Arthur Miller’s Best Plays 🎭

Arthur Miller was one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century. His work is celebrated for its timeless themes and deeply resonant characters. From “Death of a Salesman” to “The Crucible,” Arthur Miller’s plays are beloved classics of the theater world.

Arthur Miller

(1915-2005), American

Arthur Miller’s plays are some of the best-known and highly-regarded in the world. They range in subject matter but are all effective, with direct and interesting use of language. These plays are studied in schools worldwide and cited by authors as being highly influential.

“All My Sons”

Arthur Miller’s first commercially successful play, “All My Sons,” is a tragedy set in a small town outside New York City in the 1940s. The story follows Joe Keller and his wife, Kate, who has had to cope with losing their eldest son, Larry, during World War II. Despite their grief, the couple continues to work hard to keep their family together and make ends meet.

Joe has been running a successful business manufacturing airplane parts for the war effort. Still, unbeknownst to them, some of those parts were faulty and contributed to the death of several American pilots. Eventually, the truth is uncovered, and Joe is arrested for his part in the tragedy.

“All My Sons” explores the power of guilt, responsibility, and justice as Joe is forced to confront the consequences of his actions and contemplate how his choices have impacted his own life and that of his family. 

The play is considered an early example of Miller’s distinctive style of moral realism, which allows him to bring attention to ethical issues facing the American public.

“Death of a Salesman”

Arthur Miller’s classic 1949 play “Death of a Salesman” is widely considered one of the greatest American plays ever written. It tells the story of Willy Loman, an aging salesman whose dreams of success have never been realized and who is now facing a life of disappointment and regret. The play focuses on the relationship between Willy and his family as they struggle to deal with his decline.

The themes in “Death of a Salesman” are timeless. It explores questions of morality, ambition, guilt, and regret and forces us to confront our mortality and the failures of our lives. It is an examination of the American Dream and the human experience that is still relevant today. The play won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was adapted into a successful film in 1985. Its influence has been felt in literature, theatre, film, and television. 

“The Crucible”

Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” is a classic masterpiece that has remained relevant throughout the decades. Set during the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, it explores the power of mass hysteria and its effects on the human psyche. It is often used as an example of McCarthyism, as its main characters must defend themselves against accusations of being in league with the Devil and witchcraft.

The play is set in the small Puritan town of Salem, Massachusetts, where neighbors are close-knit, and their relationships have deep-rooted tensions. When a group of young girls accuses a few women in the village of being witches, fear and paranoia take over the town, and people begin to turn on each other.

The play focuses on a central character named John Proctor, who is caught between his internal moral struggles and external pressures from the court. He is a flawed hero, as he is caught in an affair and finds himself in a situation where he must choose whether to remain silent and protect his reputation or speak out against the witch hunt. 

“The Crucible” remains one of Arthur Miller’s most important works because of its strong message about the dangers of prejudice and mass hysteria. It also speaks to our modern era, when people quickly pass judgment without considering the facts or understanding both sides of an issue.

“A View from the Bridge”

Arthur Miller’s play “A View from the Bridge,” tells the story of a dockworker, Eddie Carbone, living in an Italian-American community in Brooklyn, New York. Through this play, Miller explores themes of justice, morality, and law, as well as the psychological effects of human behavior. Eddie’s actions throughout the play create a tragic tension between himself and the other characters.

The play is significant for its exploration of many issues. It looks into the complex relationships between family members and how their behavior can have a lasting impact. Miller also examines the tension between tradition and modernity in his characters’ lives. As Eddie struggles to maintain control over his household, he is forced to confront the law and his feelings of pride and jealousy.

Through the play’s themes, Miller reflects on the power of justice and what it means to uphold the law. He shows that when someone is driven by jealousy and fear, they can break laws and do wrong to others. He also shows that justice must be upheld, even at a personal cost. 

“The Man Who Had All the Luck”

Arthur Miller’s play “The Man Who Had All the Luck” is an intense drama about a young man, David Beeves, whose life is controlled by seemingly random chance. Despite the odds stacked against him, David is surrounded by good fortune and propelled into a life of success and wealth. However, as he rises to power, his family and friends become wary of his newfound luck. 

This play looks at how luck can lift and bring down people caught in its grip and serves as a commentary on fate and fortune’s role in life. Miller challenges the idea that luck is all-powerful by showing how much it can also do to harm and divide. Through the characters’ struggles, Miller presents a complex picture of the nature of luck and its implications. 

“The Man Who Had All the Luck” is an important work in Arthur Miller’s canon, as it explores the power of fate in ways that no other playwright has managed to match. It is a timeless classic that remains relevant in modern times, offering viewers a unique perspective on the complexity of luck and its effects on our lives.

“Broken Glass”

Arthur Miller’s play “Broken Glass” was first performed in 1994 and is considered one of his most powerful works. It tells the story of Sylvia Gellburg, an ordinary housewife living in Brooklyn in the late 1930s. On the surface, she seems to have a good life; however, underneath it all, she is slowly succumbing to a mysterious illness that has no known cause.

The play examines the psychological impact of the Holocaust on Sylvia, who is Jewish, as well as her family and the wider community. Through the struggles of Sylvia, Miller addresses issues such as Jewish identity, isolation, and the need to belong. He also explores how people can cope with such difficult topics when faced with them in everyday life.

By presenting this complex subject matter in an intimate and relatable way, Miller makes the audience empathize with Sylvia and her situation. “Broken Glass” is a powerful exploration of the impact of the Holocaust on individuals and communities, making it an important work from Arthur Miller’s repertoire.

“After the Fall”

Arthur Miller’s play, “After the Fall,” is regarded as one of his greatest works. First performed in 1964, this modern tragedy follows Quentin, a lawyer who has become disillusioned with life following his father’s death. Quentin meets and falls in love with Maggie, a woman who shares many of his experiences and challenges. While their relationship blossoms, Quentin is haunted by his past experiences with women and his tendency to abandon them. He battles his inner demons as he seeks peace and understanding within himself. 

In the play, Quentin struggles to make sense of the world around him and the personal traumas that have shaped his life. Through the powerful story of Quentin and Maggie, Miller examines various themes, including alienation, self-reflection, and redemption. At its heart, “After the Fall” is a timeless story about the power of love to heal our innermost wounds. 

FAQs 

What is Arthur Miller’s most important play?

Arthur Miller’s most important play is generally regarded as “Death of a Salesman.” It is considered one of the greatest plays of the 20th century and won the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award.

Why is Arthur Miller important?

Arthur Miller was an influential American playwright who explored the themes of failure, responsibility, alienation, and betrayal. He is widely considered one of the twentieth century’s most significant and influential dramatists.

What kind of writer was Arthur Miller?

Arthur Miller was an acclaimed American playwright and essayist best known for his plays such as “Death of a Salesman” and “The Crucible.” He was also a screenwriter and a noted commentator on politics and culture.

Emma Baldwin
About Emma Baldwin
Emma graduated from East Carolina University with a BA in English, minor in Creative Writing, BFA in Fine Art, and BA in Art Histories. Literature is one of her greatest passions which she pursues on Book Analysis.
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