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Whether Willy Loman, or Biff Loman, or Linda Loman, Are Tragic Heroes

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Whether Willy Loman, or Biff Loman, or Linda Loman, are Tragic Heroes

In general, a tragic hero is a literary character who makes an error in the judgment which ultimately leads to his self-destruction. The error in the decision might be minor, or it might be of colossal scale. According to Aristotle, a character who classifies as a tragic hero should have some main characteristics. A tragic hero has the error in judgment flaw, peripatetic (sudden reversal of fortune) and excessive pride. Also, tragic hero admits that reversal of fortune is due to his deeds. The actions and deeds of the tragic hero become of the one of the main reasons for his/ her destruction. The character’s fate is much more than what he deserves (Tracy, 57). The five characteristics mentioned sum up a role as a tragic hero according to Aristotle. Aristotle compared Greek tragedy with poetry however he believes that Greek tragedy adds seriousness to the context of the direct act implementation. Aristotle also mentioned that plot is one of the main characteristics to understand Greek tragedy. After the analysis of Willy Loman, Biff Loman and Linda Loman different conclusions are made. Among these three characters, Willy Loman is the tragic hero because of the desperation in his life, the unrealistic approach to the matters around him, the destruction in his life because of his deeds and his suicidal attitude.

Firstly, the exaggerating nature of Willy makes him a tragic hero. The play depicts his character as the one who runs after success and money. In his quest for success and money, he destroyed his own life.  Although he never envied Ben, his success added a sense of pride in Willy. Even after suffering from the lack of prosperity and the thought of getting into trouble monetarily he got involved in what Biff has to say. Willy analyzed his weaknesses but did not own the power to control his weaknesses. (Tracy, 57) Instead of knowing his weakness he acted on the wrong judgment of his own for Biff and started doing what he said. The erroneous judgment of Willy does not make him realize that Linda has been sincere to him in the entire course of play (Tracy, 57). Hence his failed judgment is what he suffers badly.  At the end where he realizes all his mistakes are yet another reason, Willy Loman classifies as a tragic hero.

Biff, on the other hand, has a realistic approach to life and analyses what is going on in his environment. The realistic approach of Biff and the life of his father made him realize a lot of things at an early age (Tracy, 57). In the process of growing up, Biff realized that a lot of things which Willy taught him were never even followed by him. Observing everything has always been the specialty of Biff’s character. However, Biff acted as a catalyst in the entire play for Willy since he derived his thoughts and actions. Biff knew how he could manipulate the thoughts of Willy in whatever way he wants. The exaggerating nature of Willy gave him an edge in this act (Tracy, 57). His practical approach destroyed the perception of Willy soon after his trip to Boston. Hence, Bill was able to manipulate Willy in such a ways that it always proved helpful for Biff. Finally Biff is not tragic hero because he differentiates between needs and wants and can keep himself sane in all the hardships.



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