Arthur miller a view from the bridge essays

During the tense era of McCarthyism , celebrated playwright Arthur Miller was inspired to write a drama reflecting the mass cultural and political hysteria produced when the . government sought to suppress Communism and radical leftist activity in America. This time of the Red Scare affected the playwright personally. After meeting with his close friend, famed director Elia Kazan , who had recently testified in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Miller traveled to Salem, Massachusetts, to research the infamous Salem Witch Trials of 1692. On his return trip, he heard a recording of Kazan’s controversial testimony in which the director listed the names of fellow actors and playwrights with ties to Leftist causes. That evening Miller began writing The Crucible —  one of his most famous plays — which uses the Salem Witch trials as an allegory to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s oppressive tactics.

For a while Monroe embraced domesticity, learning how to cook, hanging home-made pasta over the backs of chairs and drying it with a hairdryer. England now seemed no more than a bad dream. Their new relationship was apparently secured by another pregnancy. Friends later recalled that she was voluptuously overweight, lying in the sun. She was transformed by the possibility of a child. Here, it appeared, was what both had sought. He was no longer under the immediate threat of imprisonment. Hollywood was distant. They were together and now with the prospect of a child. They had a momentary if limited immunity.

Despite the absence of any major successes since the mid-1960s, Miller seems secure in his reputation as a major figure in American drama. In addition to his Pulitzer Prize in 1949, his awards include the Theatre Guild National Prize, 1944; Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award (given for achievement in the theater), 1947 and 1953; Emmy Award (given for achievement in television broadcasting), 1967; George Foster Peabody Award, 1981; John F. Kennedy Award for Lifetime Achievement, 1984; Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, 1999; National Book Foundation lifetime achievement award, 2001; New York City College Alumni Association medal for artistic devotion to New York, 2001; and the Japan Art Association lifetime achievement award, 2001.

Whilst critical theorists will continue to debate the essence of writing, authorial intention, and the ever changing meaning of the text, the audience/reader response will still inevitably, at times, be coloured by their knowledge of the author and his biography. For the 1964 audience of After the Fall it was to be expected that certain aspects of the play would override the author’s conscious intention to bring to the drama political and social issues that needed to be addressed for the wider good of humanity. After the Fall is richly symbolic; the dialogue is poetic and the subject matter of fundamental importance. The details of After the Fall are so close to Arthur Miller’s life that it is hard not to read them autobiographically. However, the play is an artistic creation and therefore it is dangerous to take it as a total truth of Miller’s life. It seems more rewarding to consider what it was he was trying to say regarding the issues of guilt and responsibility – which have been at the centre of all his plays, and as individuals, to reflect upon them and our own responsibility within society. 

Arthur miller a view from the bridge essays

arthur miller a view from the bridge essays

Whilst critical theorists will continue to debate the essence of writing, authorial intention, and the ever changing meaning of the text, the audience/reader response will still inevitably, at times, be coloured by their knowledge of the author and his biography. For the 1964 audience of After the Fall it was to be expected that certain aspects of the play would override the author’s conscious intention to bring to the drama political and social issues that needed to be addressed for the wider good of humanity. After the Fall is richly symbolic; the dialogue is poetic and the subject matter of fundamental importance. The details of After the Fall are so close to Arthur Miller’s life that it is hard not to read them autobiographically. However, the play is an artistic creation and therefore it is dangerous to take it as a total truth of Miller’s life. It seems more rewarding to consider what it was he was trying to say regarding the issues of guilt and responsibility – which have been at the centre of all his plays, and as individuals, to reflect upon them and our own responsibility within society. 

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