Arthur Miller Essay

1667 words - 7 pages

Theater Appreciation

Of the list of American playwrights the one I thought I would find most interesting is Arthur Miller. Being relatively familiar with some of his work I wanted to learn more about him. Through the research I have done I have been able to find some very interesting information about Miller's work as well as his personal life.
Arthur Miller was born in New York on October 17, 1915. His father, Isidore Miller, was a ladies-wear manufacturer and shopkeeper whose business was ruined in the Great Depression. This obviously had a huge impact on the family's financial situation which in turn had a strong influence on Miller. The family was forced to move to a small frame house in Brooklyn, which is said to have been a model for the Brooklyn home in Death of a Salesman. Throughout his childhood Arthur's time was spent playing football, baseball, and reading adventure stories. After graduating from high school in 1932, Miller began working in an automobile parts warehouse in hopes of earning enough money to attend college. It was after reading Dostoevsky's novel The Brothers Karamazov that Arthur Miller decided he wanted to become a writer. In the fall of 1934 Miller entered the University of Michigan where he began his study of journalism. During his years there he won several awards for his playwriting.
In 1938, after earning a degree in English, Miller returned to New York. There, he joined the Federal Theatre Project, and wrote scripts for such radio programs as Columbia Workshop (CBS) and Cavalcade of America (NBC). Arthur's personal life also progressed in 1940 when he married Mary Slattery with whom he later had two children. Because of a football injury, Arthur was exempt from the draft and was able to continue his work here. Though Miller would eventually become a highly acclaimed and very well known playwright, things didn't take off immediately. Miller's work eventually made it to Broadway starting with The Man Who Had all the Luck in 1944. It closed after four performances. Three years later he returned to Broadway producing All My Sons, the story of a factory owner who sells faulty aircraft parts during World War II. It won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. This being his first major award, his work would continue to receive critical acclaim for years, however there would still be ups and downs.
Arthur Miller's work varied over the next several years. In 1944 Arthur toured Army camps to collect background material for his screenplay The Story of GI Joe. Miller also wrote his first novel, Focus (1945), which was a story about anti-Semitism. In 1949 Miller's Death of a Salesman brought him international fame. This became probably one of his most well known pieces of work as well as a major achievement of modern American theatre. Death of a Salesman is a story about the quest for the American Dream. The salesman, Willy Loman, is a man of pride who is not the great success that he...

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