Death before him as he loses his
Death Of A Salesman Vs. HamletWilly Loman and Hamlet, two characters so alike, though different. Bothare perfect examples of tragedy in literature, though for separate reasons andby distinct methods.
The definition of a tragedy, in a nutshell, states thatfor a character to be considered tragic, he/she must be of high moral estate,fall to a level of catastrophe, induce sympathy and horror in the audience, andusually die, and in doing so, re-establish order in the society. Hamlet followsthis to a “T”. Death of a Salesman does not fall within these set guidelines butis still considered tragic for reasons, though different, somewhat parallelthose of Hamlet’s.Hamlet, a rich young price of high moral estate suddenly has his joyouslife ripped away from him when his father, Hamlet Sr., suddenly passes away.Though originally thought to be of natural causes, it is later revealed to himthrough his father’s ghost, that dear old dad was murdered by his Step-Father,and also his Uncle, Claudius. Vowing revenge upon his Uncle/Dad, Hamlet beginsto mentally falter and eventually, is in such a wild rage that he accidentallykills Polonious believing him to be his father.
Hilarity ensues.Ophelia, Hamlet’s love interest, commits suicide/dies (that’s up fordebate elsewhere) after going slightly mad from the impact of her father’s death,then Laertes, Polonius’ son, arrives on the scene enraged and ready to killHamlet for what he’s done, and just when you thought things couldn’t get anyworse, unbeknownst to Hamlet, Claudius has been plotting to kill him. Talkabout your bad days.A duel takes place between Hamlet and Laertes where Laertes, using apoison-tipped sword, cuts Hamlet, thus giving way for his impending death.Hamlet eventually gets hold of the sword and kills Laertes, then kills KingClaudius.
Just as the play ends, Hamlet takes his last breath of air, appointsFortinbras Jr. as the new King of Denmark, and dies.In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, a salesman who believed himself tobe a powerful man, has his life unravel before him as he loses his job, hissanity and the respect of those around him.
Many years before, Willy had anaffair. This “dirtied” his appearance to his son Biff, though his wife neverfound out. Biff later went on to become a drifter of sorts, dabbling in onelow-paying profession after another until finally settling on a farm.After Willy was fired, for being too old, too inept or both, supposedly,Willy pretends he’s still working and doesn’t let his wife in on the bad news.Too stubborn to accept a job from his next-door neighbour, Willy is forced tolie to his family.Through visions of his older brother Ben, coupled with the degradationof his mind, Willy eventually commits suicide to ensure his son Biff’s careerthrough the Life Insurance policy.
Willy dies an empty, shallow death.Hamlet and Willy are both considered tragic. The Classical Tragedy’sdefinition was tweaked with to make it a more general encompassor. A commonman’s injured sense of dignity, coupled with forces beyond his control and/orability to comprehend, displace him from his perceived place, causing theaudience to recognize such and prepare itself for the inevitable finale in whichthe hopelessness and defeat are more poignant than the actual death.
Willy and Hamlet both fell from grace, both commited morally bankruptacts and evetually died, giving way to a re-establishment of order. Tragic men,for different reasons, bound together through their demeanor and their deaths.a