Arthur Miller

(1915-2005), American

Arthur Miller was one of the most renowned playwrights of the 20th century. His works are still read and performed to this day, providing insight into the events of his time and timeless lessons about the human experience.

Through his plays, he addressed social issues such as racism, social injustice, and the struggles of the working class. In addition to being a playwright, Miller was also an essayist, novelist, and screenwriter.

Life Facts

  • Arthur Miller was born on October 17, 1915, in New York City.
  • He attended the University of Michigan, where he wrote his first play, ‘No Villain‘ (1936).
  • Miller’s most famous works include “Death of a Salesman” (1949), ‘The Crucible‘ (1953), and “A View from the Bridge” (1955).
  • Miller was married three times: to Mary Grace Slattery (1940–56), Marilyn Monroe (1956–61), and Inge Morath (1962–2002).
  • He died in Roxbury, Connecticut, on February 10, 2005.

Interesting Facts

  • Arthur Miller wrote the screenplay for the movie ‘The Misfits’, starring Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe.
  • He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949 for his play ‘Death of a Salesman.’
  • He was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era, and his play ‘The Crucible‘ was banned in the United States until 1956.
  • In 1993, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Famous Books by Arthur Miller

  • Death of a Salesman – a famous play published in 1949. The Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the tragedies that befall an American salesman, Willy Loman. This play cemented Miller’s position as one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century.
  • The Crucible – was published in 1953. It is Miller’s best-known work. The story is a dramatization of the Salem Witch Trials in colonial Massachusetts during the 1690s. The Crucible serves as an allegory for McCarthyism, which was rampant in 1950s America.
  • A View from the Bridge – a drama published in 1955. It centers around an Italian-American family and their struggles with cultural identity, justice, and morality. It was adapted into an opera in 1959 and an award-winning film in 1962.
  • After the Fall – a play published in 1964. It follows a man’s emotional struggle to find solace after a traumatic relationship. He looks back on his life while reflecting on the relationships he has had with women.
  • Broken Glass – a play published in 1994. This drama examines anti-Semitism in England and is based on true events that took place in Germany in 1938.

Early Life

Arthur Miller was born on October 17th, 1915, in New York City to Isidore and Augusta Miller. He grew up in a lower-middle-class Jewish household in Brooklyn, New York. Arthur went to Abraham Lincoln High School, where he excelled in writing and won several essay prizes, as well as being voted Class Poet by his peers.

After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Michigan, where he became the first member of his family to attend college. He majored in English and wrote plays for extra money, which gave him an early start in his writing career.

He graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1938. Arthur then moved back to New York, where he started working on his plays while trying to make a living as a writer.

Literary Career

Arthur Miller was an acclaimed American playwright whose work explored themes of social and personal responsibility, morality, and the effects of 20th-century industrialism.

Miller’s first major play, “The Man Who Had All the Luck,” was produced in 1944 and was panned by critics.

In 1949, “Death of a Salesman” premiered on Broadway and quickly became one of Miller’s best-known works. It was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949 and went on to be translated into many languages and produced in theaters around the world.

“The Crucible” was Miller’s next masterpiece, written in 1952 as an allegory to the McCarthy communist trials of the 1950s. The play soon gained international fame, being translated into numerous languages and adapted for stage and screen. Miller followed this up with other works such as “A View from the Bridge,” “After the Fall,” and “Incident at Vichy.”

Miller’s last major work was “Finishing the Picture,” which premiered at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in 2004, only a few months before Miller’s death. His works are still highly praised today, and their relevance has endured through decades of social change. His plays remain some of the most studied and performed works in American literature.

Later Life and Death

Arthur Miller’s later life was focused on his writing, and he continued to write prolifically until his death in 2005.

In the later years of his life, Miller was recognized with a number of awards and honors. He received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949 for his play “Death of a Salesman,” and in 1993, he was presented with the National Medal of Arts. In 2003, Miller was also awarded the Jerusalem Prize.

Miller passed away on February 10th, 2005, at the age of 89, in Roxbury, Connecticut. He was buried at the nearby Roxbury Center Cemetery. His legacy continues to live on through his many works, which have become classics of modern American literature.

Literature by Arthur Miller

Explore literature by Arthur Miller below, created by the team at Book Analysis.