Arthur Miller: Life & Biography

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      Arthur Miller was born in New York on 17th October, 1915. Miller’s early school life seems to have left no significant impression on his mind. Years later, when his teachers tried to recall him, none could do so. Miller had almost been inconspicuous in his school and it is not surprising. He and his classmates were more interested in playing football than in poring over text books.

      Miller had a father who was gifted with an enlivening sense of humor, like Joe Keller of All My Sons. He had a shop and was a manufacturer of lady's coats. In addition to Arthur, the family comprised his elder brother, Kermit and a sister Joan, who was six years younger and became an actress later.

      Miller was primarily influenced by one factor - he grew up during the years of the Depression in America. It was the Depression that gave him a passionate understanding of man’s insecurity in modern industrial civilization, his deep-rooted belief in social responsibility and his moral earnestness.

      Before rising meteorically to the fame of a dramatist, which we are familiar with, Miller had led an unknown life as a truck driver, waiter, crewman on a tanker and so on. His plays show a sympathetic understanding of ordinary employments like the ones named above. Before writing these well-known plays, Miller had written eight or nine desk-drawer plays, only one of which had been produced in the professional theatre.

      In March 1954, the State Department refused him a passport to attend the opening of The Crucible in Brussels, on the ground that he was supporting the communist movement—a charge which Miller categorically denied.

      In 1940, Miller married a girl named Mary Slattery. She bore him a son and a daughter. But the union ended in a divorce in June, 1956. On 29th June 1956, - Miller married the glamorous Hollywood actress, Marilyn Monroe. The marriage of beauty and intellect created sensation. This marriage, however, lasted only four years. Miller now went abroad and met Miss Ingeborg Morath, an Austrian photographer whom he married in 1962.

      Miller is not a prolific writer. He writes only when he feels the need for it. What he writes is great. It is not lack of invention or dearth of ideas that limits him, but an excess of self-criticism coupled with a restless intellect. Miller’s works when seen in an order exhibit a development in the direction of simplicity in construction' and immediacy in language.

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