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November 28, 2005

Tragedy and the Common Man

First of all, I loved this essay. I found it extremely interesting. Why did Arthur Miller ever bother to write plays? I really am not a big fan of his work. (Granted the only plays I have read are The Crucible and now Death of a Salesman) But, I found this essay fascinating. (I know. I am a total dork.)

"...the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing--his sense of personal dignity." (Miller, 1)

When I read this I thought of how the play Professor Bernhardi is called a comedy. While reading the play, I certainly didn't think it was a comedy, and I think that this statement supports that. Professor Bernhardi was certainly willing to give up everything to support his actions because it was a matter of personal dignity. If he had given in and let people tell him he was wrong I would not have respected him as much because he let other people influence what he identified as right. But, because he stood by his actions and defended them as a crucial part of his profession he kept his "sense of personal dignity." So, if you look at it this way, Profesor Bernhardi could be considered a tragedy.

More from A Man for All Seasons is another such example of a character "who is ready to lay down his life,...to secure...his sense of personal dignity."

Posted by LorinSchumacher at November 28, 2005 1:37 PM


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