Miller’s Works



The Man Who Had All the Luck (1944) The play depicts a young man, David Beeves, who has a hard time dealing with his good luck, especially when he sees his no less deserving brother have no luck at all. manwhoBeeves gets to marry the girl of his dreams despite her disapproving father, and become a successful businessman as he takes one risky decision after another that each comes out well, while his brother Amos loses his chance to pitch in the baseball big leagues when he freezes up on the scout’s visit, and turns on the father he feels misled him in such a dream. Thinking that at any moment his luck must run out and disaster will strike, Beeves begins to live his life in constant fear, refusing to accept his good fortune, and at one point even contemplating suicide. He expects his garage to fail, his son to be born dead, his mink farm to be devasted, but he is repeatedly rewarded with a healthy son and success, even when his fellow businessmen go broke. By the close he seems to at last accept that this is in part due to his own diligence, which allows him to finally enjoy the fruits of his work and embrace his wife and child (in an earlier novelisation of this story Miller had Beeves commit suicide at the close, but in the play he just has Beeves consider the possibility, but decide against it).


All My Sons (1947) Joe Keller, is an apparently successful businessman who made his fortune by selling airplane parts to the army during World War Two. Not wanting to slow business he sent out a allmysonsbatch that he knew to be defective, and twenty-one pilots died as a result. Keller was arrested and tried, but lied, saying that the parts went out without his knowledge and his partner, Steve Deever, was the one who had covered it up. Deever is sent to jail and Keller is exonerated. One of his sons, Larry, is missing in action, but the mother, Kate, insists that their son is still alive, though we later learn that Larry committed suicide on learning of his father’s arrest. When their other son, Chris asks Larry’s old girlfriend (who happens to be Deever’s daughter, Ann, as they all grew up as neighbors) to marry him, it causes tension, which results in Keller’s deceit coming out while George Deever (the lawyer son of the man Keller framed) is visiting. Chris fought during the war and watched many of his peers die, so on discovering his father’s guilt, which he had always refused to accept, he now totally rejects him, at first literally attacking him, but then running off in shame. He returns to see if he can persuade his father to confess and do some jail time. On discovering why Larry died when Ann shows the family a letter he wrote to her explaining this, Keller finally accepts his responsibility for the crime and kills himself.


Death of a Salesman (1949) Death of a Salesman relates the story of Willy Loman, a down-on-his-luck traveling salesman who nurtures dangerous beliefs regarding success, has raised his two sons, Biff and Happy, fairly poorly, and looks down on his neighbor Charley and his son, Bernard, despite them both treating him and his family well. In order to cope with salesmanwhat seem to be his failures in life, and the failures of his oldest son, Biff, in particular, he retreats to what appears to be a better past in his mind and seems to be losing touch with reality. He tries to relive the good times, but keeps coming up against things that went wrong. He recalls his brother Ben visiting and offering him business opportunities he chose to turn down at his wife’s insistence. At their mother’s encouragement, the sons try to help Willy by lying about Biff’s prospects, but when Loman loses his job, after a lifetime with the same company, things fall apart; his sons abandon him in a restaurant in anger and embarrassment, and their mother bitterly tells them to go away and leave him alone. Willy’s depression is exacerbated by the guilt he feels from a past infidelity which has estranged him from Biff who discovered his secret. Rather than accept that his life has been a failure and that Biff is not interested in big business, with the encouragement of his imagined big brother, Ben, Loman decides to commit suicide in hopes that the insurance money will help Biff become successful. The play ends with his family and only friend, his neighbor Charley, grieving by his graveside. They each view his death in a different light.


An Enemy of the People (1950) An adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play of the same title, Miller’s version remains very faithful to the original as he worked from a literal translation of the original enemyNorwegian, but he tones down aspects of the play that some have viewed as Ibsen’s elitism, and provides some inspirational new lines for his hero that reflect Miller’s commitment toward a more socialist society. The play depicts a respected, resort-town doctor who finds himself shunned by his community. Dr. Thomas Stockmann counters the town’s decision to conceal information regarding the toxicity of the spa’s water that would put the health of many tourists at considerable risk, but ensure the great revenue the tourists would bring to the area. It seems it may be his own father-in-law, whose poorly run but profitable tanning works have poisoned the water. Even his own brother, Peter Stockmann, who is the mayor of the town, turns against him, as well as the newspaper that originally encouraged him to announce his findings. His children get beaten, his daughter loses her job, he is unable to find work, and rocks are thrown through the windows of his house. By standing up to his peers, Stockmann is embracing his responsibility to others, but finds himself branded “an enemy of the people.” Refusing to recant what he knows to be true, the family eventually decide they must emigrate to America.


