Many times people from older generations will say that teenagers believe they are invincible; they think nothing can hurt them, and that is why they take many risks. They hear about their peers dying from driving drunk, or being in severe accidents, that aren’t really accidents, because the cause was the conscious decision to text and drive, but it does nothing because the “Oh, that won’t happen to me.” mentality is present.
If you ask me, more than just the “youngsters” have that mentality. No one wants to believe that misfortune can happen to them, and they tend to ignore the unfortunate events going on around them because it allows them to live peacefully in their own worlds. Arthur Miller is here to let us know that that specific mentality is garbage, and anything can happen to anyone; misery loves company.
In his article “Tragedy and the Common Man,” Miller states, “I believe that the common man is as apt a subject in its highest sense as kings were.” Bad things happen. To good people, to bad people, to mediocre people: they are unavoidable. This quote shows how tragedy is not picky, and it will take any victim it can get its hands on.
A typical story thought of when contemplating tragedy shows a hero of some sort. Someone like Oedipus. Tragedy does not usually affect the common man in stories, but that is the whole purpose of Arthur’s essay. These heroes are thought to be flawless, when in fact they all have a hamartia. This is precisely what Miller explains is needed for a good tragedy though. He says, “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 rightful status.” The explanation is we as humans tend to run from what scares us, and pity ourselves instead of standing up for what we believe in and fighting for what we believe to be right. Heroes and characters we view as above us tend to do the latter, which explains why we admire them so much.