Tragedist. Humanist. Social dramatist. Marxist. Humanist. All
these labels have been used to describe the man and the work of Arthur
Miller. Born in 1915 in Manhattan, Miller was a child of the Depression.
He saw his father's garment business fail, witness the financial decay of
the decade and moved from job to job in his early years before finally
finding recognition as a playwright. It is all these things that go into
the work of Arthur Miller, making him one of the foremost playwrights of
the 20th and now the 21st century.
In a review of the plays he has written, a common theme of humanism
appears. Even when the playgoer does not perceive the greater social
commentary of his plays, readers are usually able to discern in his plays a
sense of dismay at the strength and impact that capitalism has on the world
and as scalding commentary on contemporary moral values. Above all things,
Arthur Miller's plays appear to render a judgment â€“ on society, on values,
on man. It has even been said that the distaste that Miller shows
regarding man's obsession with material gain supports in someway an
existentialism which is almost Christian in its approach. Interesting
ideas for the son of Jewish
Miller wasconcerned with the increasing tone of post-war paranoia and generalintolerance and separationism he saw in the United States. His work and personal affiliations came to the attention of theHouse Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and he was denied a passportto see a European production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN. Based on the Salem Witchtrials, THE CRUCIBLE has long been considered to be an allegory for theprevailing mood of the McCarthy Era hearings and "commie" hysteria. Criticallyacclaimed at its premier, DEATH OF A SALESMAN received the Pulitzer Prizeand The New York Drama Critics' Circle award. The University of EastAnglia in Britain named its centre for American Studies the Arthur MillerCentre. In 2002 revivals of THE MAN WHOHAD ALL THE LUCK and THE CRUCIBLE were staged. His firstplay THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK premiered in 1944. This time, Arthur Miller was ableto attend his play. In 1978, the Belgian National Theatre did a 25th anniversaryproduction of THE CRUCIBLE, the same production he was unable to attendbecause he had been denied a passport. Although unsuccessful, this play had all the trappings of the themes thatMiller would continue to work through in his later life. During this time Miller marrieda Catholic woman, Mary Slattery, and had two daughters. His unique style with dialogue and his masterful use of symbolic devicesrequire the playgoer to be more than a passive attendant to his plays.