The Infatuation With A Tragic Ending

1172 words - 5 pages

When asked about his struggles to a successful life, Groucho Marx, an American comedian had once said “While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery.” Individuals with a strong attachment to either a dream or a passion, develop a drive which motivates them to achieve their goals; regardless of the obstacles that they may have to overcome. Infatuation with the means of accomplishing such dreams may however, lead to tragic endings. The concept of infatuation leading to tragic endings is explored within the essay Tragedy and the Common Man by Arthur Miller, the novel Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, and the Australian-American film The Great Gatsby ...view middle of the document...

Miller depicts a tragic flaw such as, “a failing that is not peculiar to grand characters” and opposes to it being considered as a weakness, “nor is it necessarily a weakness”. Though, Miller states that a tragic flaw is not limited to kings and can indeed be seen within a life of a “common man”, he adds that a tragic flaw should not be considered as a limitation which can set back an individual from reaching their dream. This idea is further discussed within Death of a Salesman, where the main character, Willy’s tragic flaw is his inclination to living a life of delusional lies. It is not until the end of the novel however, when Willy’s elder son Biff, uncovers his father’s failure, “We never told the truth for ten minutes in this house!” Biff forcefully compels Willy to face reality, obliterating all of his false hopes and lies. This idea is also presented in The Great Gatsby where the main character Jay Gatsby, forcibly tries to live a delusional life within the past. When Gatsby is acquainted with the fact that he cannot repeat the events of the past he argues by saying, “Can't repeat the past? ... 'Why of course you can!” His naive thinking and outlook on repeating the past, divulges how he has distorted reality in order to comprise Daisy within his life. Hence, a tragic flaw is a fundamental constituent which undeniably leads to a tragedy.
Secondly, the basis of a tragedy lies within the depths of arrogance. Miller’s talks about how arrogance can lead to individuals crossing treacherous extents if they feel their pride being under the influence of threat. He describes this phase as, “a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing- his sense of personal dignity." A tragedy occurs when a character prioritizes his dignity over his need for help which result in a high sense of pride and ultimately, leads to his doom. The concept of pride inhibited within Willy Loman from Death of a Salesman is shown through his protection of his personal dignity. Willy’s high sense of self- dignity is acknowledged by his wife Linda when she says, "He drives seven hundred miles home without having earned a cent? ... When he has to go to Charley and borrow fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it's his pay?” Though Willy struggles to make an income to...

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