his insurance policy. Which will advance their living standards, plus acquire BIff’s love. If he dies intentionally, his family won’t gain the money. It has to be an accidental death. Also, his loved ones don’t know about his ideas or the insurance deal. At the end of the play, after talking with his deceased brother, Willy deliberately crashes his car, which leads to his death. For Willy, suicide was a victory, his gratefulness to his sons. Weeks prior to Willy’s death, Biff and Happy held their father’s funeral. No one except his family shows up to the ceremony. In one scene, Linda is confused about her husband’s death. She quote, “I can’t understand it.

At this time especially First time in thirty five years we were just about free and clear. He only needed a little salary.” Linda refers to her house to how it was mortgage free. Willy Loman had every characteristic that a tragic hero needs to have. He showed sadness and emotions such as pity and fear. His American dream was to be the greatest salesman and to provide a better future plus money for his wife and two grown sons. He couldn’t achieve his American Dream, because of his tragic downfall, he thought he can travel to far places to sell products door to door with no problems. But in reality his body was giving up, and his mind was in an imaginary place. He started talking to Ben, his older brother who expired years ago, asking for his advices and started following his directions. After Howard broke the news to Willy that he doesn’t want Willy to represent the company, Willy decided to give up his life for his family’s bright and upcoming future.

Read more

A Tragic Hero: John Proctor 

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

The renowned philosopher Aristotle formally outlined the parameters of the tragic hero in his work “On Poetics”. Aristotle primarily based his tragic hero model on Oedipus, a king from Greek mythology. He outlined the tragic hero as a person of noble birth who encompasses a fatal flaw, or hamartia, that results in his downfall and describes his tragic nature. The character is taken into account a hero once they rise from their fall and experience an enlightenment and redemption referred to as an anagnorisis. In the Crucible, the protagonist, John Proctor, is considered a tragic hero. Proctor is a very secular man in Puritan Salem, yet is still highly respected among the people. His obsession with maintaining his reputable name is one of the manifestations of his fatal flaw, his hubris. John Proctor’s hubris is responsible for both his tragic downfall and his redemption. That detracts from Miller’s characterization of him as the tragic hero because he fails to experience an anagnorisis. Arthur Miller’s renowned play The Crucible, that takes place throughout the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, is arguably the most forceful allegory of senator Joseph McCarthy’s red scare within the Fifties. The story begins with a group of young girls as they escape to the woods to perform a pagan ritual illicit by their strict, Puritanical, and non-secular society. To avoid blame, they claimed to have seen the Devil, and that other members of society serve Him by active witchcraft. The town is frightened of their claims and not until several defendant witches selected to hang instead of confess did the hysteria end. Although John’s fate was rather unjust and unfortunate to envision, he still made the right decision to sacrifice himself. Firstly, this ensured a positive future with no lack of goodness for his children, family, and descendants. Secondly, in continuation to the first reason, if John had falsely confessed, the future of himself and his family would have drastically changed negatively. Finally, one should travel to several lengths and measures to defend their pride and honor as John did.

Proctor was a man who had devoted himself to God, however had the priorities of his family’s wellbeing set on top of being a devout church member. Several had questioned him for this and his absence to church over and over, and believed he failed to care for God as powerfully as he portrayed himself to. However, this wasn’t the case. John Proctor knew there had been tasks to be completed to keep his family alive and well, and knew he may pray to God and show his love for God while not sacrificing that wellbeing. A part of his reasoning to not attend church was because he believed Parris wished nothing but a pretty church and did not speak of God as a sermoniser should. By the end Proctor can be seen as a respectable man or a hero. He has confessed to sexual activity, knowing he’ll head to jail for this. “I have confessed myself! … God sees my name, God knows my how black my sins are” (Act 4), he has confessed to his unholy sin. John Proctor admitted to the one thing several different Puritans wouldn’t. He does it so as to avoid wasting the lives of those accused but specifically his wife. He placed his name and life on the line to save Elizabeth and also the others. Additionally, John Proctor felt determined to save his wife as he tells of the time Abigail confessed to him it had nothing to do with witchcraft. Showing to the reverend that there have been liars amongst him. Proctor risks it all and tells of his sin, adultery, within the end making him the hero. He put his life on the line to prove that the accused and his wife were innocent and good people. He did everything he could to save those people. By the end Proctor’s truth had caused tension and doubt to the little town of Salem.

