Arthur Miller And His Theater Of Mirrors. Reflections On The Persuasiveness Of Miller’s Multiple Portrays Of American Society.

2878 words - 12 pages

Throughout his career as playwright, Arthur Miller portrayed critically some of the so-called ideals of the American society. Within his numerous plays and short stories, his characters reflect over and over the multilayered American dream, its implications and consequences; the author unveils the ignored ties human beings have with their pasts, demonstrating with his characters that we cannot escape from it but learn from our failures and triumphs. And this is one is one of the major points in Miller’s work, as he represents the non-learning of American society in every single of his plays. It seems that Miller sacrifices his characters to build a metaphor of how American men and women keep on chasing one of the biggest illusions a society did and still does pursue. Some of them got the belief stuck in their souls and minds so they do not chase it anymore but are trapped on it. Some others are struggling to make sense of their world while being bombarded by their own families with the confusing truth that they are a failure for pursuing individual freedom instead of being part of the big machine’s mechanism.
In this essay, I comment and analyze in a brief manner the plays and short stories read and discussed in the American Society Through Drama/Literature course identifying some of the key elements that Miller criticized with his work in order to conclude at what extent the mirror-creations of Miller are persuasive in his attempt to picture and scrutinize the American society. Such elements I found are all related to the American dream, at least in some degree, and they comprise a variety of issues: from the characters’ desire of success and recognition and the failures they face in their ways, to the inner struggle with themselves and the subsequent identity crises they live with.
The first piece of work I will discuss about is The American Clock (1980). At the moment the play was published, Miller took the audience and readers fifty years back. It was in the 80’s, when American society was living in the Wolf’s ‘me-decade’, where the self-interests prevailed over any sense of social or political responsibility (Tyler, I., 2007). Here, the author presents a panoramic view of American Society during the Great Depression of the 30’s. Then, people had to face one of the most devastating catastrophes of the free-market capitalistic system, which strikes the characters of the play as well as it did with Americans from the époque. The Baum family is a wealthy one; they are living with all the commodities they could access to after WWII. They believe in the American dream, the great illusion. Nevertheless, the day the stock market crashes, when they lose a big part of their wealth, they are lost because it meant everything to them. Moe Baum and his family have to get rid of many of their commodities and services; they even have to move from their neighborhood, in order to manage with the resources they have after the collapse. In the play,...

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