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In the essay “Tragedy and the Common Man,” Arthur Miller claims that despite Aristotle’s concept of the tragic hero. common man “ is as apt a...


Part of what underscores Miller's statement is the idea that tragedy and drama are not limited to the conception of gods and kings.  When one thinks of the Greek conception of drama, there is a preponderance of focus on the gods and the highest of royalty.  Battles are fought where divinity is seen along side of kings and queens.  The battle of Troy was fought between Gods and human royalty, while Sophocles' depiction concerned Kings like Oedipus and Creon.  There seemed to be little in the way or need of ordinary people.  Artists like Miller sought to change this by emphasizing the dramatic in the condition of ordinary people.  Wily, in Miller's Death of a Salesman, is a regular guy who is faced with the tragic condition of being crushed under the weight of his dreams, the logical result of seeking to appropriate the world in accordance to his own subjectivity.  In The Crucible, figures like John Proctor and Giles Corey are regular people.  They are not kings nor are they gods.  They do not command armies and are not responsible for the fate of nations.  Yet, within them the reader sees examples of superhero qualities as they represent the essence of the tragic hero set against the backdrop of times that take a toll on the best qualities of human beings.  It is in these settings where the reader sees tragic conditions of people who might not be "of noble birth," but act in the highest of nobility in examples of Proctor's refusal to speak lies and Corey's condemnation of a social order with the last words of "More weight."

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