Proctor’s affair exemplifies his egotistical tendency to put himself above the rules he expects others to follow, which prompts him to make decisions that lead to his fall. The catalyst of his downfall, Proctor claims to be remorseful about his affair with his former house servant Abigail Williams. However, his attitude still indicates that he feels superior to the law. Once Elizabeth queries John regarding talking to Abigail in a very room alone, John says, “I should have roared you down when you first told me your suspicion. But I wilted, and, like a Christian, I confessed. Confessed!”. To Proctor, confession may be a sign of weakness and inferiority, which is one reason for his refusal to conform to the faith, in addition as to the rituals of consensus later within the play. he’s unable to confess and settle for the consequences of his affair. He sees himself as on top of the vows of a marriage; even when the affair happens, he thinks it’s okay to talk privately with Abigail once he is aware of how it strains the already broken trust between him and his spouse. He holds Elizabeth accountable for fidelity that he himself cannot deliver, which is confirmed once he forgets adultery in the Ten Commandments and tells Hale, “Between the two of us we do know them all”. Proctor’s crisis is exacerbated once Elizabeth is targeted by Abigail in court. Proctor is aware of based on his private conversation with Abigail that the witchery accusations are fraud, and that testifying against her might save his spouse and other townsfolk from public hangings. However, he additionally knows that this may involve public confession of the affair, which might deeply tarnish his name. He thinks himself on top of the law once he refuses to inform the court what he is aware of, and thinks that his name is superior to the lives that are lost day after day on the gibbet. Only when individuals highly regarded within the town like Rebecca Nurse are implicated, does Proctor speak up, because Proctor considers them adequate to himself. However, once Elizabeth is called in to confirm that she fired Abigail for her affair with John, Elizabeth, a faultlessly honest character, lies because she is aware of how much Proctor values his reputable name in Salem. John thinks he’s superior, and therefore is able to confess whenever it’s convenient for him and reap the advantages. However at this point in the tyranny of consensus, it’s too late for him to turn it around by his testimony. He’s thrown into the Salem jail to confess or hang in time. This signifies the start of his downfall. Proctor’s choices are driven by his insincere and superior attitude, that leads him to the self-seeking choices that catalyze his fall.

Although one might disagree that Proctor’s decision is a wrong one, it is not entirely wrong and rather understandable. Proctor might not be a true hero in Miller’s play as a result of never recognizing his egotistical issues and self-superiority as fatal flaws that result in his fate within the Witch Trials. Proctor is doomed by the same means he’s ransomed. His superiority may be a product of his hubris, that causes him to have his affair with Abigail. At the start he refuses to testify, and then tears up his confession after signing it. He is therefore rooted in the preservation of his name in Salem that after his downfall, he cannot experience true anagnorisis, however deceives himself by disguising his self-serving resistance as a shift in awareness and morality. whereas no character will comply perfectly to philosophical parameters, the anagnorisis is simply too vital for the tragic hero to stand without it. It’s the distinction between a character who is heroic, and a character who is just erroneous and meets a tough end. Society likes to examine a tragic hero, because though the trajectory by which the tragic hero will fall scares us, there’s encouragement to be drawn once a character so deeply imperfect is in a position to find redemption. Even today, the American individuals look to tragic hero figures within the media, because by experiencing somebody else’s hamartia and subsequent downfall, we don’t become doomed within the same manner.

At the end of the play during Act 4, John does decide to falsely confess to the actions he was accused of to avoid being hanged. However, his remaining shreds of integrity refused to permit him to continue with the confession by signing his name on a paper that would primarily set his confession in stone. He chose to have an end to his life and to stay faithful himself and wife over a continued lifetime of a lie, as he couldn’t feel as if he was a righteous man. He had hoped that God would judge him accordingly, and decided that was of highest importance. The matter of good or bad is highly supported on opinion, and Proctor fell victim to the circumstances of the bulk of opinions in his village being against his favor. They chose to not see the good in his decision to work for his family, and instead see the bad in his absence at church. The village failed to see the good intentions in his efforts to shed light on the fact of witchcraft in court, however, chose to believe he had a compact with the Devil. This doesn’t make John Proctor a foul man, nor a person of the Devil. It makes him a man who had been unfortunate enough to have more individuals believe he was, than those that believed he wasn’t.

