Arthur Miller Essay

1187 words - 5 pages

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller, in his plays, deals with the injustice of society's moral values and the characters who are vulnerable to its cruelty. A good majority of these plays were very successful and earned numerous awards. According to Brooks Atkinson, a critic for the New York Times, Miller's play Death of a Salesman was successful because the play "is so simple in style and so inevitable in theme that it scarcely seems like a thing that has been written and acted. For Mr. Miller has looked with compassion into the hearts of some ordinary Americans and quietly transferred their hopes and anguish to the theater" (Babusci 1261). This play, in 1949, received the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, the Antoinette Perry Award, the Donaldson Award, and the Theater Club Award (A Brief Chronology of Arthur Miller's Life and Works, http://www.ibiblio.org/...). Miller has said that he could not have written The Crucible at any other time for it is said that a play cannot be successful unless it speaks to its own time; hence McCarthyism was widespread when this play was written. Everyone was afraid of Communists, just like everyone was afraid of witches during The Crucible. This play won the Antoinette Perry Award and the Donaldson Award (Bloom, Modern Critical Interpretations: Arthur Miller's The Crucible 55). His play All My Sons was concerned with a man, Joe Keller, selling defective cylinder heads to the Air Force during World War II, causing the death of twenty-one pilots, one of whom was his elder son. The play focuses around this act and the consequences that arise from it. The play won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. All of Miller's plays focus on one central idea, this idea being that members of our society are often victimized by people with a false sense of morals.

In the play Death of a Salesman Willy Loman is unjustly fired from work when he asks his boss, the young Howard for a job in the city; he is tired of selling on the road because for one, he’s been doing it for thirty-four years and he is no longer producing, and two, he wants to be close to his family. He "is one of society's victims, one of those "who landed in the ash can." As Miller explains it, society chews up Willy because he has broken "the law which says a failure in society and in business has no right to live"" (Bloom, Modern Critical Interpretations: Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman 96). In Howard’s office Willy recalls the memory of whom he considered a great salesman, Dave Singleman. He was well liked and popular with his buyers, even to his death. Hundreds of salesman and buyers were at his funeral. Willy wanted to be just like this man, but...all the buyers he once knew are dead, and all the new age buyers care about is getting a deal over and done with. There’s no personality in it anymore. He can’t pay his insurance... "In brief glimses, Willy recognizes that he is a victim. After he is fired, he complains...

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