Arthur Miller: Tragedist. Humanist. Social dramatist. Marxist. Humanist.

Length: 7 Pages 1823 Words

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 – 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 Continue...


Miller was concerned with the increasing tone of post-war paranoia and general intolerance and separationism he saw in the United States. His work and personal affiliations came to the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and he was denied a passport to see a European production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN. Based on the Salem Witch trials, THE CRUCIBLE has long been considered to be an allegory for the prevailing mood of the McCarthy Era hearings and "commie" hysteria. Critically acclaimed at its premier, DEATH OF A SALESMAN received the Pulitzer Prize and The New York Drama Critics' Circle award. The University of East Anglia in Britain named its centre for American Studies the Arthur Miller Centre. In 2002 revivals of THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK and THE CRUCIBLE were staged. His first play THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK premiered in 1944. This time, Arthur Miller was able to attend his play. In 1978, the Belgian National Theatre did a 25th anniversary production of THE CRUCIBLE, the same production he was unable to attend because he had been denied a passport. Although unsuccessful, this play had all the trappings of the themes that Miller would continue to work through in his later life. During this time Miller married a Catholic woman, Mary Slattery, and had two daughters. His unique style with dialogue and his masterful use of symbolic devices require the playgoer to be more than a passive attendant to his plays.