Asher Miller was one of the greatest playwrights and essayists of the 20th century. He won numerous awards for his writing including the Tony Award for best play and Pulitzer Prize for drama. He lived a long fruitful life and provided a total of seven decades In playwright. Earlier Life and Potential Influence to His Writing: Arthur was born In October 1 7th, 1915. He was the second of three children of Solder and Augusta Miller. HIS father was a well-known man In the community and they were well off. Urethra’s father owned a women’s clothing manufacturing business called “S. Miller & Sons” 1 and his mother was a school teacher.
However, due to the Wall Street crash of 1929, the family lost their wealth and had to move to Gravesend, Brooklyn. Later in the teen years, Arthur had to pick up a part-time Job to save up for college and they lived a middle class life struggling with money. He did poorly in high school because he was more focused on athletics. After he graduated he went to college and later dropped out of NY City College because he was not able to keep up with both work and school. To sum it all up, “Living through young adulthood during he Great Depression, Miller was shaped by the poverty that surrounded him.
The Depression demonstrated to the playwright the fragility and vulnerability of human existence In the modern era. ” 2 Professor Eric Rabble at the university of Mulligan said, “It Is no surprise then that many of his plays deal with Individuals rendered helpless in the face of uncontrollable social forces and the impact that this sense of helplessness has on the individual and the relationships that surround him. ” 3 After a few years, he applied to the University of Michigan and was apparently denied admission two times before acceptance because of his poor grades in high school.
Once he was accepted, he majored in Journalism and became the editor for Michigan Daily. 4 Becoming a Playwright: Miller’s writing flourished in college. He gained confidence In playwright when he won the Hoped Award for a play he wrote in 6 days called the “No Villain”. He then switched his major to English and this Is when he realized he had the talent to become a professional playwright-5 Luckily, Miller had the opportunity to meet one of the most Influential playwright Instructors name Kenneth Thorpe Rowe, who apparently has taught many other professional playwrights.
Rowe motivated and instructed Miller the fundamentals of playwright. He also helped Miller connect to Broadway later in his career by using his connections. 6 With the help of Rowe he rewrote “No Villain” and revised the play into another title called “They Too Arise” and won another Hoped Award for the play. 7 Miller struggled financially throughout college and was a night editor, earning a very small salary. 8 “In 1 936, as a student at the University of Michigan, the National Youth Administration paid me $1 5 a month o feed a couple of thousand mice in a cancer research laboratory,” Miller recalled. L walked two miles to get to the genetics lab. I washed dishes for my meals, but without that ANY money, I couldn’t have paid my room rent and would no doubt have had to leave school. Jobs In those times were next to Impossible to find. ” 9 1 strongly believe that these kinds of hardships In his college life and the terrible economy near future. In 1938, Miller graduated from the University of Michigan with a BAA in English. Miller struggled financially throughout college and wrote some radio scripts ND a few short stories for income after graduating. 0 He briefly worked for Federal Theater Project but it was closed by the US Congress due to “presumed communist influence”. Al In August 1940, Miller married his college sweetheart, Mary Grace Clattery. 12 Mary supported Miller with his writing by being the editor and also provided income working as a waitress. They had two children together named Jane and Robert. Playwright Career: After losing his Job and, at one point, even collecting federal assistance, he found many different work including being a ship fitter’s helper at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
He kept up with his writing by writing many radio plays and scripts after work. 13 It was not until 1944 that Miller went to Broadway with his play called “The Man Who Had All the Luck”. Unfortunately, the play was closed after a total of six performances, two of which were previews. The play received negative reviews from critics and it nearly ended his playwright career. However, being the man of the family and having the obligation to support the family, he went on writing two books titled Situation Normal (1944) and Focus (1945). 14 Then in 1946 Miller released a new play called “All
My Sons”. This play earned Miller major credits for being one of the best playwrights at the time. This play was a major success in Broadway. It ran 328 performances and also earned Miller two Tony awards for Best Author and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award. 15, 16 This play was rated one of the best ten plays of 1947. 17 With the income from this play, he built a small studio in Connecticut. It was here where he created one of the best plays of all time, “Death of the Salesman” (1948). 18 This is by far the most recognized play for Miller. He won numerous Tony Awards including the
Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama. There have been numerous revivals of “Death of the Salesman” and have been played in theater over thousands of times. There have even been film and television adaptations of this play. Some critics stated that “Death of a Salesman” was the first great American tragedy written. Following this success, Miller expressed his political beliefs with the play called “The Crucible” (1953). It seems that he is comparing the Salem Witch Trials in this play with the ongoing sass and sass “anti-communist Red Scare and the congressional hearings of Seen.