The Crucible (1953) The Crucible is an allegorical re-telling of the McCarthy era red scare that occurred in the United States after World War II. Based on historical accounts, the play is set during cruciblethe 1692 Salem Witchcraft Trials when several young girls, led by Abigail, accuse innocent town members of witchcraft to avoid getting into trouble for entertaining ideas of witchery themselves. They have been caught dancing in the woods, but deflect the town’s disapproval by this pretense, that they seem to come almost to believe themselves as hysteria grips the town. The husbands of some of the women involved try to convince the judges as to the girls’ deceit, but find them unshakeable. Other townspeople try and take advantage of the situation by encouraging the girls to name their rivals as witches. Eventually several of the most prominent members of the community find themselves indicted, and Governor Danforth and others are brought in to judge the cases. They believe the girls’ spectral evidence (this is where the girls state without any actual evidence that those they accused sent spirits to torture them). Those who confess are imprisoned, but those who refuse are sentenced to be hanged. The tension mounts as the central protagonist, John Proctor, must confess an earlier adultery in order to save his own wife from being hanged based upon charges brought by his former lover. However, because his wife lies about the adultery to save his name, the judges fail to believe his charges, and he is then accused. Proctor is given the chance to save his own life by confessing to witchery and naming names, but after considering this option, he chooses to die rather than betray his friends and neighbors.


A Memory of Two Mondays (1955) A fairly lengthy one-act play which glances back upon the Depression years, Miller’s A Memory of Two Mondays is based largely upon his experiences working at memorytwomondaysan automobile parts warehouse in Brooklyn, where he worked to save money for college. It was originally produced alongside a one-act version of A View from the Bridge. The play takes a look at his co-workers and the various people he met at his workplace, who largely stumble through their lives going on drinking binges, shirking work, flirting and having affairs, and getting depressed by their limited prospects. In a period of massive unemployment, they have few options. We see the compassion the lead character, 18 year-old Bert, has for others he learns to view as less fortunate than himself, and the satisfaction he admits that by going to college, he will have the opportunity to escape their fates. While the lives of his fellow workers have few prospects, despite several of them dreaming of better lives, they are portrayed with warmth, humor and humanity, and given they have jobs, however limited, it sets them above others during the Depression years who had nothing. The first Monday takes place during the hot summer when Hitler took power in Germany (an event none but Bert is aware of happening); the second is on the winter of Bert’s last day before leaving. He gets closest to a likable Irish immigrant, Kenneth, whose starry-eyed optimism has been crushed by the close of the play.


A View from the Bridge (1956) The local lawyer, Alfieri, tells the story of Eddie Carbone, a head-strong longshoreman who has helped raise his wife Beatrice’s niece, Catherine, but has developed an viewfromunwitting sexual attraction towards her. When his wife’s two cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, enter the country illegally looking for work, the Carbones take them in, but when Catherine begins dating the younger of the cousins, Rodolpho, Eddie gets jealous. At various times Eddie goes to Alfieri for advice as to how to break them up. Finding his insinuations of Rodolpho’s homosexuality and his warning to Catherine that Rodolpho is only after an American passport are ignored, in an act of desperation to split them up before they can marry, Eddie breaks an unwritten rule within his community by betraying both cousins to the Immigration authorities. Catherine is horrified and denounces her uncle, speeding up her marriage to Rodolpho so that he can remain in the country. The older brother, Marco, vows revenge, exacerbated by Eddie’s refusal to admit his “crime.” Out on bail that has been arranged by Alfieri who asks Marco to leave Eddie alone, Marco comes to Eddie anyhow as he feels justice has not been done. Eddie challenges him to a fight to try and redeem his blackened name, but when Eddie draws a knife, Marco kills him with it. Eddie dies declaring his love for his wife, never having fully come to with his actions or how they led to his downfall. Alfieri concludes with a speech of admiration for Eddie, that begs us to question his values and role in the play he has narrated.


The Misfits (1961) Written as a gift to his then wife Marilyn Monroe, Miller’s screenplay relates the story of three modern day cowboys who refuse to settle down in a society which no longer respects misfitsthe traditions and values of the past. In order to mask their frustration with their lives, Gay, Perce, and Guido drown themselves with drink, sex, and other reckless behavior. Upset at being disinherited by his mother’s new husband, Perce hurts himself competing in local rodeos, Gay drunkenly cries over his estranged children, and Guido dallies with suicidal thought in his grief over his wife’s death. A beautiful recent divorcee, Roslyn (played by Monroe) flirts with all three, who all desire her, but she sticks with Gay. A regular ladies man, near the start of the movie Gay teams up with Roslyn with whom he starts to get serious, and they live together for a while in Guido’s half-built house in the desert; Guido stopped building it after his wife died in childbirth. The three begin to re-evaluate their lives, and when they take Roslyn to a rodeo for a lark, they add Perce to their group. Gay needs cash and insists the men join him to catch wild mustangs to sell for horse meat, and Roslyn reluctantly tags along. She is horrified by their plans for the horses and after a heroic struggle to recapture one of the horses Perce had set free to please Roslyn, Gay lets it go on his own terms and the couple leave together.


