English literature – My Final Paper

Write 1400 paragraphed words essay (minimum) by answering two quesions. More details are in the word document attacehd below. Please read instructions carefully before deciding on writing the paper.


Orginial work only and NO plagiarism accepted Please.


Due Wed @ 11:00 PM


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Final Paper for English 2328



The final paper will involve answering thetwo questions below. Be sure to included quotes from the plays, and the source discussed below. Do not use sources from outside the course. Cite your sources (even those you paraphrase) and create a Works Cited for each answer using MLA formatting. Use Sonofcitation machine or a site like it to help you if you need it. You will have to use Word to create the paper. If you upload your essay using any other program, I might not be able to open your paper.


Organize your answers with a short introduction and body paragraphs. Create a thesis for each paper that will come at the end of the introduction. Create topic sentences for each body paragraph.


Each answer should be about 700 words long. Provide a word count at the end of the answers from you computer. You can go longer but if you go shorter, you won’t be able to fully answer the questions. Feel free to email each other questions as you work and of course, you should email me questions as well!


  1. Look at the way Miller defines a modern tragic hero. Tragic heroes in Miller’s construct are modern not post modern. Using the café scene from Death of a Salesman anddiscuss how Willy fits into Miller’s definition of modern tragic hero. Use quotes from the essay and the play to organize your response. (write at least 700 paragraphed words)
  2. InGlengarry Glen Ross Mamet looks at the horrors of capitalism during the postmodern period. He also looks at the world of men. Discuss he utilizes at leasttwo of the elements of postmodernism listed in Owl Purdue paragraphs to create a postmodern commentary on the world of sales. Quote from both the essay and the play. (write at least 700 words)





These links will start you on a short interview and a spoken version of Death of a Salesman. If you continue to follow these links (there are several more) you can hear the entire play.



Tragedy and the Common Man by Arthur Miller



















Aristotle on the nature of tragedy:


Tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and possessing magnitude…in the mode of action; not narrated; and effecting pity and fear [what we call catharsis] of such emotions. The imitation of the action is the plot. Tragedy is not an imitation of men but of actions and life. It is in action that happiness and unhappiness are found, and the end which we aim at is a kind of activity…It is for the sake of their actions that [agents] take on the characters they have. Thus what happens–that is, the plot, is the end for which a tragedy exists, and the end or purpose is the most important thing of all…it is whole, [having] a beginning, middle and end. Dramatic poetry’s function is…not to report things that have happened, but rather to tell of such things that might happen…to express the universal. [Aristotle speaks of the need for mature tragedy to have a complex action by which he meant that reversal and recognition result logically from a change in fortune]: Reversal of the Situation is a change by which the action veers round to its opposite, subject always to our rule of probability or necessity. Thus in the Oedipus, the messenger comes to cheer Oedipus and free him from his alarms about his mother, but by revealing who he is, he produces the opposite effect. … Recognition, as the name indicates, is a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined by the poet for good or bad fortune. The best form of recognition is coincident with a Reversal of the Situation, as in the Oedipus. There are indeed other forms. Even inanimate things of the most trivial kind may in a sense be objects of recognition. Again, we may recognise or discover whether a person has done a thing or not. But the recognition which is most intimately connected with the plot and action is, as we have said, the recognition of persons. This recognition, combined, with Reversal, will produce either pity or fear; and actions producing these effects are those which, by our definition, Tragedy represents. Moreover, it is upon such situations that the issues of good or bad fortune will depend. Recognition, then, being between persons, it may happen that one person only is recognised by the other-when the latter is already known–or it may be necessary that the recognition should be on both sides… [Summary: reversal: change from one state of affairs to its exact opposite. recognition: change from ignorance to knowledge…on the part of those who are marked for good fortune or bad.] Good men ought not to be shown passing from prosperity to misfortune, for this does not inspire either pity or fear, but only revulsion; nor evil men rising from ill fortune to prosperity…neither should a wicked man be seen falling from prosperity into misfortune…We are left with the man whose place is between these extremes. Such is the man who on the one hand does not fall into misfortune through vice or depravity. He falls because of some mistake …[This is often mistranslated as the tragic flaw.] [The parts of the poetics that Aristotle wrote concerning the nature of comedy are lost. Fragments survive, some of which is printed below. Note that the material relevant to comedy is closely linked to the observations made about tragedy. We know from human experience that the link between comedy and tragedy is often very hard to distinguish:] http://www.stjohns-chs.org/english/fate_tragedy/aristotlepoetics.html



