Read more

Analysis Of Whether Willy Loman Is A Tragic Hero In Arthur Miller’s Death Of A Salesman

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Throughout history, literature and the way people interpret literature has changed dramatically. Different genres of plays including romance, action, and even heartbreaking tragedies that touch the reader’s heart have been shared for thousands of years. One of the most popular genres would be tragedies. A tragedy, as described by Aristotle, is a story that follows a protagonist who, over time, causes his own downfall because of his tragic flaws. However, times have changed and the way that critics interpret tragic pieces may differ than the way we used to back in the day. One of the most debated literary pieces is the play Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller. There is a constant debate regarding the main character, Willy Loman, and whether or not he should or shouldn’t be considered a tragic figure.

Willy Loman shouldn’t be considered a tragic figure because he does not have the characteristics and the right qualifications. Tragedies have been shared and told for thousands of years. They would always start off with the main character who is doomed from the beginning. Fate and their own free will lead that protagonist to his/her own destruction. However, throughout the story, the character would learn a valuable lesson about themselves by learning from their mistakes and their tragic flaws. Unlike many popular tragedies such as Hamlet and Oedipus Rex, it is argued that the main character in Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, is a tragic figure. However, Willy shouldn’t be considered a tragic figure because he wasn’t born with doom riding on his shoulders. His fate wasn’t written in stone. Willy’s actions and his tragic flaws are the reasons as to why he died. Willy chose to ignore the people that wanted to help him and he chose to be stubborn and act “childish and stupid”. Throughout the play, Willy’s only friend and neighbor Charley reaches out to him and offers him a job. The job is closer to home and easier for him to do because of Willy’s old age. However, Willy’s ego was soaring high and he replied with “What the hell you offering me a job for?… Quit insulting me”. If Willy accepted the job he wouldn’t have to lie about the money and it would have resulted in him and Linda living an easier life. If he was to be a tragic figure, fate would have caused his misfortune not his idiotic actions. The first characteristic of being a Aristotelian tragic hero is to be of noble birth. Willy is not born as a noble and is just a common man. However, he aspires to be noble and rich just like his brother Ben. It could be said that Willy Loman is a tragic figure, arguing that times have changed and that in order for the reader to connect to the character, he must be a common man.

The reason as to why Willy must be a common man is because the readers won’t be able to connect to a rich man unless them, themselves are rich. Arthur Miller, the author of Death of a Salesman, wrote himself that “that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were.” He wrote this to show that back in the day being noble and seeing kings was a common occurrence. However, now that times have changed there aren’t as many kings and nobles as there used to be. So as a result, in order for the readers to connect to the play, Willy should be a common man. However, just because times have changed doesn’t mean that a definition of a word should change as well. Tragedies have been around for centuries, and the definition of the word shouldn’t change because than it wouldn’t be a unique for of literary genre anymore. It would just be a constantly changing word. For example, if people were to change to meaning or name of a word or object because it is used in a new way, languages would constantly be changing. The word ‘horse’ for example, the words has stayed the same for generations but the usage of the animal has changed in more ways than one. So just because times have changed the meaning of a word shouldn’t either. And that goes back to the fact that wanting to be noble and being noble is two different things. Just because Willy thrives to follow the American Dream and become successful like his brother, it doesn’t change the fact that he wasn’t born as a noble.