After the Fall (1964) Often viewed as highly autobiographical, this play received much criticism from reviewers who thought Miller was tarnishing the memory of American icon Marilyn Monroe, who had afterfallrecently died. Her corresponding character in the play, a singer Maggie, has reckless sex, indulges in unfair complaints, alcohol and drugs, and eventually commits suicide. After the Fall examines the parallels between private and public acts of betrayal by drawing connections between the central character’s self-assessment and the atrocities committed during the Holocaust; he comes to see it all as a matter of perspective as no one alive is totally innocent. In an extended confession, Quentin relates the story of his life, describing what he sees as his formative relationships with women, most notably his mother and her rejection of his father when he lost his fortune, and his first two wives, Louise and Maggie. Louise had recognized her husband’s boredom with their relationship and how they had grown apart and divorces him when she sees he much prefers Maggie, who he feels needs his protection, but comes to realize he cannot fully protect. We also learn of his experiences living through the Depression (and how it affected his parents), HUAC (and how it affected his friends, one of whom names names), and of his eventual acceptance of the possibility of future happiness with his new wife, Holga, despite the betrayals of his past.


Incident at Vichy (1964) Written as a companion piece to After the Fall, Incident at Vichy illustrates the anti-Semitic ideas which fed the Holocaust. Set in Vichy France during the German occupation in incident1942, the action focuses on a group of detainees representing all walks of life–from a beggar to a prince, boy to old man–who wait to be interrogated by the Nazis who are searching for Jews to send to the death camps; they will base this decision on bullying questions, but also by checking to see who is circumcised and taking various measurements. As the men anxiously wait, a number of discussions arise among the prisoners concerning their attitudes toward the occupation, the resistance, and the anti-Semitic environment rampant in Europe at the time. Some feel they are justified, some are appalled, some almost paralyzed with terror, and then others realize they have not even really noticed. Despite confrontations with the Nazi captors–the captain of whom is portrayed as being reluctantly forced to behave in this way as he recognizes how uncivilized such behavior has become–and their fear of what awaits them, some prisoners discover the possibility of meaning in their adversity through non-Jewish Prince Von Berg’s gift of his own pass to freedom to the Jewish psychiatrist, Leduc, who reluctantly takes this opportunity to escape, leaving Von Berg to suffer the most likely deadly consequences.


The Price (1968) Upon the death of their father, two brothers meet after a long estrangement in order to go through their father’s belongings. The two men occupy decidedly different ends of the thepricespectrum–Walter is a highly successful surgeon, Victor a poorly paid policeman about to retire. Both resent each other for different reasons, one for his family attachments, the other for his financial achievements. Victor’s wife, Esther, feels her husband has been taken advantage of by his brother, who left him to look after their ailing father, and feels a bit resentful toward her husband for having made so many sacrifices. Walter, we discover, has been financially successful, but lost his wife’s affection and his mental health in the process, and is largely estranged from his children. The wise old furniture dealer, Gregory Solomon, an elderly but vital figure, provides a lot of humor as he tries to strike a deal for the furniture as the brothers argue as to terms, and relates various stories of his past, including those of past loves and his daughter’s suicide–he remains resilient. Tempers rise until a confrontation between the brothers occurs, they argue over their images of their dead parents, and each must decide whether or not to accept or forsake his past mistakes and accomplishments. Walter storms off and Victor finalizes the deal with Solomon, and seems on a better footing with his wife, as they leave Solomon alone on the stage. Having witnesses the brothers’ inability to understand the value of each other’s decisions and achievements, Solomon’s final response to the whole sad situation is laughter.


The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972) Miller pretty much follows the early events of The Bible, only with a comedic twist, beginning with the creation, the story of Adam and Eve and creationtheir temptation, and culminating with the slaying of Abel by his brother Cain. The humans in this version are all fairly simple, easily led and prone to temptation and the embrace of pleasure. Miller portrays Lucifer as the voice of wisdom, with God being depicted more as a bumbling, good-natured idiot, despite his powers. The two get along initially, though God is suspicious of Lucifer’s evident ambition. The only one of a group of angels (which includes the angel of death) who can apparently think for himself, Lucifer plots to introduce evil to the world as he feels that evil must be present for good to have any real meaning; he genuinely thinks God will finally approve and is upset to discover the opposite as God turns against him after he both coerces Eve and Adam to eat the fruit and then for Cain to kill his brother. The play was turned into a musical called Up From Paradise two years after its Broadway production, for which Miller wrote the libretto.


Fame (1978) This screenplay is based on an earlier short story written by Miller of the same name. A prosperous playwright has trouble coming to terms with his fame. His self-consciousness leads him to feel alienated from those around him, but his situation takes a turn for the better when he meets a female jockey who teaches him to look for the things that really matter in life and helps him to accept his success.


