Although separated by almost 3,000 years of literature there are plays that can still tie in together by containing similar elements and characteristics.
In this case, Oedipus the King by Sophocles and its counterpart Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller have some similarities. When thinking about both stories, one might question, how are the two stories related; one is about a king who killed his father without consent of who he was but later discovers the truth and the other is about a salesman who has attempted suicide a few times because he was a failure. Looking deeper into both stories, the two characters are related not only because of their prideful personalities but also because of their arrogance and failure to accept the truth, which eventually led to their downfalls.
At the start of Oedipus the king, Oedipus is troubled by what he sees happening to his city Thebes. His concern is censere and genuine. Unbeknown to him, Thebe’s predicament has been caused by his own fate as predicted by the greek gods. By the end of the story, Oedipus is grieved and ashamed because of his discovery of his own actions.
At first, Oedipus refuses to accept the truth but then Jocasta proves that he had killed his own father. Oedipus was blinded to the truth which is why he then blinded himself.Death of a salesman begins with willy, the protagonist in a state of confusion and emotional upheaval.
His grievance is that he is tired of going to New York and New England for work. He feels like a complete failure. Willy believes that if you are well liked and respected you will be successful in life. Unfortunately, willy isn’t in that position and commits suicide. He also did it because he thought Biff would use the life insurance money to start a business.
Willy thought that killing himself would be a great contribution to his sons successes. There are some differences between the actions of the two protagonists, Oedipus and Willy. The consequences of Oedipus actions have brought citywide plague and by comparison, Willy is an american salesperson who only brought his own family together after his death. His death brings sorrow to his wife and children and along with that, money from his life insurance.
I think that miller uses a common man because he belongs to a new era in which common is the center of attention but if we refer back to the classical era, the Royals were the center. Both Oedipus and willy display arrogance in their character and this becomes their fatal flaws. It is because of his arrogance that Oedipus does almost everything to change his fate.
His escape from corinth leads him to kill his own father and marry his mother and afterwards blinding himself. Similarly, Willy was blinded to his success and only focused on how of a failure he was. If he had been positively mind settled, he would not have had to kill himself to get $20,000 of his life insurance for his family.
Oedipus failed Thebes, and Willy failed his two sons, Biff and Happy, and his wife, Linda. This essay has compared the stories of oedipus the King and Death of a Salesman using the classical and arthur models as the frame of reference, Five elements that apply to both stories have been juxtaposed in order to show how they compare of differ and show the role they play in building the tragedies they tell.