Death Of A Salesman vs. Hamlet

Essay by Dr. Aaron DicenzoHigh School, 12th gradeA, April 1996

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Willy Loman and Hamlet, two characters so alike, though different. Both are

perfect examples of tragedy in literature, though for separate reasons and by distinct

methods. The definition of a tragedy, in a nutshell, states that for 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, and usually die, and in doing so, re-establish

order in the society. Hamlet follows this to a 'T'. Death of a Salesman does not fall

within these set guidelines but is still considered tragic for reasons, though different,

somewhat parallel those of Hamlet's.

Hamlet, a rich young price of high moral estate suddenly has his joyous life

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 him through 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 begins to mentally falter and eventually, is

in such a wild rage that he accidentally kills Polonious believing him to be his father.

Hilarity ensues.

Ophelia, Hamlet's love interest, commits suicide/dies (that's up for debate

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 kill Hamlet for what he's done,

and just when you thought things couldn't get any worse, unbeknownst to Hamlet,

Claudius has been plotting to kill him. Talk about your bad days.

A duel takes place between Hamlet and Laertes where Laertes, using a poison-

tipped sword, cuts Hamlet, thus giving way for his impending death. Hamlet eventually

gets hold of the sword and kills Laertes, then kills King...