'Shame is overwhelming in the tragic experience'



Shame is a part of the tragic experience, but it is not present all of the time. In the work of Keats, shame is not as strongly present as it is in Miller's Death of a Salesman. In this essay, shame refers to a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behaviour.

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Paragraph 1

  • shame led to willy's death
  • biff didn't become what willy wanted him to
  • 'he thinks i'm nothing'
  • he is ashmaed of himself as he has not made his father proud 
  • 'the woman has suffered'
  • willy is ashamed of himself for treating biff and linda the way he did 
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Paragraph 2

  • willy feels no shame at some points
  • he is in denial about biff's lack of motivation in life
  • 'what are you trying to do, blame it on me?'
  • he becomes very defensive 
  • 'if a boy lays down, is that my fault?'
  • could be argued that he gets so defensive because he is ashamed of himself for the way he treats biff 
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Paragraph 3

  • Keats - Lamia
  • love is at the heart of the tragic experience instead
  • 'lycius, gentle lycius' - lamia loves lycius 
  • lamia does not appear ashamed to express her feelings for lycius
  • love is important to everyone 
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Paragraph 4

  • Keats - La Belle Dame 
  • no sense of shame 
  • she shows no shame at entrancing all the men, even though they are in pain and withering 
  • 'pale warriors, death pale were they all'
  • 'broken'
  • she leaves already broken men, even more broken 
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To conclude, shame is at the centre of the tragic experience in Death of a Salesman, but it is not as strongly present in Keats' work. Keats' characters appear to never feel shame and the main themes of his work tend to be focused on love and heartbreak.

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