The Archbishop’s Ceiling (1977) An American writer, Adrian, pays a visit to some old friends, Maya and Marcus, behind the Iron Curtain and gets a taste of what life is like under a corrupt communist archbishopgovernment, where no one knows when they are put under surveillance. Throughout the play, that takes place in a renovated Archbishop’s palace, the group wonder over whether or not the ceiling has been bugged with microphones. Adrian’s current girlfriend Ruth, is back in America, but he has a desire to see Maya once more, with whom he has had an affair in the past, and about whom he has been trying, unsuccessfully, to write a book. Marcus joins them with Irina, a decorative blonde, in tow. Though rebels in the past, it is unclear whether or not Maya and Marcus are now working for the government; however, they seem to join Adrian in trying to help Sigmund, a writer who is still a rebel, get his newly completed manuscript returned after it has been confiscated by the authorities, and for Adrian to maybe smuggle it out of the country. Sigmund is uncertain if any of the men can be considered trustworthy, and he knows he would be safer leaving the country, but his patriotism refuses to allow him to entertain the possibility. Tempers flare, a gun is fired, Sigmund has his manuscript returned, and Adrian realizes his own many past betrayals.


Playing For Time (1980) Miller developed Playing For Time from the autobiography of the real Fania Fenelon. It relates Fania’s experiences at Auschwitz during World War Two; how she survived not only playingas a human being, but also as a Jew, and her relationship to that Jewish identity. The notorious Dr. Mengele is the camp physician, and though not a major character in the play, is clearly depicted as an apparently cultured man who, nevertheless, has no compunction engaging in unethical medical experiments. He and other Nazi officials have decided they needed a prisoner orchestra and Fania, with her musical background, is swiftly recruited, along with young Marianne, a girl whom Fania met on the train which brought them to the camp. The orchestra is led by former concert violinist, Alma Rosè, who is later killed by a jealous female officer, and it is made up of both Jewish prisoners, such as Esther, Hèlène, Liesle, Lotte, Paulette and Etalina, and non-Jewish Poles, such as Elzvieta. Though most of the prisoners have been cowed into submission by the Nazi supervisors and chiefs, like Frau Schmidt and Mandel, we do hear about the exploits of one subversive, Mala, and we occasionally meet Shmuel, an almost mystical male electrician, who gives Fania advice about how to survive. Marianne does less well, prostituting herself for benefits, but Fania still tries to help her, and others, get through their ordeal, and they are eventually liberated.


The American Clock (1980) In The American Clock Miller tells the story of America in the 1930s through the conflated stories of a vast array of over forty characters. We meet businessmen like Jesse Livermore americanclockand William Durant who lose everything, and more successful entrepreneurs like Arthur A. Robertson and Theodore K. Quinn who are less greedy and so survive financial ruin. We learn the plight of farmers in the dust bowl, like Henry Taylor who loses his farm, young intellectuals, like Joe and Edie who struggle to find something in which to believe, a black restaurant owner down South, Isaac, who also fares quite well as he is used to struggling to get by, and an assortment of people from all walks of life. At the center, Miller places the Baum family, who are partly autobiographical. Through the Baums he explores, even more deeply, the concerns and demands of such a time. The father, Moe, loses a prosperous business but keeps on going, even as his wife, Rose begins to fall apart under the strain. Their son Lee goes from childhood through college to adulthood as he travels through the nation, and finally comes to terms with the demands of living in America, and a better understanding of his parents.


Two-Way Mirror (1982-1984)Two-Way Mirror consists of “Elegy for a Lady” and “Some Kind of Love Story,” both twowayexperimental one-acts that play with concepts of reality and perception. In “Elegy for a Lady” a Man enters a boutique and discusses with the Proprietess what might be an appropriate gift to buy for his ailing lover. Their discussion forces the Man to face some home truths about his relationship and realize that he needs to take a greater responsibility for his life and how that impacts other people. The conversation is carefully crafted to leave a lot of questions regarding the potential meaning/reality of what we have witnessed, and we wonder if the Proprietess may even be a cipher for the mistress. In “Some Kind of Love Story” a private detective, Tom O’Toole, comes to interview a possible witness in a case he is investigating. The witness, Angela, suffers from multiple-personality-disorder and appears reluctant to give him the information he needs, and may or may not be involved with some criminal activity. Their feelings for one another are also unclear. They maintain a connection by playing a cat and mouse game in which neither will tell the other everything they need to hear, and so their meetings may continue ad infinitum. This short piece provided the seeds for the later screenplay, Everybody Wins.


Danger: Memory (1987) Danger: Memory! consists of “I Can’t Remember Anything” and “Clara,” which as the collective title implies explores the pros and cons of memory and how we relate to the past. In “I Can’t Remember Anything” Leonora pays dangermemoryone of her evidently regular visits to her old friend Leo; the pair are somewhat based on Miller’s friends the artist Alexander Calder and his wife, who lived near the Millers in Connecticut. The two characters discuss the state of their current lives and recall what it was like before Leonora’s husband, Frederick, died. Unable to reconcile their own different outlooks on life, they quarrel, and Leonora leaves. The title character from “Clara” has just been brutally killed and we witness Detective Lew Fine questioning Clara’s father, Kroll, to try and find out who might have have committed the murder. This questioning, however, tells us far more about the father (and the detective) than the daughter, and allows Kroll to comes to terms with his own potential complicity in his daughter’s death, as he suspects he may have known the killer and led Clara, a total do-gooder, to befriend this man by Kroll’s own past “pretense” of believing in social justice, which he has long since lost. The ghost of Clara comes in and out during the conversation, and the detective also appears a little unworldly at times, and possibly not a real detective.


