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Comparing Othello and Willy Loman

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Othello V/S Willy Loman A Compare and Contrast Essay Order No. 260817 No. of pages: 3 Premium 6530 One of the very interesting plays of this modern age is “Death of a Salesman” by the author Arthur Miller, who has earned for himself a special niche in the galaxy of modern playwrights on account of his uncanny ability to portray the angst and agony of the American middle-class, who seem trapped in the illusion of grandeur, which they hoped to acquire through their hard work. On the other hand, Othello is a tragic play filled with imaginary sympathy coupled with raging jealousy and selfishness.
The protagonist of the play, Willy Loman was a man in his sixties, who spent his entire life in pursuing the dream of creating a happy and peaceful life for himself through his hard work. He is an extremely eccentric character, who was a salesman by profession, but yet was closely associated with trickery and lies. In Shakespeare’s play, there is no doubt that Othello is the tragic hero whose jealousy and stubbornness is beyond compare. Though he is a virtuous man besides him being an outstanding soldier, yet his jealousy seems to consume his very being.
Through the plays, both these characters – Willy Loman and Othello pulls at the heart strings of its audiences round the world because it allows them to identify with their characters and empathize with them. This is because both these characters had the ability to touch the humanness and passion lurking in the hearts of its readers because it affected human nature and its sensibilities. Tragedy seems to be an indelible part suffered by Othello and Willy Loman though the nature of the tragedy is different from each other. While Othello is passionate about the love for his wife and displays his stubbornness in accepting certain facts, coupled with rage and mad jealousy, yet somehow the audiences have a great affinity towards Othello and even feel a lot of pity for him and find a sense of belonging to him. In the same manner the character of Willy Loman in the ‘Death of a Salesman’, though disgusting at times with his imaginations and illusions and the way he deals so cunningly with people, yet it makes the reader understand that it is all done to realize his goal in life of obtaining a good life for his family.
The job of salesman that Willy had warranted glib talk and cunning which he carried out only too well, but it did not stop there, he did the same thing at home and the results was that both his sons Biff and Happy picked up the same poor values that were practiced and preached by the parents – especially Willy. But even so, he did not want to take responsibility when his son Biff turned out to me a useless no good while Happy did not do anything to make progress. In Othello we see that he too never wanted to accept responsibility of the pain and suffering he caused to everyone around him, especially to those whom he loved so much. He is selfish to the extent that he does not care anymore because he is blinded by sheer jealousy and passion. In the same way Willy was so passionate about his son Biff being a star athlete in high school and getting a scholarship to the UVA, that he believes that he would make it to the top. He is sadly disillusioned when the reality of life creeps up on him that Bill was no more than just a “rolling stone” who could never stick to a job. Willy’s pain and disillusionment is brought out through his hallucinations and wild imagination that runs amuck at the drop of a hat.
Living in an illusory world is most damaging to the psyche. A person who weaves a web on dreams around himself finally gets caught in his own trap and this is brought out most tragically through Willy’s suicide. . In the case of Willy when the truth becomes too hard for him to bear, he chooses the easy way out – death. The tragic Othello is no better. The Moor’s nature is noble, tender and generous, but once it gets ignited by Iago with doubt and remorse, he become a totally different person- one who is filled with hatred and jealousy of the most inflammable kind and brings untold suffering, resentment and torture to those who come into contact with him because of his anguish. In the end Othello too becomes disillusioned because he refuses to accept reality.
Both the plays as well as both the protagonists are faced with constantly shifting scenarios—moving from past to present, illusion to reality, falsehood to truth, and finally a rude awakening from a dreamy state to one of harsh reality. This oscillation between the past and present fills these play with a lot of ambiguity. The reader’s emotions also swing back and forth from a touch of sympathy for Willy Loman and Othello to a complete indifference towards their pathetic condition, which is a result of their materialistic ambitions.
References
Othello – Character Analysis
www.absoluteshakespeare.com/…/characters/othello_characters_essay.htm
Death of a Salesman
www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Deathof.html

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