In every tragedy, there is a major flaw that the main character possesses. It can range from greed, to being lustful, and selfishness. In Death of a Salesman, Willy’s hamartia is his inability to be satisfied with what he already has and chases his unrealistic fantasy. He believes that he doesn’t have to work hard for the American Dream in order for it to happen, he believes that he is entitled to it just because he lives in the United States. Although Willy does have a tragic flaw that helps lead him into his own destruction, Willy doesn’t learn a valuable lesson from it. In tragedies, both the protagonist and the readers must learn a valuable message that they can incorporate into their own lives. However, in Death of a Salesman the readers are stuck to really think about the message. And even if they learn something from Willy’s mistake, Willy didn’t learn anything himself. Willy literally dies as a selfish man. He thought that he was sacrificing himself to get insurance money, however at the same time he mostly wanted to show off to Biff that people will show up to his funeral. He wanted to show his son that he is admired by others and that his life wasn’t a complete lie. This shows that he wasn’t taught anything and his suffering only brought more suffering to others. In conclusion, Willy Loman from Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman is not a tragic figure. This is because he was not born of noble status and doesn’t even act like it. He is unrealistic and selfish. He is filled with tragic flaws that help drive him into destruction, however Willy was taught nothing throughout the entire play. Willy died as a liar and a selfish man who only cared about the thoughts of others instead of what actually mattered.

Read more

Willy Loman and Shelley Levene as the Examples of a Tragic Hero

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” and David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” are two American dramas that have sparked fierce debates among analysts, writers, literary critics, scholars, and even readers when it comes to tragic heroes. The major characters and central focus of the two dramas, are Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” and Shelley Levene in “Glengarry Glen Ross.” In watching these characters, one can perceive the disparities between a modernist tragic hero and a postmodernist tragic hero. Willy and Loman were tragic heroes in their individual capacities because they made decisions and erroneous judgements that ultimately led to their own destruction and according to Aristotle, “A tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgment error that inevitably leads to his/her own destruction.” One can bet that the arguments that ensue among critics regarding this topic in relation to Willy Loman and Shelley Levene, is because the term hero, standing alone is a positive thing. Hence the prefix ‘tragic’ which differentiates tragic heroes from classical heroes as these two characters were anything but positive. Willy Loman was a 63-year-old fictional character in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman.”

According to Aristotle, “he represents the normal man with whom the audience can identify, as all tragic heroes are expected to be”. He was an aging salesman who had worked for the same company for 34 years and had had to endure so many negative turns in events, including but not limited to a pay cut and getting fired. He was undeniably hardworking made but made multiple suicide attempts because he kept losing the battle to stay relevant and whatever foothold he held in the American middle class world. He was an intelligent salesman no doubt, with sound business knowledge but time does affect how much value you can add to an organization, as well as the strength you need to add said value. Loman was in the business of marketing products, a traveling salesman, and the forces he was combating, led him to become delusional and want to end his life as he no longer found the joy of living in such misery. It also did not help that he was surrounded by people who fueled his delusions. Loman’s idealism and his overreliance on the fruition of his American Dream should have been substantially fruitful but it ended up being detrimental to his success, hence this can be referred to as a tragic flaw, making him a tragic hero.

According to Aristotle, the error of judgment is a common trait among tragic heroes, and as we see in the case of Loman, his inability to accept his past failures and move on was the root cause of his ultimate downfall. Loman was a modernist in the sense that he was anything but realistic in his thoughts and expectations. Loman assumed he was loved by the world, such as when he said to his sons, ‘And they know me boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ’cause one thing boys: I have friends’. He hallucinated a lot and spent more almost half the play living in his hallucinations, had tons of flashbacks, lived and thrived on daydreams, which are elements of modernists characters, whereby they relive past glories and refuse to come to terms with the present and current happenings. Shelley Levene is a major character in David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glenn Ross.” Like Loman, he is equally an insecure, desperate and struggling salesman, a low down dirty one at that, who would do anything to strike a deal with a client, including barge into a client’s house on a rainy day. In a bid to succeed at work, win a Cadillac, and avoid being fired, he caved into the pressures that welled up around him and opted to play dirty. Levene was in the business of selling real estate and was very dishonest at it and so had become a failure so to speak. Levene was once a powerful and successful salesman but time had caught up with him, hence he was now on a downward spiral plus he had a chronically ill daughter with an unknown medical condition in the hospital. He attempted to charm, coerce, threaten and even bribe the office manager, John Williamson into giving him leads because he was scared to lose his job for lack of sales generation.

