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Arthur Miller

Although Arthur Miller had a long and prolific career, he is perhaps most widely known for his play Death of a Salesman. This play won both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize when it came out in the year 1949. Its fame is likely due to the fact that it critically explores the concept and meaning of the American Dream from multiple perspectives. Usually, it is described as a quintessentially American play, much like Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire.

Introduction & Background 

Arthur Miller was a prolific American writer, famous for his playwrights and essays. In addition, Miller also wrote several well-known screenplays, including The Misfits and All My Sons. Among his most famous and highly-praised work are Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and A View from the Bridge. MIller's works were so numerous, you may have found yourself having to write an essay on one of his works at one time or another (or you may have bought one from Ultius). 

Born in 1915 on October 17, Arthur Miller was the second of three children to The Millers of Manhattan. His father was an Austrian Jewish immigrant while is mother was a New York native, though born to Austrian Jewish immigrants. Though his father had been a wealthy manufacturer of women’s clothing, the family lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929. After that, Arthur worked menial jobs here and there to help support his family and eventually pay for his college tuition.


During his career, Miller wrote a large number of works in a wide variety of genres. Miller authored thirty six stage plays and fourteen radio plays. The most famous of which, Death of a Salesman, was the winner of the 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and has been revived on Broadway four times, when it won three Tony Awards for Best Revival. It is often considered to be one of the top twenty finest American plays in the twentieth century.

In addition to playwrights and radio plays, Arthur Miller also wrote eight screenplays, including the screenplays for his plays Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. He wrote assorted fiction during his career; six short stories and novellas like The Misfits. Additionally, Miller wrote six nonfiction works as well, which include Chinese Encounters (1977), a travel journal with photographs of Chinese society at the end of the Cultural Revolution. Miller also wrote three collections of essays and plays. 

Writing style 

In his writing, Arthur Miller successfully blended diverse dramatic style and movements because he believed that plays should be a delicate balance between the separate and collective elements of life, the singular personality and polity, and the individual and the rest of society. Most of his work centered on moral problem within American society and he often questioned the psychological causes of these issues. Miller is also known for his stark exploration of the individual’s conflict.

Additional information 

The writing career of Arthur Miller stretched over seven decades, and even while he was still alive, he was recognized as one of the greatest playwright of the twentieth century. After his death, he was called the last great practitioner of the American stage. Broadway theaters turned out their lights and countless actors, producers, and directors paid tribute out of respect. In 2007, his beloved alma mater, the University of Michigan, opened the doors of the Arthur Miller Theater, which is the only theater in the United States and the rest of the world that will bear his name, a wish that he expressed before his death.

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Before his death in 2005, Miller gave writer Christopher Bigsby boxes of papers that Miller has written, but never published or completed. In 2008, Bigsby published a book called Arthur Miller: The Definitive Biography in which he exposes some of Miller’s unpublished works. In some of his earlier writings, Miller writes bitterly about the cruel racial inequalities within American society, years before the civil rights movement took place. This was a heart-felt reminder that Arthur Miller always used his writing, even just informal musings and notes, to express frustration over the injustices of the world. 


Arthur Miller is well-known for his literary contributions during his lifetime. His plays, his screenplays, and his essays are rich in real-life conflict and struggles that every human being can identify with. He used his work to express his compassion for the world and his fellow human being. For this reason, Arthur Miller’s work will continue to be regarded with reverence and respect in the world of literature. 

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