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Texas Technical University. PhD Welch, Douglas Murray. University of British Columbia, pp. MA Bergeron, Jill Stapleton. Arthur Miller: Theatre of Moral Quest. MA Bodycomb, Linda. University of Pennsylvania, pp. PhD French women in plays and short stories Fletcher, Anne. Tufts University. Innsbruck University, Austria, pp. University of Delaware. Converse College, pp. BA Honors Stummer, Andrea. MA Babcock, Granger. University of Nevada, Las Vegas. PhD Situation Normal. Francis College, pp. BA Fallows, Randall Jonathan. University of California, San Diego.

California State University, San Bernardino, pp. MA Lavezza, Stephen Joseph. MA Murphy, Karen Culbreth. MA Rosefeldt, Paul Nagim. The Absent Father in Modern Drama. PhD Townsend, Patricia D. West Chester University, pp. And by God, I was rich! Miller's dramaturgical innovations were limited, for the most part, to physical stagecraft.

Death of a Salesman employs a permeable set that allows characters like Ben to walk in out of the past, and makes possible the rapid fades in Willy's memory to happy scenes with his boys. In After the Fall the past traps and accuses the Protagonist, rather than setting him free in reverie, but the staging principle was similar: an abstract set with hidden entrance holes or, in the National Theatre production, a spiral ramp allowing actors to assume positions in the dark before being picked out in light as they come to mind.

Beyond that, Miller's drama could not be called experimental. If his plays sound and feel different from those of Eugene O'Neill and Tennessee Williams, that is because he followed another line of American expressionism running through Elmer Rice and Clifford Odets. Vernacular dialogue continues across the gap between interior and exterior event, the two arenas being rendered as near simultaneously as possible on the stage.

This is just what Miller accomplished so movingly in Death of a Salesman and All My Sons , which start out in apparent American normality, then gradually subvert it. But the assumption on which Rockwell's scenes were produced and received, that if everything is alright with the family it will be alright with the world, were undermined in Miller. Boys grow up, and begin to look at their father more critically. To protect the family unit, provide for its future, may mean to forestall bankruptcy by letting go a shipment of cracked engine blocks that will kill a lot of other father's sons in turn.

But to prepare for the shock, you have first to establish the normality. Miller's greatest gift was his sharp ear for the dislocations of ordinary American speech. For Miller, the confidence that he could write a play usually started not with a sense of its over-arching plot or the ideas it would illustrate, but with hearing how its characters would speak.

If he couldn't hear it, he went in search of it, as when he went to Salem to study the records of the witch trials, with the result that his Puritans in The Crucible , unlike Hawthorne's in The Scarlet Letter , sound like the real thing. Even after rehearsals had started, he was not happy with a play until as he put it in Timebends "we had found its voice". After someone has left her with an unwanted dog, she comments, "Well, he probably figured I would like a dog. Whereas I would if I had a way to keep it, but I don't even have a refrigerator. And such a hard worker. Willy moves to the contrary opinion via a shift in register from his common speech to the borrowed lingo of American boosterism.

It is a perfect paradigm of the play's action and Miller's method. The meaning grows out of the dialogue. In his introduction to the first volume of his Collected Plays , Miller told a self-depreciating joke about the reception of Death of a Salesman : "Probably the most succinct reaction to the play was voiced by a man who, on leaving the theatre, said, 'I always said that New England territory was no damned good. In fact the response to Death of a Salesman was overwhelming, and it made Miller famous. Audiences were stunned; some people wept and forgot to applaud.

Ward Morehouse in the New York Sun called it "a triumph in writing, in acting and in stagecraft". The effect was felt in Miller's personal life too. His first marriage, to Mary Slattery, began to break up. In he married Marilyn Monroe. Partly this was his easterner's shock at its bizarre confusion of cultural codes. Partly it was the New York dramatist's sense of competitiveness, the attitude that prompted theatrical people to say that Odets had "sold out" when he went west to write dialogue for the movies.

And the experience of making The Misfits finally released in with his marriage to Monroe already foundering, was far from happy. Here he discovered that it was not just politicians and pressure groups who could interfere with the author's text, but actors and producers as well. But he also learned that film-makers had a craft of their own, very different from his.

