Student Companion to Arthur Miller

Student Companion to Arthur Miller

Student Companion to Arthur Miller

Student Companion to Arthur Miller

Synopsis

This critical introduction to Arthur Miller provides an indispensable aid for students and general readers to understand the depth and complexity of some of America's most important dramatic works. Beginning with a discussion of his life, this work traces not only Miller's theatrical career, but his formulative experiences with the Great Depression, the Holocaust, and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Detailed discussions of eight important plays are organized around the social and moral themes Miller derived from such events; these themes are evident in in such works as Death of A Salesman, The Crucible, A View from the Bridge, and All My Sons. By placing Miller within the context of his times, this discussion reveals how he was influenced by and reacted to the major events in his own life and in American culture. Analysis of his more recent works such as The American Clock, Broken Glass and The Ride Down Mt. Morgan illustrate the consistency of Miller's strong moral vision, and his continuing innovative contributions to American theatre.

Excerpt

The Student Companion to Arthur Miller provides a critical introduction to the plays of one of America's major playwrights. Beginning with a discussion of his life and career, Miller is placed within the context of his times, showing how he was influenced by and reacted to his culture and major events in his own life and the life of the American nation. The second chapter places Miller's work within its literary heritage, covering the various influences Miller has undergone, and the ways in which his work has and will continue to impact American theater. The remaining chapters deal with a selection of Miller's better-known plays, organizing them around some of the major themes of his work, and what Miller sees as the most influential occurrences of the twentieth century. In this way Miller's innovative ideas regarding tragedy are applied to the discussion of Death of a Salesman, and his treatment of the family informs the discussions of All My Sons and A View from the Bridge. The American Clock is a good representation of Miller's concerns regarding the depression, while After the Fall and Broken Glass are both tied to the Holocaust, and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) trials of the 1950s lie close behind The Crucible. We finish with The Ride Down Mt. Morgan, in which we can see echoes of Miller early masterpiece, Death of a Salesman, and the threads of various concerns continuing through his work as he moves into his sixth decade as a leading American playwright.

Each chapter offers the student and general reader background that will assist in understanding and interpreting Miller's work. The biographical chapter . . .

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