Levene was a tragic hero because he made several bad decisions that marred his career, such as when he sold the leads, as this cost him his job. His decision to admit to Williamson that he robbed the office and sold some leads illegally, when he said “I sold them to Jerry Graff,” was an error of judgement that came back to haunt him later on when Williamson was ready to dish out his revenge. Also in response to Williamson’s killing of Roma’s deal, he welcomed the eye-for-eye concept by incriminating Williamson, revealing that he could not watch as realism reigned. He shared similar traits with Loman, that exposed his tragic flaw, one of such being his decision to attain success through unorthodox ways. These major errors, made by the Loman and Levene led to a very significant turn of events and misfortunes, in their respective lives, which according to Aristotle, is another fundamental commonality among tragedies. Loman’s adamancy and inflexibility rendered him poor and unable to sustain his family. He was caught up in his anticipation of the American Dream, to which he refused to put in the work to achieve. Harder work, less talk, and less expectations could have yielded better results but instead he did nothing towards the realization of the goals. He got overly dependent on his obsolete ideology of how things should be done and went on to place more importance on irrelevant things. One of such being his years of loyalty to his company, while also prioritizing his reputation over gaining current knowledge and keeping up with the fast paced world and ever changing ways of doing things. A world where information and technological know-how is increasingly dominating every field, especially business related industries such as the one Loman was in. Knowledge, which Loman seemingly despised, is the backbone of efficiency. Another error of judgement he made was to live in the past and turn himself against the world leading the world to in turn, turn itself against him. He himself acknowledged that there was nothing left for him in the world when he tried to take his life and said, “I am doomed in the modern world”. Another occurrence in the plays was what Aristotle referred to as tragic pride or “hubris” and this manifested itself in the two main characters. At different points in time, when the respective characters attained some level of achievement, they became arrogant and forgot their basic moral obligations hence given room for tragic flaws.

In the case of Loman, he failed to humble himself to his wife despite the love and care that she showers upon him. He treated her poorly severally, even to the extent of cheating on her with Miss Francis. In the case of Shelley, we see his pride, when he attained some fraudulent but substantial success in his salesmanship, he was quick to brag about it to Williamson who eventually shut him down by saying “those leads enjoy talking to salesmen”. The flaw there being that it was his breaking point and final straw. Just like all other tragic heroes, “their fate will eventually be as a result of their actions” (Aristotle). Both characters are real tragic heroes because they come face to face with several fates that overwhelm and shed even more light on their flaws. In the end, Loman gets a lot more than he deserves, though true that he failed to make the necessary adjustments to better his situation, under normal circumstances, the eventual fate that befell him may have been reversed or altogether different. He had a chance at a good life, even though part of what pushed him was the jealousy he felt towards his brother Ben, who was doing way better than him in the diamond mines. His son Happy, perhaps not Biff who was estranged, could have come through for him as even Howard asked him to rely on his sons. His final resort to death was unnecessary, unwarranted, and undeserving. Every financial and emotional issues that his family faced were typical to any regular family; thus, committing suicide was not the best option. When it comes to Levene, even though death was not the final straw for him, he lost his job for sure after the stunt he pulled with the leads burglary, hence he is not at all innocent, his fate was not the most befitting, considering his situation and that of his counterparts. Miller explains in his critique of tragedies, that the hero must be a person that does not accept the realities presented by the status quo. As with Loman, he did not accept the realist world but instead relied on an idealist American Dream, like many other Americans in the real life world. Levene, too, was a go-getter who was willing to go extra miles to achieve his dreams.

Works Cited

  1. Aristotle. The Tragic Hero
  2. Delaney, Bill. Critical Evaluation: Glengarry Glen Ross. Masterplots, Fourth Edition; November 2010, p1-3
  3. Mamet, David. Glengarry Glen Ross: A Play. Grove Press, 1984. Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Miller, Arthur. “Tragedy and the Common Man.”
  4. Sickels, Amy. ‘Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman: History of Criticism.’
  5. Critical Insights: Death of a Salesman (2010): 76-91.
Read more

King Lear – An Aristotelian Tragic Hero

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Shakespeare masterfully develops Aristotelian tragic heroes. According to Aristotle, a tragedy depicts the downfall of a hero due to his tragic flaw (hamartia) and fate or the actions of the Gods. A tragic hero, typically an aristocrat or nobleman, ultimately recognizes his tragic flaw (agnorisis), but often only after it leads to his suffering and demise (peripeteia). In the end, the tragedy evokes a sense of pity or catharsis for the tragic hero. King Lear perfectly fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. As a result of his tragic flaw, King Lear’s life is transformed from a life of good fortune and privilege to a life of misfortune in which he suffers many losses including loss of authority, identity, and ultimately, sanity.