Tragedy and the Common Man by Arthur Miller


In this age few tragedies are written. It has often been held that the lack is due to a paucity of heroes among us, or else that modern man has had the blood drawn out of his organs of belief by the skepticism of science, and the heroic attack on life cannot feed on an attitude of reserve and circumspection. For one reason or another, we are often held to be below tragedy-or tragedy above us. The inevitable conclusion is, of course, that the tragic mode is archaic, fit only for the very highly placed, the kings or the kingly, and where this admission is not made in so many words it is most often implied. I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were. On the face of it this ought to be obvious in the light of modern psychiatry, which bases its analysis upon classic formulations, such as the Oedipus and Orestes complexes, for instance, which were enacted by royal beings, but which apply to everyone in similar emotional situations. More simply, when the question of tragedy in art in not at issue, we never hesitate to attribute to the well-placed and the exalted the very same mental processes as the lowly. And finally, if the exaltation of tragic action were truly a property of the high-bred character alone, it is inconceivable that the mass Of mankind should cherish tragedy above all other forms, let alone be capable of understanding it. As a general rule, to which there may be exceptions unknown to me, I think 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. From Orestes to Hamlet, Medea to Macbeth, the underlying struggles that of the individual attempting to gain his “rightful” position in his society. Sometimes he is one who has been displaced from it, sometimes one who seeks to attain it for the first time, but the fateful wound from which the inevitable events spiral is the wound of indignity, and its dominant force is indignation. Tragedy, then, is the consequence of a man’s total compulsion to evaluate himself justly. In the sense of having been initiated by the hero himself, the tale always reveals what has been called his tragic flaw,” a failing that is not peculiar to grand or elevated characters. Nor is it necessarily a weakness. The flaw, or crack in the character, is really nothing– and need be nothing, but his inherent unwillingness to remain passive in the face of what he conceives to be a challenge to his dignity, his image of his rightful status. Only the passive, only those who accept their lot without active retaliation, are “flawless.” Most of us are in that category. But there are among us today, as there always have been, those who act against the scheme of things that degrades them, and in the process of action everything we have accepted out of fear or insensitivity or ignorance is shaken before us and examined, and from this total onslaught by an individual against the seemingly stable cosmos surrounding us– from this total examination of the “unchangeable” environment– comes the terror and the fear that is classically associated with tragedy. More important, from this total questioning of what has previously been unquestioned, we learn. And such a process is not beyond the common man. In revolutions around the world, these past thirty years, he has demonstrated again and again this inner dynamic of all tragedy. Insistence upon the rank of the tragic hero, or the so-called nobility of his character, is really but a clinging to the outward forms of tragedy. If rank or nobility of character was indispensable, then it would follow that the problems of those with rank were the particular problems of tragedy. But surely the right of one monarch to capture the domain from another no longer raises our passions, nor are our concepts of justice what they were to the mind of an Elizabethan king. The quality in such plays that does shake us, however, derives from the underlying fear of being displaced, the disaster inherent in being torn away from our chosen image of what or who we are in this world. Among us today this fear is as strong, and perhaps stronger, than it ever was. In fact, it is the common man who knows this fear best. Now, if it is true that tragedy is the consequence of a man’s total compulsion to evaluate himself justly, his destruction in the attempt posits a wrong or an evil in his environment. And this is precisely the morality of tragedy and its lesson. The discovery of the moral law, which is what the enlightenment of tragedy consists of, is not the discovery of some abstract or metaphysical quantity. The tragic night is a condition of life, a condition in which the human personality is able to flower and realize itself. The wrong is the condition which suppresses man, perverts the flowing out of his love and creative instinct. Tragedy enlightens and it must, in that it points the heroic finger at the enemy of man’s freedom. The thrust for freedom is the quality in tragedy which exalts. The revolutionary questioning of the stable environment is what terrifies. In no way is the common man debarred from such thoughts or such actions. Seen in this light, our lack of tragedy may be partially accounted for by the turn which modern literature has taken toward the purely psychiatric view of life, or the purely sociological. If all our miseries, our indignities, are born and bred within our minds, then all action, let alone the heroic action, is obviously impossible. And if society alone is responsible for the cramping of our lives, then the protagonist must needs be so pure and faultless as to force us to deny his validity as a character. From neither of these views can tragedy derive, simply because neither represents a balanced concept of life. Above all else, tragedy requires the finest appreciation by the writer of cause and effect. No tragedy can therefore come about when its author fears to question absolutely everything, when he regards any institution, habit or custom as being either everlasting, immutable or inevitable. In the tragic view the need of man to wholly realize himself is the only fixed star, and whatever it is that hedges his nature and lowers it is ripe for attack and examination. Which is not to say that tragedy must preach revolution. The Greeks could probe the very heavenly origin of their ways and return to confirm the rightness of laws. And Job could face God in anger, demanding his right and end in submission. But for a moment everything is in suspension, nothing is accepted, and in this stretching and tearing apart of the cosmos, in the very action of so doing, the character gains “size,” the tragic stature which is spuriously attached to the royal or the high born in our minds. The commonest of men may take on that stature to the extent of his willingness to throw all he has into the contest, the battle to secure his rightful place in his world. There is a misconception of tragedy with which I have been struck in review after review, and in many conversations with writers and readers alike. It is the idea that tragedy is of necessity allied to pessimism. Even the dictionary says nothing more about the word than that it means a story with a sad or unhappy ending. This impression is so firmly fixed that I almost hesitate to claim that in truth tragedy implies more optimism in its author than does comedy, and that its final result ought to be the reinforcement of the onlooker’s brightest opinions of the human animal. For, if it is true to say that in essence the tragic hero is intent upon claiming his whole due as a personality, and if this struggle must be total and without reservation, then it automatically demonstrates the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity. The possibility of victory must be there in tragedy. Where pathos rules, where pathos is finally derived, a character has fought a battle he could not possibly have won. The pathetic is achieved when the protagonist is, by virtue of his witlessness, his insensitivity or the very air he gives off, incapable of grappling with a much
superior force. Pathos truly is the mode for the pessimist. But tragedy requires a nicer balance between what is possible and what is impossible. And it is curious, although edifying, that the plays we revere, century after century, are the tragedies. In them, and in them alone, lies the belief–optimistic, if you will, in the perfectibility of man. It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possible lead in our time–the heart and spirit of the average man. * Arthur Miller, “Tragedy and the Common Man,” from The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller (Viking Press, 1978) pp. 3-7. Copyright 1949, Copyright 0 renewed 1977 by Arthur Miller.Reprint(by permission of Viking Penguin, Inc. All rights reserved. from Robert W. Corrigan. Tragedy: Vision and Form. 2nd ed. New York: Harper, 1981.















