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Oedipus vs Willy Loman

            A literary tragic hero comes in different forms. In Oedipus the King by Sophocles, Oedipus was a mythological character who experienced intense personal battles since the day he was born. He was cursed at his birth from his ancestor's wrong doings. On the other hand, in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Willy worked towards his tragedy in a sense. Willy chose his own fate and he had the option to change his life for good. Willy Loman was a low-middle class working man who worked his whole life and ended up in tragedy; whereas Oedipus's tragedy was placed upon him at birth which ultimately made him work his whole life to try to counteract it.
             A tragic hero is one who evokes a feeling of pity or fear in the audience. Aristotle believed that any man of power can be a tragic hero, such as Oedipus. Oedipus was particularly tragic because he was cursed at birth. Aristotle's theory is supported by Oedipus the king because Oedipus shows that even those of high power experience fatal tragedy. Miller's theory of tragedy was the opposite of Aristotle's. Miller believed that any man could be a tragic hero. Miller's paradigm was Willy Loman a common man who experienced tragedy through wealth. Miller's use of Willy as a paradigm shows that Miller suggested that no matter whom you are or what you do, tragedy will follow you. He thinks that every person has a different level of tragedy. This contradicts Aristotle because he believed that only certain people were able to be considered "tragic".
             Oedipus and Willy Loman were both significant tragic heroes with different cases of tragedy. Out of the two, Willy Loman would have to be less tragic because Willy chose the tragedy he suffered. Willy Loman had the wrong aspirations since the beginning. He wanted to be well liked by everyone. He wanted to ultimately achieve the "American Dream" to help his family. Willy's idea of achieving this dream was to acquire more than enough money to pay off all the bills.

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