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 Immigrant parents who grew up in Brooklyn. It
is important to note that, though he primarily writes tragedies, Miller's
plays do have a strain of positivity and optimism in that often times the
main character comes to a tragic end due to what they feel will be a
greater good or outcome for the characters at large.
After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1938, Arthur
Miller took his English degree and began his writing career. His first
play THE MAN WHO HAD ALL THE LUCK premiered in 1944. It was the story of a
very successful man who is nonetheless very unhappy. The play opened to
terrible reviews and closed after only four performances in New York.
Although unsuccessful, this pla...