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Arthur Miller Essay

1217 words - 5 pages

“Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You'll never get out of the jungle that way." This was a quote from the prominent American playwright Arthur Miller (1915-2005). This quote summed up Millers approach towards life and how others should live. Arthur Miller, by mirroring the issues of their time in a new light through his plays, sought to better America as he tackled economic, social, and political issues of his time in a way that his vast audiences would understand. Arthur Miller could be considered one of the most radical thinkers of the twentieth century through his bold messages. Miller, who was effected by many important struggles and successes in America during his lifespan exposed the flaws in the pursuit of the American dream and more specifically how society’s evil nature would lead to the corruption of the average American and lead to an unjust America.

One of the significant early struggles that shaped Miller was the Great Depression. During this time his father lost his small manufacturing business. This event created much doubt in a young Arthur Miller leading him to question his existence, security, and religion. This was his beginning of turns toward the “left”, politically. Around the early 1900s the arts, theater more specifically, was the most avant-garde way for left wing individuals to express their views. During his time at the University of Michigan where he studied journalism he entered the Hopwood Drama competition with his play No Villain and received an award. It was said that “he had never studied plays or playwriting, and he … [wrote] his script in just five days!” He won his first monetary amount $1,250 in the form of a scholarship. This was a large feat for a young playwright and built in him a passion for playwriting.

After his graduation he continued to write plays. Around the time Miller was graduating from the University of Michigan the conflict that would lead to World War II was building in Europe. During World War II worked for the Federal Theater Project writing radio plays in New York City. Soon after the government cut necessary funding for the Depression-era programs after critics rush Miller for his political tendencies leaning towards those of a leftist. Arthur Miller was left unemployed. At this time Miller is having problems finding a producer who takes interest in his plays. Around this time Miller married his first wife, Mary Slattery, in 1940. She had been his college girlfriend at the University of Michigan. Slattery soon became the bread winner. She supported the both of them with her wages as a waitress and an editor. Miller found work in Brooklyn Navy Yard as a handyman. All the while working on what would become his first big success.

In 1947 Miller experienced his first instant hit with his play All My Sons. This play was based on a true story, it was basically about a man who provided deficient airplane parts to the military and cost the lives of 21 airmen. With this play Miller...

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