At the commencement of the play, it is evident that King Lear is given all the respect and honour of a nobleman. Kent articulates his nobility, “Royal Lear, Whom I have honored as my king, Loved as my father, as my master followed, As my great patron thought on in my prayers,” (Shakespeare 1.1. 141-144). As the King of Britain, he is the highest ranking member of British royalty and enjoys a lifestyle of happiness and great privilege. His social rank added to his pride as he referred to himself as “Apollo” and “Jupiter”.

As with many of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, Lear’s tragic flaw is his obstinate pride and lack of personal insight and judgement. This hubris not only brings about his own suffering, but also causes others pain. For example, being dissatisfied with Cordelia’s response about her love for him, King Lear’s pride lead him to banish Cordelia, followed by his loyal servant Kent when he tries to enlighten him. Kent is banished after he tells King Lear that Cordelia loves him: “Thy youngest daughter does not love thee least, Nor are those empty-hearted whose low sound, Reverb no hollowness,”(Shakespeare 1.1.171-173). Lear’s pride blinded him from listening to Kent and from seeing the true faces and intentions of his daughters, Regan and Goneril. His lack of insight allowed him to be manipulated by the kind, although deceptive words of his cunning daughters. The tragedy, and Lear’s personal downfall unfold when he divides his kingdom between the antagonists, Regan and Goneril, not based on merit, but rather flattery. The two ungrateful daughters subsequently conspire against him, remove him from their homes and leave him as a man begging for food and shelter.

Lear’s foolishness slowly turns into madness. He hires a servant (Kent in disguise) without knowing anything about him. He begins to doubt his judgement and starts to show hostility to others for no apparent reason. His suffering drives him to insanity. He suddenly realizes his grave error in dividing his kingdom to his two undeserving daughters and disowning the sincere one. Regarding Cordelia he says: “I did her wrong,” (Shakespeare 1.5. 24). His suffering is compounded by the knowledge that Regan and Goneril have betrayed him. He threatens, “I will have such revenges on you both that all the world shall — I will do such things — What they are yet, I know not; but they shall be the terrors of the earth!” (Shakespeare 2.4.279-282). Through his pain and suffering he acknowledges that he is going mad and, at first asks the gods to intervene, “O, let me not be mad, not mad, sweet heaven! Keep me in temper; I would not be mad!”(Shakespeare 1.4.24) but later simply gives into his madness, “I have full cause of weeping, but this heart shall break into a hundred thousand flaws or ere I’ll weep. O fool, I shall go mad!” (Shakespeare 2.5.284-286). In the last scene, Lear slips in and out of insanity. He temporarily regains his sanity and happiness when he sees Cordelia, “We two alone will sing like birds i’ the cage. When thou dost ask me blessing, I’ll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness”, (Shakespeare 5.3. 9-11). When he carries in her dead body, he again deteriorates into madness and his ultimate demise is death.

In the end, the audience can’t help but feel profound pity for King Lear. He is elderly and appears to have been a good king and father at some point. His tragic flaw causes him to fall from being the most important man in Britain to “a slave, a poor, infirm, weak and despised old man”, (Shakespeare 3.2.19-20). He becomes full of self pity when he is caught in the storm. He loses all confidence, power, authority, love – and even sanity – in the face of his daughters’ actions. Although Lear instigated this tragedy by banishing Cordelia, the consequences of his tragic flaw seem to be unjustly harsh. The audience witnesses the cruelty he is subjected to by others and hopes to see their downfall. Unfortunately, in this tragedy, Lear is not victorious.

King Lear satisfies all the requirements of an Aristotelian tragic hero. The nobleman’s love of flattery, his anger, pride and misjudgements lead not only to his own downfall but to the destruction of his family and the death of many others, including Cordelia, the only daughter who truly loved him. While, in the end, he displays self realization, humility and humanity, the discovery happens much too late to save him. The audience is left sympathizing for a man who suffered more than he deserved.

