January 24, 2013

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller
A leading 20th century American playwright and screenwriter

  • Full Name: Arthur Asher Miller
  • Birth: October 17, 1915
  • Death: February 10, 2005
  • Place of Birth: Harlem, New York City, USA
  • Place of Death: Roxbury, Connecticut, USA
  • Cause of death: Heart Failure
  • Buried at: Roxbury Center Cemetery, Roxbury, Connecticut
  • Religion: Jewish
  • Father: Isidore Miller
  • Mother: Augusta Barnett
  • Siblings: One older brother:  Matthew Kermit and a younger sister:  Joan Copeland
  • Marriage: Married thrice: Mary Grace Slattery  in August 5, 1940, Marilyn Monroe in June 29, 1956, Inge Morath in February 17, 1962
  • Number of Children:  He had four children, Jane and Robert A. Miller with Slattery and Rebecca Miller and Daniel with Morath.
  • Education: BA Journalism, University of Michigan (1938)
  • Known for: his awareness of portraying social realities of life
  • Criticised for: his scandalous life story
  • Influences: Henrik Ibsen
  • Influenced: NA


I think the tragic feeling is invoked 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.
Arthur Miller, "Tragedy and the Common Man"

Major Themes:

  • American dream/ self-delusion
  • Social and economic pressure
  • Value of human life
  • Illusion versus reality
  • Vengeance
  • The mentality of working class Americans
  • Responsibility to others
  • Generation gaps: old people vs. young people
  • Vulnerability of human existence in the modern era

Notable Works:

  • Honors at Dawn (1936)
  • The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944)
  • All My Sons (1947)
  • Death of a Salesman (1949)
  • The Crucible (1953)
  • A Memory of Two Mondays (1955)
  • A View from the Bridge (1955)
  • After the Fall (1964)
  • Incident at Vichy (1965)
  • The Price (1968)
  • The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972)
  • The Archbishop's Ceiling (1977)
  • The American Clock (1981)
  • Elegy For a Lady (1982)
  • Some Kind of Love Story (1982)
  • Danger: Memory!: Two Plays (I Can't Remember Anything and Clara) (1986)
  • The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991)
  • The Last Yankee (1993)
  • Broken Glass (1994)
  • Mr. Peters' Connections (1998)
  • Resurrection Blues (2004)

Did You Know?

  • Arthur Miller’s father, Isidore Miller was a women's clothing manufacturer.
  • Isidore Miller was an illiterate Jewish immigrant from Poland.
  • Miller's family lost almost everything in the Stock Market Crash of 1929.
  • After high school graduation Miller worked a few odd jobs in order to save money for his education at University of Michigan.
  • Miller's debut Broadway play, The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944), was a great failure and closed after only four performances.
  • All My Sons (1947) became Miller's first success on Broadway and earned him his first Tony Award.
  • Miller alleged to be a life-long atheist.
  • Among Miller's most prestigious awards, are Emmy Awards, Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
  • A View from a Bridge (1955), one of Miller's best one-act plays was modified in 1956 to include two acts.
  • Arthur Miller married three times: Mary Slattery (1940-1956), Marilyn Monroe (1956-1961), and Inge Morath (1962-2002). He had two children with Slattery (Jane and Robert) and two more with Morath (Rebecca and Daniel). He did not have any children with Monroe.
  • The playwright and Monroe divorced less than two years before the famous actress died
  • In 1961, the year Miller and Monroe got divorced, Monroe starred in her last film The Misfits, which was based on the original screenplay by Miller.
  • Miller's daughter Rebecca married Academy Award winning actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
  • Miller's youngest son was born with Down Syndrome.
  • Miller decided to get married for the fourth time with the 34 year old minimalist painter Agnes Barley, but the plan failed as he died of heart failure.
  • Miller is buried with his wife Inge in Roxbury Center Cemetery, Roxbury, Connecticut.  Their grave is marked by an irregular granite upright marker and they each have flat granite foot markers.
  • Death of a Salesman was his first critically accepted play. It was opened on Broadway in 1949. The Play brought him three praiseworthy awards such as, the Pulitzer Prize, the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award and a Tony Award.
  • Miller’s play The Crucible (1953), although concerned with the Salem witchcraft trials, was actually an allegory of contemporary witch hunt plotted by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950s to blacklist the alleged communists from the government and other areas of American life.
  • Three years after The Crucible, in 1956, he was convicted of contempt of court for not revealing the names of Communist Party members before McCarthy's committee (House of Representatives' Committee on Un-American Activities).
  • Miller wrote the screenplay for the production of a film version of The Crucible (1996).
  • The film version of The Crucible was not as well received as was the play.
  • His last play of note was The Price (1968), a piece about family dynamics.

“Arthur Miller.” Microsoft Encarta. DVD-ROM. Redmond: Microsoft, 2005.

“Arthur Miller Biography.” Bio. True Story. 1996–2013. A+E Television Networks, LLC.
25 November 2012
< http://www.biography.com/people/arthur-miller-9408335>.

“Biography of Arthur Miller.” GradeSaver. 1999-2013. GradeSaver LLC. 25 November 2012
< http://www.gradesaver.com/author/arthur-miller/>.

 “Fun Arthur Miller Facts.” Life123. 2013. Life123, Inc. 25 November 2012
< http://www.life123.com/>.
Tanvir Shameem Tanvir Shameem is not the biggest fan of teaching, but he is doing his best to write on various topics of language and literature just to guide thousands of students and researchers across the globe. You can always find him experimenting with presentation, style and diction. He will contribute as long as time permits. You can find him on:


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