SparkNotes: The Crucible: Themes

In America, movies reach people in their millions, while stage plays can count on audiences of thousands at most, and those mainly around metropolitan New York. That is why the unions and the FBI began to interfere with Miller's work only when he began to write for Hollywood. That's also why the HUAC took such an interest in him only after his literary fame had been established and he had begun to court Monroe. The committee thrived on publicity. According to Miller, the chairman of the HUAC was prepared to cancel the hearing provided he could be photographed shaking hands with Monroe. Miller's attempts to represent his relationship with Monroe prompted some of his best and worst writing.

Timebends is exciting about the power of their early love, honest and harrowing about their break-up, but it keeps coming adrift in phrases like, "I knew I must flee or walk into a doom beyond all knowing. The critics took the play seriously, but complained of bad taste, as though Miller had planned it as her epitaph and his own exoneration.

From then until the late s his reception in New York could be described, at best, as "mixed". One reviewer thought Incident at Vichy lacked "dramatic flair". Time called The Price a "museum piece". Instead of languishing, Miller reinvented himself, in his life as in his writing.

He was married again, very happily, to the Austrian-born photographer Inge Morath, and after her death in began a new relationship the painter Agnes Barley, 55 years his junior. Women are livelier than men and more interested in people. Men get abstract with their ideas. The Archbishop's Ceiling , based on meetings with Vaclav Havel, Pavel Kohout and others in Prague, was a serious inquiry into the ethics of using other peoples' political predicaments as a basis for one's own imaginative constructs, and also since the dissident writers on stage talk in a large room that may be bugged , a subtle study of how public speech gestures can infiltrate the most private conversations.

The American Clock was a brilliant, free-form mosaic of the Depression. So the older Miller grew, the more inventive his plays became. For this, as for the revival of interest in his work, Britain can take some of the credit. Miller came to prefer working in and for the British theatrical environment. He liked British critics: there were so many of them, all proclaiming their prejudices, whereas in New York a few powerful pundits pretended to be upholding universal values.

British audiences were more plentiful and socially varied than New York's. The seats were cheaper; so were production costs. The American Clock at the National Theatre had a live jazz band and a real crowd onstage "already half a million dollars in costs on Broadway," as he commented ruefully. With his characteristic generosity, and liveliness of curiosity, Miller repaid the favour to his British supporters, taking to crossing the Atlantic to help with productions of his plays. On his trips to Britain he often took the time to help with productions, visit schools, and generally to make his gracious candour available to an admiring public.

Then, after long languishing, Miller's popularity began to revive in the States. Morgan opened in a New England drama festival in , then moved to Broadway for limited sold-out run at the Public Theatre in In the last seasons of the century Death of a Salesman , A View from the Bridge and The Price were all put on again, winning Tony awards for best revivals and best actors.

Broken Glass was Miller's first-ever treatment on stage of an explicitly Jewish theme, although his early novel Focus had powerfully evoked the sense of what it felt like to be the target of a frenzied wave of anti-Semitism. It is Sylvia Gellburg has suddenly become paralysed from the waist down. Expert opinion, such as it is, takes the illness to be hysterical. She reads about the broken glass of Jewish shops all over the German streets.

Her husband Phillip begs her not to "get involved" with all that; after all, it's happening 3, miles away. He is a property appraiser, buttoned up in a black suit, proud to be the only Jew in an old, established Wasp firm. As his wife's emotional condition worsens and the plight of the German Jews becomes less and less ignorable, so also are Phillip's illusions about his job and his marriage stripped away, layer by layer.

If elsewhere in Miller's drama the public theme grows out of the private, here the outside world pierces the inside from the start, like a piece of broken glass. The Kristallnacht is also the glass broken at the moment of a Jewish wedding. As Vincent Canby wrote in his New York Times review, the play has "a poignance so rare these days that it's almost new-fashioned".

The play is retrospective in structure, almost as though written as an afterthought. Perhaps the kindest description of the piece would be relaxed and loose-jointed. It is certainly funny in parts. In his Resurrection Blues , a satire on how the media would cope with the Second Coming of Christ, opened in Minneapolis; critics called it "bitter" but audiences liked it.

Last year came Finishing the Picture , clearly based on his experiences on the set of The Misfits , and with echoes of After the Fall. Kitty, the mentally unstable star of a film five weeks behind schedule, and married to a screenwriter, has "ghosts sitting on her chest", says one character. It wasn't until after Morath's death that he returned to the play. Arthur Miller dramatised the American century. You can find our Community Guidelines in full here.

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