Title: Overview: Glengarry Glen Ross

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Source: Drama for Students. Ed. David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato.Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1998. From Literature Resource Center.

Document Type: Work overview

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Full Text: COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Research, COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning

Full Text:


David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross was first presented at the small Cottlesloe Theatre of the Royal National Theatre, in London, England, on September 21, 1983. The critics gave the play strongly positive reviews and the production played to sold-out audiences. It was later awarded the Society of West End Theatres Award (similar to the American “Tony” Award) as best new play. The American premier of Glengarry Glen Ross took place at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre on February 6, 1984; with one cast change, the production then transferred to Broadway’s Golden Theatre on March 25. With very few exceptions, the New York critics recognized the play as brilliant in itself and a major advance for Mamet as a playwright. Nevertheless, ticket sales were slow and the play lost money for two weeks. After it was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, sales increased significantly. It ultimately ran for 378 performances, closing on February 17, 1985.

Many critics in both England and America pointed out that, for all its use of “four-letter words,” Glengarry Glen Ross is a morality play. They noted that the work is an abrasive attack on American business and culture, and a withering depiction of the men whose lives and values are twisted by a world in which they must lie, cheat, and even steal in order to survive. Virtually all of the critics commented extensively on Mamet’s use of language, not only to create tension and define character, but also as a sort of musical poetry: “hot jazz and wounding blues,” as Frank Rich, critic for the New York Times put it. Even those few critics who were lukewarm about the play as a whole appreciated the distinctive, powerful language. Critics also appreciated the savage, scalding comedy of the play.

