Arthur Millers Life and Influences

Topics: McCarthyism, Salem witch trials, Joseph McCarthy Pages: 5 (2074 words) Published: June 3, 2013
Arthur Miller and influence of his life
Arthur Miller has been one of Americas best known play writers who emerged in the United States since World War II. He has been writing since the age of seventeen and bases his work on personal experiences while attacking political views. One of his best known works is The Death of a Salesman which is about a man named Willy Loman who tries to emerge in the business industry and present a better image of him in society. Another important play is The Crucible which is about the Salem witch trials in Massachusetts where people blame one another of being witches to save themselves. Through his plays, Death of a Salesman and The Crucible, Arthur Miller expresses his own personal life and criticizes the events of the second Red Scare after World War II. As a young adult, Arthur Miller worked in his father’s textile mill and would observe the behaviors of the employees. Miller would analyze his father, relatives or other hired business men working for his father, and saw how these men tried so hard to become successful because some couldn’t even sell anything. He would recognize how fast they would age because of so much work they went through just to try and rise economically. During the 1920s people felt that if they had money they would be accepted by society. If not then no one would care. Like many people Arthur Miller realized that the people in his father’s factory are disillusioned by the fact of becoming rich, successful and beating everyone else at the business game. While working there Miller started writing a short story in which he was influenced by the salesman in the factory. Manny Newman was one of Arthur Miller’s uncles that worked as a salesman in his father’s textile factory and after writing the short story his uncle’s life influenced Miller even more. Newman was often very competitive with the other salesman in the industry, even his own sons Buddy and Abby Loman. Buddy was the oldest son of Newman who was very athletic and popular with the girls but didn’t end up graduating from high school. Abby was his youngest son who was well on his way but still wasn’t sure about his life career. Miller said that “The Newman house hold was one in which you dared not lose hope and I would later think of it as a perfection of America for that reason...It was a house trembling with resolution and shouts of victories that had not yet taken place but surely would tomorrow."(Arthur Miller 3) It describes the disillusionment of the Newman family which later caused Arthur Miller to rewrite his short story, turn into a play and name it The Death of a Salesman. In Arthur Miller’s play, The Death of Salesman, he reflects upon the society he observed and their determination to succeed even when their dream was not going anywhere they wanted it to be. In the play, Miller asserts that “the underlying struggle of all such dramas is that of the individual attempting to gain his rightful position in society.”(Thompson 1). He compares Willy Loman to Manny Newman, his uncle, and tells the story of the family and his struggle to achieve his American dream of wealth. Like Newman, the character, Willy Loman tries to fit into society because society would not accept him as a failure. “He has based his own identity and self-worth on social acceptance—on how “well-liked” he is” (Thompson 2). Willy Loman constantly tried to find ways to sell things or become wealthy but he never succeeded. This causes Willy to feel out of place in society just like Newman and other people who weren’t wealthy in the 1920s because society would not care for the common man. Willy Loman is the biggest symbol in The Death of a Salesman; he is an important figure of society and commits himself to a fake society which blinds him from the values of human experience. In addition through his whole life and career, he has wanted to be wealthy but never succeeded his “American Dream”. Willy Loman “…Has completely sold himself to...
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