The Last Yankee (1991-1993) The one-act play The Last Yankee begins with the meeting of Leroy Hamilton, a freelance carpenter and descendant of Alexander Hamilton, and John Frick, a conservative lastyankeebusinessman, in the visiting room of the state mental hospital. Both have wives who are currently staying in this establishment, and as they make small talk, we discover that this appears to be about the only thing that they have in common; Frick is a brash, self-involved, racist, while Leroy is self-deprecating, kindly and overly considerate. Originally the play ended there, but then Miller added another longer scene to flesh it out. Next we meet the wives, and discover that their mental problems are closely tied to their marriages. Patricia Hamilton seems well on the road to recovery as she is beginning to realize that she must tone down her high expectations of life, and has stopped taking the pills they have been prescribing that made her feel so disengaged, but Karen Frick still suffers from a crippling lack of self-esteem and has only recently been drawn out a little by Patricia. As the two couples interact we see Patricia and Leroy reach a compromise that will allow Patricia to go home, but the Fricks remain unable to communicate with each other, and Karen shows little sign of recovery. She attempts to tap dance for her husband but he loses patience and storms off.


The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (1991) The Ride Down Mt. Morgan purportedly takes place in the hospital room of a bedridden entrepreneur Lyman Felt, who is recovering from a bad accident, having plummeted down the title mountain in his car. Lyman, we soon discover, is a bigamist, and both of his wives, Theo and Leah, turn up, each unaware, until now, that the other existed. He also has a child by each one and leads a totally different life with each family; far more cautious with Theo and outgoing with Leah. The wives are intially antagonost to one another but later start to join together against him. Some scenes of the play are clearly fantasies being imagined by the central character, as we edge toward discovering how the “accident” occurred, realizing it was an intentional action on Lyman’s part as he has a tendency to take giant risks to test the outcome. Refusing to accept that he has done anything really wrong by committing bigamy, Lyman tries to salvage the situation and keep both of his wives happy. He largely fails in this attempt as it is clearly too selfishly motivated, something his daughter, Bessie, tries to teach him. He ends the play alone, except for a kindly nurse, as even his admiring lawyer friend Tom cannot continue to support his selfish actions.


Broken Glass (1994) In Broken Glass Miller tells the story of Sylvia and Phillip Gellburg, who after years of marriage come to brokenglassrealize that they hardly know each other at all, and it is little wonder their marriage has been a sham for so long. Phillip is the only Jew working at a very traditional Wall Street bank where he mainly works on foreclosings, and his boss is clearly anti-Semitic. Obsessed with work, and his own desire to assimilate, Phillip is proud of his son at Westpoint, and has little time for his wife, until she demands his attention by suddenly falling prey to a mysterious paralysis after seeing the events of Kristallnacht in the newspaper. Up until now Sylvia has been a quiet little housewife, but she needs to express her buried fears and longings. Dr. Harry Hyman is called in to help, and though no specialist, he decides the case is a psychiatric one, and proceeds to try and treat Sylvia. Hyman, however, as a self-absorbed ladies’ man, despite a reasonably happy marriage has problems of his own, which become apparent during his interaction with the Gellburgs. Sylvia gets a crush on her doctor and her sister Harriet tells tales of Phillip’s past treatment of her and we realize that the Gellburgs have had no sex life for a significantly long time. When Gellburg gets unfairly blamed at work for a lost sale, the stress leads him to have a heart attack and begin to reassess how he has treated his wife. She also recognizes her own blame in the way the marriage has gone. The play ends with Philip clutching his heart and her finally rising to her feet; the future for either one remains unclear.


Mr. Peters’ Connections (1998)  Using a similar expressionistic style to the earlier After the Fall in Mr. Peters’ Connections, mrpetersMr. Harry Peters is an elderly man and retired airplane pilot who comes to a run-down night-club run by his brother (perhaps) for some ambiguous reason, which is possibly simply to find a reason to want to keep on living after assessing his past relationships, or just to invest in the property. Various people from his family and probable past enter the club for a variety of reasons, as Peters tries to make sense of who he is and what he has achieved. The way characters arrive and leave is reminiscent of After the Fall, only more toward the end of a person’s life. Several characters also have clear autobiographical connections as in this earlier play, including a young woman and past lover reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe called Cathy-May and her husband, Larry (a possible version of one of Monroe’s former husbands). The play ends with a plea from his daughter, Rose (a version of Rebecca) for him not to die, which seems to give him the strength to continue.


Resurrection Blues (2002)  A satiric piece in which the local dictator, General Felix Barriaux on a fictional island plans to rezbluestelevise the crucifixion of a local rebel to gain a large amount of cash for the impoverished island–the rebel’s name keeps changing, from Ralph to Charlie, but we never see him other than as a blinding light–the island people believe him to be Jesus. Even most of the mainland television crew–except for the producer Skip Cheesboro who stays insistent Ralph has to die as they made the deal–become antagonistic to such brutality, and the play culminates in an uncertain apotheosis of the figure in question, who decides the time is not right and he may return at a better juncture in the future. Along the way, the dictator recovers his flagging virility with lonely young director Emily Shapiro, while his cousin, Henri Schultz reassesses his relationship to his family and the island itself, recognizing his own past selfishness and inhumanity. Henri’s daughter, in a wheelchair after a past revolutionary act against her uncle went awry, appears to have been miraculously healed by Ralph/Charlie and this helps her father regain his former faith in accountability.