Read more

Arthur Miller’s Depiction of the Personality of Willy Loman As Shown In His Play, Death of a Salesman

November 8, 2021 by Essay Writer

Death of a Salesman, by Arthur Miller, is a tragic play focusing on the common man during the late 1940’s. Much of the story is told by flashbacks of Willy Loman’s past, including him cheating on Linda, his wife. His older son, Biff, witnessed the affair and has not been the same ever since. Happy, the younger son, is not actually happy but he enjoys lying in order to get ahead. Willy teaches his sons that being popular and “well liked” is more important than having skills. A tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgement error that inevitably leads to his/her own destruction. The character Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is an example of a tragic hero.

An example of a characteristic of a tragic hero is that the character must have a weakness. This applies to Willy Loman because he has several weaknesses, pride being the most evident. He has a false sense of his own importance and believes that he will die “the death of a salesman” with a crowded funeral, but instead dies pretty much alone (Miller 55). When Charley offers him a job, Willy turns it down because he feels that it may compromise his dignity. He is fine with getting hand outs but is too proud to accept Charley’s offer (Miller 26). He also constantly talks about being “well liked” and having friends (Miller 17).

Willy Loman represents the common working American man. Although he cheats on his wife and ruins his relationship with his sons, Willy suffers more than he deserves. Committing suicide is the way that he wants to redeem himself in their eyes, considering that his life insurance will leave them with twenty thousand dollars (Miller 39). His punishment, death, exceeds his crimes. Another way he suffers is when Howard refuses to move his work closer to home and then eventually fires him. Willy tells him that he “can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away – a man is not a piece of fruit” (Miller 55). By this, he means that the company cannot just fire its employees when they are too old and worn out to be of value to them. Willy has been with the company since the beginning, working for Howard’s father. The only reason that Howard kept him around was for his father.

This story definitely arouses fear and empathy from the audience. Willy’s biggest desire is to be noble and “well liked”, but he clearly never reaches that status. Throughout the play, it seems that he truly believes that he is popular, His death should raise fear in the common man, whom Willy symbolizes, because we can recognize similar possibilities of error in ourselves. He is a “low man”, struggling to succeed in the wrong way. His dream was never to be a businessman; that idea was planted into his head by his father. Being a salesman was wrong for him; he was always skilled at building things (Miller 26). The audience can understand Willy’s desire to be successful, well liked, and the value he sees in appearances (Miller 18). After all, “well liked” is probably the most common phrase in the entire play.

Willy discovers his fate by his own actions, not by things happening to him. He was essentially a product of society, chasing after material goods and the “American Dream”. Not only did Willy want to be rich, he also wanted to be popular among others. He lives in the past, which is characterized by the conversations between Willy and his deceased brother, Ben (Miller 27). Willy smashing up the car is mentioned several times throughout the play, leading the reader to believe that he has tried committing suicide before (Miller 7). He also inhales gas from a gas pipe, in an attempt to slowly kill himself (Miller 39). In the end, it is Willy’s own actions that lead to his death.

Finally, a tragic hero must be physically or spiritually wounded by his experiences, often resulting in death. Spiritually, Willy’s affair with The Woman plays a huge role in his downfall. He loves Linda, but The Woman plays along with Willy’s belief that he is more important than he really is. When Biff finds out about the affair, he is destroyed. While he used to be the star football player at his school, he has given that up and does not graduate from high school (Miller 84). Willy knows that the affair has caused a drift in his relationship with his family, and he even feels guilty that he can provide stockings for The Woman but not for his wife. Each time that Willy crashes his car or inhales gas, he is physically hurting himself. Eventually, the car leads to his death (Miller 98).

In conclusion, Willy’s main flaw is having too much pride. He suffers more than he deserves, his own actions lead to his downfall, and his story arouses fear and empathy. Due to all of these and his death, Willy is able to meet the criteria of Aristotle’s tragic hero. The character Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is an example of a tragic hero.

Read more
Order Creative Sample Now
Choose type of discipline
Choose academic level
  • High school
  • College
  • University
  • Masters
  • PhD

Page count
1 pages
$ 10