Willy Loman, from the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, exhibited the traits of a tragic hero. His disastrous qualities came prior to his foreshadowed death when he realized his existence had not panned out the way he had hoped. Mr. Loman aroused sympathy from the readers as he dedicated his life to a single cause, all while having a weakness of pride that led to his catastrophic passing.
Willy was destined to pass away from the very start of the story, just like a tragic hero characteristically does. The title of the work shows the fate of Willy Loman. “Death of a Salesman” (DiYanni 1777). The name of the play foreshadows the destiny of the main character. The reader knows that Willy will perish because the very first words of the work tell the reader exactly that. The name of the literary work obviously states that someone will die, and once the reader finds out Willy has the occupation of a salesman we know his condemned fortune. The opening scene of the play reveals yet another forewarning of Willy’s death. “Linda: Don’t you feel well? Willy: I am tired to death. I couldn’t make it. I just couldn’t make it, Linda. Linda: Where were you all day? You look terrible” (DiYanni 1779). The fact that those words come from Mr. Willy Loman as only his fourth line of many indicates that his death will come at some point in the story. He used the word “death” to describe his physical state so in essence the person reading the tale has insight to his destiny. The reader can clearly see the demise of Mr. Loman from the start.
The salesman, Willy, heroically has a heartbreaking semi-epiphany about his life in the concluding scenes of the piece. In his final days, Mr. Loman grasps the fact that his years have not gone exactly as planned, and wants his life put to good use after he departs. “You could argue that Willy has a small realization near the end of the play. He never says it directly, but at some point- probably after Howard fires him- he must realize that he’s just never going to succeed in business” (Willy). At the end of his life, Willy comes to grips with the fact that in his time on Earth he has not accomplished his hope of successful business ventures. The reader knows this because Charley offers him a job and he does not take it. He instead sticks to his work of long traveling hours and no commission as he begins to comprehend the notion that he will never become the man he used to dream of becoming one day. Desolately, the once great salesman of his own mind crashes into the reality that he always feared.
Sympathizing with one of the characters often classifies them as a tragic hero. Most people can identify with Willy about his weight and he certainly sees it himself. “I’m fat. I’m very—foolish to look at Linda. I didn’t tell you, but Christmas time I happened to be calling on F.H. Stewarts, and a salesman I know, as I was going to see a buyer I heard him say something about—walrus…But they do laugh at me. I know that” (DiYanni...