Finishing the Picture (2004)  A distinguished director is about to lose his picture due to the unstable behavior of a famously fragile movie star. She is recognized all over the world, loved by millions, but finishingpictureunable to believe in herself. The studio owners are threatening to pull the plug, and a temperamental acting teacher is flown in to coax the actress out of bed and onto the set. Clearly revisiting events on the set of The Misfits back in 1961, as Monroe struggled to complete the movie under the differently motivated persuasions of husband (Miller), director (Huston), and acting coaches (Lee and Paula Strasberg). In this satire of the movie industry, the central character of Kitty, to whom all the others appear to be constantly pleading for things they need without any real thought about her needs, has no actual lines, and scant appearance. The producer Phil Ochsner seems the most compassionate (perhaps an older version of Miller himself, rather than the less sympathetic husband of Kitty in the play called Paul), and he is rewarded by a burgeoning relationship between him and Kitty’s also sympathetic secretary, Edna (possibly modelled on Agnes Barley, Miller’s much younger girlfriend at the time).



Focus (1945) His only published full-length novel, Focus tells the story of Lawrence Newman, an anti-Semite, whose life is transformed with the addition of a pair of eyeglasses. Newman has spent his focusentire life discriminating against minorities, his job as an HR man at a racist Corporation even insists on this, but after wearing a pair of eyeglasses which alter his physical appearance, he is mistaken for a Jew. Friends, neighbors and just people in the street who once treated him with respect now treat him with hostility as he becomes the target of discriminatory behavior he once judiciously dealt to others, and when he is demoted at work his pride insists that he quit his job. Looking like a Jew he now, ironically, has trouble finding an alternate position, and he eventually gets a job through the help of Gertrude, whom he had refuse to employ earlier as he had wrongly suspected she was Jewish. She then entraps him into marriage; he is a lonely bachelor living with his mom and she wants someone to allow her to give up work. Through his evolving relationship with both Mr. Finkelstein–the local Jewish store owner who is being persecuted–and the growing callousness of his money-digger girlfriend/wife Gertrude, who runs away rather than help him when attacked, he begins to see with different eyes. By the close of the novel, Newman comes to accept his connection with the Jews and earnestly embraces his responsibility to his fellow men, heading down to the police station to report a recent incident.


Homely Girl: A Life and Other Stories (1992) Published in England in 1995 as Plain Girl.  The title story tells the life of Janice Sessions, a woman who lives through the tumultous 1950s to find her homelygirlsocialist convictions challenged and her marriage a sham. Her husband Sam tends denigrate and to force her to follow his ideas and she feels crushed by him; when he confesses to some inappropriate sexual behavior during the war she has her excuse to divorce him. She eventually finds happiness with a blind man who accepts her for who she is, and is a far more sensitive partner, and even after he dies, she has learned enough about herself to be able to carry on happily. The other two stories in the collection are reprints of “Fame” and Fitter’s Night” which appeared in Miller’s first collection I Don’t Need You Anymore (described below).




I Don’t Need You Anymore (1967) There is a short introduction in which Miller explains how he sees the following short stories as unintentionally interrelating, and what he sees as the difference idontseebetween short stories and plays. The title story is about a five year old Jewish boy who expresses a desire to see the wider world, and begins his growth away from maternal cushioning, to his mother’s displeasure and father approval.  “Fitter’s Night” is set in the Brooklyn Naval Yard during WW2 and is the only previously unpublished story in the collection; it follows a night’s work in the life of Tony Calabrese, an Italian-American with a dubious past, who had married for a non-existent dowry, but finds some dignity in completing a dangerous task and winning the respect of the ship’s captain. “Monte Sant Angelo” introduces us to Bernstein, an American Jew who accompanies his friend’s search in an Italian village for relatives.  Knowing his relatives to be dead in the Holocaust, Bernstein is surprised to recognize someone, however, it is not someone he knows but a fellow Jew (although this man is unaware of his Jewishness but follows the Shabbat rituals).  This encounter gives Berstein a renewed sense of connection and self-esteem.  “Please Don’t Kill Anything,” based on a similar event in Miller’s time with Marilyn Monroe, shows a couple walking on the beach watching the fishermen, who involve themselves in saving the “useless” fish by throwing them back into the sea.  “Glimpse at a Jockey” is mostly conversation as a New York jockey chats to a stranger in a bar, expressing his distaste with all the pressure to win, and telling how he found his long lost father and bought him a lawnmower.  “The Prophecy” tells of the complicated relations between couples who threaten infidelity and live their lives in petty dispute.  Cleota tries to seduce neighbor Joe, who turns her down, but then tries it on when she apologizes, flattering her ego, but now finding her resistant.  Various prophecies (some false) regarding death, and couples splitting up give a sense of how it is personal resolve rather than fate which keeps people together or splits them apart.  In “A Search for a Future” a son learns from his elderly father how to appreciate life by being involved in it and having goals, rather than hiding behind a facade of acting all the time and pretending things don’t matter.  “The Misfits,” is the story from which the movie evolved, and it is a  simpler tale in which Roslyn plays only a minor role.  Three drifters go mustanging; Gay has left his unfaithful wife, but misses his children.  He is seeing Roslyn, but suspects she prefers his partner Perce, a minor rodeo star.  Their pilot is suicidal from losing his wife during childbirth.  They catch five horses and head into town.  Their lives are minor, but they are content.  “Fame” (also made into a movie) tells of a rich and famous playwright, Meyer Berkowitz, who is sick of insincere adulation, and wants for people to see the real him over the media image and treat him more naturally.  He meets an old friend at a bar who at first does not connect him with his fame, but when he does becomes less chummy and leaves, evidence of Meyer’s complaint.



