Arthur Asher Miller (October 17, 1915 - February 10, 2005) is considered, alongside Creator/EugeneONeill and Creator/TennesseeWilliams, America's greatest playwright. His play ''Theatre/DeathOfASalesman'' is generally considered one of the finest dramatic works of the twentieth century. He is also known for his other works such as ''All My Sons'', ''Theatre/TheCrucible'', ''Theatre/AViewFromTheBridge'', and ''After the Fall'', as well as the screenplay for ''Film/TheMisfits''. Among the general public, Miller is overshadowed by his second marriage to Creator/MarilynMonroe, who acted in ''The Misfits'' and who is also the subject of ''After the Fall''. They divorced in 1961 and she would die in the following year.
Born in New York to Jewish immigrants, Miller grew up in a lower-middle class family. He studied English in college and by the time he graduated it was at the height of TheGreatDepression (aka the "Red Decade"). Miller found work in the New Deal's Theatre Projects (which in addition to Miller also employed Creator/OrsonWelles, Creator/EliaKazan, Aaron Copland and several other key figures in the performing arts). Miller was known for being highly political as a writer and playwright. He was inspired by Creator/HenrikIbsen and it was his goal as a playwright to create a "tragedy for the common man".
His plays often castigated against capitalism, ConspicuousConsumption, and religious fanaticism which tended to clamp down on the individual. This is best exemplified in his 1949 [[TonyAwardWinners Tony Award]]- and UsefulNotes/PulitzerPrize-winning play ''Death of a Salesman'', about a man who, overshadowed by the excesses of the free market, is DrivenToSuicide. His 1953 play ''The Crucible'', [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory a semi-historical account of the Salem Witch Trials]], was an outright critique of [=McCarthyism=] and [[UsefulNotes/TheHollywoodBlacklist the House Committee of Un-American Activities]]. Naturally, these themes led to Miller getting an appointment from the committee in 1956. [[note]]Miller was already under suspicion since his passport to visit London had not been approved by the Federal government and it was after Miller applied for a renewal of his passport that he got an official invitation[[/note]] Miller refused to "name names" and was cited in contempt but he successfully appealed against it, and walked out of the hearings.
He remained an active playwright until his final years, though critics generally feel that he peaked early in his career. His most famous production was a tour to China where he produced ''Death of a Salesman'' in Peking. He was an enormously influential writer in the second half of the twentieth century, greatly influencing many novelists, playwrights and film-makers. His autobiography ''Timebends'' is also regarded as one of the best memoirs of the twentieth century.
!! Selected Works (on this site)
* ''Film/TheMisfits'' (screenplay by Miller, directed by Creator/JohnHuston)
!! Tropes Associated With Arthur Miller's Work
* CentralTheme: The deep essence of man, deceit, suicide, the importance of one's name, and the issues of United States based societies. They center around an All Around American Family, their social responsibility, as well as life, death, and the human purpose.
* DownerEnding: Particularly ''Death of a Salesman''
* FatalFlaw: His protagonists will have one.
* HumansAreFlawed: His characters are not horrible people but they will often have a deep insecurity or flaw.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVsCynicism: Quite cynical.
** John Procter in ''The Crucible'' is hung to death after he refuses to give his name away.
** Willy Loman commits suicide to give his son Biff the insurance money.