The influences of playwrights Samuel Beckett and Harold Pinter on Mamet has been pointed out by numerous critics, and Mamet has said that he has also been influenced by Lanford Wilson, Eugene Ionesco, Bertolt Brecht, and Anton Chekhov. He has also acknowledged the influence of Thorstein Veblen’s Theory of the Leisure Class. A strong nonliterary influence has been his study of the Stanislavsky system (named for the famed director of the Moscow Art Theatre, Konstantin Stanislavsky) of actor training as interpreted and taught by Sanford Meisner and Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.


Act 1

Glengarry Glen Ross has a daring structure with two very different forms for the two acts. Act One is broken up into three scenes, each set in a different booth in a Chinese restaurant in Chicago; while not clearly stated, all of the action may be occurring simultaneously. Through these scenes we come to know the jargon of the real estate sales world: “lead” is a sales prospect; the “board” is a chart of sales closings; “sit” is a face-to-face meeting with a prospect; “closing” is getting the customer’s signature on a contract and a check. We also learn, bit by bit, that there is a sales contest on and that the winner of the first prize will receive a Cadillac, second prize a set of steak knives—all the rest of the salesmen will be fired.

In the first scene, Shelly Levene, once a top salesman but now, in his fifties, down on his luck, is begging Williamson, the real estate office manager, for “A-list” leads. Levene has not closed a sale in months—but he is convinced that one good lead will restore his confidence and put him back on track. As the salesman becomes more desperate, Williams offers to sell him the leads for $50 each—and a percentage of any commissions Levene might earn. Levene agrees to the offer but doesn’t have the cash.

In the second scene, David Moss and the hopeless George Aaranow, both men in their fifties, commiserate about the difficulties of closing a sale, especially without the good leads—and the good leads go only to those who close sales. Moss suggests that if they could steal the leads from their office a competitor would be willing to buy them. When Aaranow asks if Moss is suggesting a burglary, Moss acts as if the thought had never occurred to him. However, he eventually not only suggests a burglary but insists that Aaranow must carry it out and that Aaranow is already involved as an “accessory” before the fact “because you listened.”

In the third scene, Richard Roma, the office’s star salesman, is talking with a man named Jim Lingk. Roma delivers a virtual monologue that seems to be about sex, loneliness, and the vagaries and insecurities of life. His tone is intimate and conversational, indicating that Lingk is an old friend of his. At the end, however, his tone changes and it is revealed that he has been lulling Lingk into a sales pitch with his casual demeanor.

Act II

Act II plays out the forces set in motion in the previous act with a more conventional structure. It is also much more comic than the first act. The act opens in the ransacked real estate office the next morning. A police detective, Baylen, is there to investigate the burglary and one by one the salesmen are called into Williamson’s office to talk to the detective. Roma arrives and demands to know if his contract for the sale of land to Lingkthe previous night had been filed or stolen. Williamson waffles but eventually says that it was filed before the burglary. The sale will put Roma “over the top” and win him the Cadillac. Aaranow is nervous about being questioned and Roma advises, “tell the truth, George. Always tell the truth. It’s the easiest thing to remember.” Levene enters and says he has just sold eight parcels (properties). As he is discussing the closing, Moss comes out of the office highly insulted by Baylen’s accusatory treatment. The tension leads to savage, and very funny, confrontations with Roma and Levene. After Moss stalks out, Levene continues crowing about his success with Roma flattering and egging him on. Williamson comes in and Levene boasts about his sale. He attacks the office manager, telling him he has no “balls” and belittling him for having never been out on a sit. Roma spots Lingk coming into the building and smells trouble. He and Levene quickly go into an improvised scene with Levene playing a rich investor. Lingk is there because his wife insisted he cancel the contract. Roma stalls him saying that he has to get Levene to the airport. He further states that he has a prior obligation and that he will talk to Lingk on the following Monday. Lingk says that he has to cancel before that—his wife has called the Attorney General’s office and the contract cannot go into effect for three business days after the check has been cashed. Roma claims that the check hasn’t been cashed and that it won’t be cashed until after he has talked to Lingk the following Monday. Aaranow bursts into the middle of this scene complaining about how he was treated by Baylen. Williamson, trying to be helpful, tells Lingk that his check has already been cashed. Lingk leaves after apologizing profoundly to Roma for having to back out of the deal. Roma screams at Williamson for ruining his deal. Seething, he goes into the office for his interrogation with the detective. Levene picks up where Roma left off, attacking Williamson for scuttling his friend’s sale. In his anger, Levene lets slip that he knew the contract had not in fact gone to the bank. Williamson realizes that the only way Levene could have known this information was if he had been in the office the night before, which he states. Williamson now knows that it was Levene who broke into the office and stole the leads. Adding insult to the broken salesman’s injury, he also points out that Levene’s sale was worthless—the people he closed were well-known eccentrics who had no money. When Roma comes back, Williamson enters his office to talk with Baylen. Roma says he wants to form a partnership with Levene. When Levene goes in to talk with Baylen, Roma tells Williamson that his “partnership” with Levene means that Roma gets all of his own commission and half of Levene’s. The play ends with Aaranow saying that he hates his job and Roma leaving for the Chinese restaurant to hunt for more prospects.


