Hamlet vs. willy (death of a salesman) comparrisson

Essay by jj_86High School, 12th gradeB, March 2004

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Hamlet vs. Willy

Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, is a book about a salesman named Willy Loman who lives in the past and holds on to ideals and dreams that simply don't exist anymore, constantly worrying about his material items and the "condition" of his family, Willy becomes distraught leading to his early death. Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, is about a prince named Hamlet, similar to Willy, Hamlet is also constantly worrying about life and the state of his family. In literature there's a common idea of the "tragic hero." Arthur Miller, author of Death of a Salesman, has a new updated version of what a tragic hero is; a character who is ready to lay down his life if need be to secure his sense of personal dignity, a character of nobility, has a tragic flaw. With this definition of a tragic hero in mind, both Hamlet and Willy Loman are tragic heroes.

In both plays the main characters, Willy and Hamlet, are both willing to lay down their lives for a sense of their personal dignity. "Remember that pipe... it isn't there! He took it away himself," Linda, Willy's wife, is telling her two sons, Biff and Happy, that their father had a pipe in the basement next the heater and that his intentions were to kill himself. At the time Willy was struggling to make any sales and wasn't bringing home a adequate enough paycheck to pay bills on the house, Willy evaluates success by the amount of quality possessions one owns, therefore Willy who can't afford a lot of new electronics feels as if he is less of a man and because of this he does eventually lay his life down, "He had no right to do that! There was...