Joseph McCarthy going on in the United States at the time”. 19 “In reading this play, one can pick up on three important themes. The first is how people use escape goats to gain in their personal lives, and secondly, how one deals with their own personal set of morals, when placed against an entire groups. Lastly, The Crucible deals with the idea of how people in power will sacrifice what is truly right for the protection of their own power, or face”. 20 In June 1956, he divorced his first wife and married again with a well-known actress named Marilyn Monroe a few weeks later.
They only lasted 4 years and Miller got married for the third time with Engine Mortar in 1962 and had two children together. 21 Miller’s Influences and Style: Arthur Miller was heavily influenced by United States sociology of his time and had a deep insight with human behavior facing tragedy. Miller’s writing style is known for his honesty and true nature of man. His famous works like “Death of the Salesman” emphasize a difficult conflict within one family and address the larger issues his relationship with his uncle named Many Newman, who was also a salesman.
His uncle practically had the personality and idea of Wily in “Death of the Salesman”. Miller wrote short stories in the earlier days about a failure of an unsuccessful salesman. He later on transformed this story into one of the greatest masterpieces of all time. 22 Miller said he was inspired by the Greeks, particularly Sophocles. “l think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing-his sense of personal dignity,” Miller writes. From Rooster to Hamlet, Made to Macbeth, the underlying trudge is that of the individual attempting to gain his ‘rightful’ position in his society. ” Miller considers the common man “as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were. “23 Miller wrote many different kinds of plays and scripts in his career. However, two of his most famous works like “Death of the Salesman” and “All My Sons” are known for being the best tragedy plays known to date. His protagonists in these two plays were both hard-working American men with their family, going through a struggle or conflict and involve a lie with a big truth moment.
In “Death of he Salesman”, Wily wanted to believe that he was a “successful” salesman and that his sons were going to successful Just like him, achieving the American dream. He had all his hope on his older son Biff, who was popular and athletic. Wily believed that Biff had all the ingredients needed to be successful and wanted to believe that Biff would be successful. However, Biff confronts Wily about what is reality and why Wily needs to stop lying to believe that Biff is something special when he was Just ordinary. Similarly, in “All My Sons”, Joe lies to his own sons about a crime he omitted which killed 21 American pilots.
Apparently, Joe who was a businessman purchased and sold faulty machine parts to the air force to get out of a tight financial situation and to top it all off, blamed his partner for the wrongdoing when he was the one that did it. However, this action later haunts him and his family. His son Larry went missing in World War II and for three years his fiance named Ann had been waiting for him. Apparently, his other son Chris falls in love with Ann and wanted to marry her. Joey’s wife Kate did not want to accept that Larry was dead and knew that he secret would be revealed if they got married.
Ann gave Chris Larry suicide note confirming that Larry was absolutely dead because he killed himself knowing his father had killed 21 American pilots because of his selfish action. Chris read this out to the whole family. 24 Interestingly enough, both of these plays ended with the protagonist committing suicide. Wily ended his life to provide insurance money to Biff to start his own business and Joe shot himself in head not wanting to face the judgment from his dead son, who killed himself because of his father and other son ho was ready to throw him in prison. 5 Both of these plays questioned morality and ethics. How far will a man go to save his family? Will he kill a man and keep his family hidden from the dirty truth? Or would he even kill himself to provide his son an income to start a business? It questions human instincts and how low a man would go to protect their own family. “The closer a man approaches tragedy the more intense is his concentration of emotion upon the fixed point of his commitment, which is to say the closer he approaches what in life we call fanaticism. “26