Shelly Levenevariant: The Machine: Shelly Levene is a man in his fifties, formerly a hot salesman and now down on his luck. He needs a sale to survive. In Act I, scene 1, Levene pleads with his office manager, Williamson, for good leads and agrees to bribe him but doesn’t have the necessary cash. Levene is so strapped for cash that he even has to worry about having enough to buy gas. He is the only character about whom we learn anything of his outside life: he lives in a resident hotel, he has a daughter, and the daughter is apparently dependent on him and perhaps is even in a hospital. When we see him in Act II, he enters the ransacked office crowing about having just closed a sale for eight parcels. He tells a detailed story of how he forced the buyers, two old people with little money, to close. In his new-found glory, he also berates Williamson for not being a man, for not knowing how to sell. In his excitement, he lets slip the fact that he knew that Williamson had not turned in Roma’s contract for the Lingk sale the night before and Williamson perceives that Levene could know that only if he had been in the office. He knows that Levene did the burglary and, in spite of pleading by Levene, turns him in to the police.

John Williamson : John Williamson, a man in his early forties, is the office manager and is in charge of giving the “leads” to the salesmen. This gives him great power. He gives the best leads to those who have the best sales records, and the only way to sell is to have the best leads. In Act I he agrees to give top leads to Levene if Levene pays him fifty dollars per lead and twenty percent of his commissions. In Act II, Williamson is with the police detective, Baylen, questioning the salesmen. Williamson does intrude into the scene being played out by Roma and Levene in an attempt to keep Lingk from cancelling his contract and, in his ignorance, manages to spoil the deal. Both Roma and Levene attack him verbally and Levene lets slip the clue that allows Williamson to expose Levene as the burglar.

Dave Moss : Dave Moss is a bitter man in his fifties who sets up a deal to sell the stolen leads to a competing firm headed by Jerry Graff. In Act I, scene 2, he seems to have trapped George Aaranow, a fellow salesman, into doing the actual burglary. In Act II we see an outraged Moss after he has been interrogated by the police. He says that no one should be treated that way and decides to leave for the day. Later, in an attempt to save himself, Levene tells Williamson that it was Moss who set up the burglary.

George Aaranow : George Aaranow is a fairly stupid salesman in his fifties who seems to be sucked into Moss’s scheme to steal the leads and sell them to a competitor. In Act II, Aaranow displays the only loyalty shown in the play: he keeps his mouth shut about Moss.

Richard Roma : Richard Roma, in his early forties, is the “star” salesman of the office. In Act I, scene 3, he seems to be talking to a friend but it turns out that he is merely softening up a stranger, Jim Lingk, for a sales pitch. In Act II we learn that he did close the deal, but sees the deal fall through due to the ignorant intrusion of Williamson. Near the end of the play Roma seems to want to team up with Levene, but we find that even that apparent show of unity is just another scam.

James Lingk : James Lingk is a customer to whom Roma sells a parcel of land. Lingk’s wife sends him back to cancel the deal, thus leading to an impromptu improvisational scene between Roma and Levene and a blown deal because of Williamson’s intrusion. Even after he knows that Roma lied to him, Lingk apologizes for breaking the deal.

Baylen :Baylen is a police detective in his early forties. He is in the ransacked office in Act II to investigate the burglary and, although we never see him in direct questioning, he is rough enough to outrage even the tough salesmen.

Source Citation

“Overview: Glengarry Glen Ross.” Drama for Students.Ed. David M. Galens and Lynn M. Spampinato.Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 1998. Literature Resource Center.Web. 23 Dec. 2011.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1430000732





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