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Miller is no ideologue, no thinker, but he has written some good things. Apart from Death of a Salesman, about which I have mixed feelings, I think Achievement arthur essay miller new best play is A View from the Bridge, a simple but trenchant dramatic poem.
The Crucible, too, is a fine work, once we disregard the analogies with McCarthyism, an entirely different phenomenon from the Salem witch trials, analogies that are not really in the text which I have recently read, but in the mind of the audience that first saw it produced.
Now Incident at Vichy has been much criticized by reviewers, though for reasons that seem to me somewhat external. Its actual ideas have not been examined in detail but mostly sneered at for not being deep enough.
The trouble with these ideas, however, is precisely their apparent depth—depth without content. If you beat the same breast often enough, it wears thin; and the public washing of dirty family laundry has lost its mystic appeal in an era in which entire families, guilt and all, have been promenading mother-naked across the stage.
Worst of all, Miller is looking backward even technically and ideologically: John Simon, in Hudson Review, Summer,p. Miller set out to expose conscience—to show its signal failures and occasional successes, the latter highlighting the former. The dramatic result is pathos; but it is pathos which, unlike that of Chekhov, for instance, has spoiled itself by hoping to be tragedy.
It is not even that image of Brooklyn where trees give way to concrete. Rather, it is the way all these serve to provide the actor with grist for his mill….
The plays will survive, I think, as a challenge to a certain kind of acting, as the achievement of a man of the theater, and not as literary works or expressions of social ideas. It is easy to pity and even love Willy, who is our father, brother, cousin, friend.
Willy is not frugal of words, but he has so few of them that he keeps repeating his small stock…. Death of A Salesman triumphs because Willy falls short of us, but within touching distance…. After the Fall, written after an eight-year silence, must have been written at some personal cost to Miller, but perhaps that very cost hindered effective use of his main dramatic skill—to evoke pity through poignant scenes centering on a protagonist-victim who expresses himself in rhythmed colloquialisms….
In his next play, Incident at VichyMiller was back in business …: Like the homespun heroics of The Crucible, the many arguments of Incident at Vichy seek to explore moral depths. But Miller lacks the verbal instruments. The two plays may arouse pity through the final frisson, but they cannot bear the pitiless eye of criticism.
After such heroics—noble suicides articulating abstractions of nobility—Miller wrote his least ambitious play of a protagonist-victim, The Price ….
This technique makes large demands on dialogue…. For all these misfortunes, Miller seeks our pity, and pity is what he evokes when most adept. Though Miller is said to specialize in the inarticulate, all his victims are articulate; they talk.
Often, however, Miller tries to convert his low man into Everyman, or—worse—into the Tragic Hero. Then Miller is betrayed by his weakness for sonorous abstraction or incongruous image.
He finds it hard to accept that he is most true when most trivial. His victims are most moving when they are least exemplary.
It is meaningless to speak of "real" language on stage, since all language is real.Selected Secondary Bibliography of Miller’s Works.
Abbotson, Susan C. W. Critical Companion to Arthur Miller.. New York: Facts on File, —. Student Companion to Arthur Miller.. Westport, CT.: Greenwood Press, Arthur Miller. Born: October 17, New York, New York American dramatist, novelist, and screenwriter.
Best known for his play Death of a Salesman, American playwright, novelist, and screenwriter Arthur Miller is considered one of the major dramatists of twentieth-century American theater..
Early years. Arthur Miller was born on October 17, , in New York City, the second of . Arthur Miller () was born in New York City and studied at the University of Michigan.
Essay collections published in his lifetime include The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Lifetime Achievement Award and the . Robert J. Willis, “Arthur Miller’s The Crucible: Relevant for All Time.” Participants also attended a performance of The American Clock by the Actors Company of Pennsylvania A number of the conference’s papers were collected and published by Steve Centola in The Achievement of Arthur Miller: New Essays (Contemporary Research Press, ).
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