Jane’s Blanket (1963) This children’s book, dedicated to Miller’s first daughter, Jane (an adult at the time, but around the janesblankettime Miller gains another daughter, Rebecca and begins a new family), tells the tale of young girl who carries a blanket around with her for security when she is very young.  As she grows older she becomes less and less reliant on the blanket, though it is a release which she at times finds difficult. The blanket eventually disintegrates with age and the last few threads are taken by a bird to line its nest, and Jane is led to an acceptance of this development by the gentle guidance of her father. This was printed in two editions using different illustrators; the original was drawn by Al Parker, and then a 1972 reprint used Emily A. McCully.



Presence: Stories (2008) This collection brings together six pieces that appeared in magazines toward the end of Miller’s life; all, in their ways, celebrate redemption through love. The blocked, presenceaging writer of “The Bare Manuscript” hires a flesh-and-muscle six-foot-tall model, hoping to tap into the sexual vigor of his early genius by inscribing new work directly onto her body; what unspools are the sad story of his marriage and tender memories of courtship. In “Beavers,” a country homeowner is mesmerized by the astounding energy of the beavers that appear one day in his pond, and whose redundant work seems to parallel the futility of human effort, yet also to bravely mimic human emotion. “The Performance” finds the Jewish head of an American tap-dancing troupe, in Berlin just before WWII, invited to perform in front of Hitler himself. “The Turpentine Still” presents a portrait of a man examining his legacy. A 13-year-old boy’s life is transformed by getting a new puppy, or rather, by his sexual initiation with the woman who gives him the dog in the opening “Bulldog,” while in the closing title story, “Presence,” an older man discovers a couple making love on the beach, triggering a flood of recollection.


Situation Normal. . . (1944) Based on his experiences researching the war correspondence of Ernie Pyle, Miller relates Stateside interviews he made with various situationnormalsoldiers and veterans, warts and all. Some of this evidently provided background for Chris’ war experience in All My Sons.


In Russia (1969) The first of three books created with his photographer and wife Inge Morath. This one offers insights regarding Miller’s impressions of Russian writers, culture, politics and society. The couple visit homes of the great Russian writers and the settings for some of their writing, and get to travel throughout the country with extraordinary freedom. While Miller sees some differences between American and Russian cultures, he also spots a lot of evident similarities.inrussia


In the Country  (1977) A mix of photographs by Inge Morath and text by Miller, here we get a great insight inthecountryinto how Miller spent his time in Roxbury, Connecticut and learn about his various neighbors, some of which provided characters for his work.


Chinese Encounters (1979) Chinese Encounters takes the form of a travel journal liberally illustrated with photographs provided by Miller’s wife, Inge Morath. Chinese Encounters depicts the Chinese society in the state of flux which followed the end of the Cultural Revolution. chineseMiller discusses the hardships of many writers, professors, and artists as they try to regain the sense of freedom and place ripped from them under Mao’s rule.


“Salesman” in Beijing (1984) Written about the production of Death of a Salesman at the Beijing People’s Theatre in 1983, which was a landmark production through which the Chinese opened themselves up to the possibilities of Western theater. Miller describes the idiosyncrasies, misunderstandings, and insights of salesmaninbeijingdirecting a Chinese cast in his decidedly American play. Miller–and his readers–realize that the play’s themes transcend cultural borders. The book includes several photographs which document dramatic scenes from the production as well as Miller’s experiences crafting this play for a Chinese audience.


The Theater Essays of Arthur Miller  (1978, updated 1996) Contains a variety of essays outlining Miller’s views about his own plays, the state of  professional theater in America, and playwriting in general. theatreessaysIncludes such famous pieces as his “Tragedy and the Common Man” that offers a modern take on how tragedy should be judged, “The Family in Modern Drama,” that explains how he uses families in his work to represent the wider society, and “On Social Plays,” in which Miller shares his opinion that social drama is the only kind worth writing, as well as the “Introduction” to his Collected Plays that is one of the lengthiest essays on drama by a dramatist in the twentieth century. There are also included a good variety of interviews with the playwright.


