In Arthur Miller's “Tragedy of the Common Man” his main point is quite simple and pretty much summed up in the title: Tragedy can befall anyone, it is not just a plight of the nobility but is just as commonly expressed in the regular lives of regular people. As laid out in Miller’s writing, many of the great tragedies written about in older literature is that of kings and great heros. Some examples of this are Hamlet, Macbeth, and Oedipus. However the tragic flaws these characters might have they share with the common man as well. This is because the basis of the tragedy is people trying to change their circumstances, trying to prove their worth, or find their way in the world, and failing.
In my search for some background on this essay I found a very interesting article about how Arthur Miller wrote this essay a short time after releasing his play “Death of A Salesman”, a play that fits into this idea that the tragic flaws of the nobility applies to the common man.
My original idea of what tragedy is was “Bad things happen to people” and I enjoyed reading this essay because it adds another dimension to my thoughts about the subject. The idea that subjects of tragedy have a potentially tragic flaw in their person, regardless of situation means that tragedy is more than chance, that there is more reasoning than just unfortunate circumstances.