Timebends: A Life (1987) Incredibly insightful to those fascinated with Miller’s creative genius, his autobiography relates the intimate details of his boyhood in Harlem, his college years at the University of Michigan, and the finer points of his three marriages-including his infamous union with Marilyn Monroe. Perhaps of greatest interest are Miller’s descriptions of his meetings and connections with the likes of Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams, Saul Bellow, timebendsand many political figures such as Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy, and Mikhail Gorbachev. Miller’s confrontation with the House Un-American Activities Committee is described in vivid detail, as is his involvement as President of the International PEN organization. The book includes thirty-two pages of photographs and a helpful index. For those who wish to really know the man behind the work, this is a must read, even though the emphasis remains on his writing rather than his personal life.


Echoes Down the Corridors: Collected Essays 1944-2000  (2000) 
This collection deals more with Miller’s political and social musings over the years, although there are inevitably many essays that also deal with his playsechoes in relation to these issues.  A good companion to the earlier Theater Essays collection, though there is some overlap, as Miller returns to similar subject matter and comes to the same conclusions. 


Politics and the Art of Acting (2001)
The expanded version of Miller’s 2001 Jefferson Lecture. While pointing out humorous connections between American presidents and actors, Miller ultimately calls for the public to question the politicsauthenticity of its political leaders, and demand a more substantive theater as a corrective to the distorted politics of the time.




Selected non-dramatic articles/publications by Miller 2000-2005 

  • A short story titled “Beavers” was published in Harper’s Magazine, February, 2005: 79-82.
  • The novella The Turpentine Still was published in Southwest Review89.4 (2004): 479-520.
  • AUTHORS AGAINST AIDS Woody Allen, Margaret Atwood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gunter Grass, Arthur Miller, Kenzaburo Oe, Amos Oz, Salman Rushdie, Susan Sontag and John Updike are among 21 authors who have contributed without fee or royalty to Telling Tales, a story collection compiled by Nadine Gordimer, above, the Nobel prize-winning South African author. All proceeds from the sale of the book, published by Picador/Farrar, Straus & Giroux on Dec. 1 to coincide with World AIDS Day, are donated to H.I.V./AIDS preventive education and medical treatment for South Africans. Miller’s contribution is titled “Bulldog.”
  • “A Line to Walk On” in Harper’s Magazine, Nov, 2000.  Read at Harper’s website.  A memoir about several vaudeville people Miller had known.
  • A piece by Arthur Miller – a memoir about living in the Chelsea Hotel in the early 60s and his admiration for Brendan Behan – appears in Granta magazine. The full text is on their website.
  • A short story titled “The Performance” by Arthur Miller was published in New Yorker April 22/29, 2002, pages 176-88.
  • A short story titled “The Bare Manuscript” by Arthur Miller appeared in New Yorker December 16, 2002, pages 82-93.  You can read this here.
  • A short story titled “The Presence” by Arthur Miller appeared in Esquire July 2003 pages 106-09.
  • A short editorial on the relevance of the current Broadway theater to real life, titled “Spring Theater: Looking for a Conscience” in New York Times February 23rd, 2003. (Sunday; 842 words)
  • Terry McCoy is the editor of Cuba on the Verge: An Island In Transition, published by Bulfinch Press, 2003. The book includes an introduction by William Kennedy, and an epilogue by Arthur Miller, and essays about the contemporary Cuban experience by writers including Russell Banks, Susan Orlean, Abilio Estévez, and Ana Menéndez. A shortened version of Miller’s contribution: “My dinner with Castro” came out January 24 2004, and can be viewed here.
  • The new book Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism, by writer and social critic Susan Jacoby, is a historical work but it is also an unabashed polemic on a topical issue: the role of religion in public life in modern-day America. In the opening pages, Jacoby cites President Bush’s presiding over an ecumenical prayer service at Washington’s National Cathedral three days after the Sept. 11 attacks as evidence of “the erosion of America’s secularist tradition.” The book’s publicity emphasizes this theme: The publisher’s press release and four of the six blurbs (including ones from playwright Arthur Miller and historian Arthur Schlesinger) assert that free thought in America is under “unprecedented attack” from a rising tide of official religiosity.
  • “Miller gives lukewarm backing to Gore” by Michelle Pauli, Books Unlimited, October 13 2000.  Read this interview with Miller covering a range of subjects printed in The Guardian on October 12th, 2000 here.
  • “Why Elia should get his Oscar” by Arthur Miller March 6, 1999 at the Guardian website.  Also check out the two part article about the 1950s blacklist, The Crucible, and related thoughts: “Are you now or were you ever…?” (part 1) June 17, 2000, and Are you now or were you ever…? (part 2) June 17, 2000, There are also many other articles about Miller and other people who are integral to his life at the Guardian website.  They are easily searchable in the Achives section.  Go to the home page for Guardian Unlimited Online.


Our teaching guides page offers a mix of information guides to various plays, ideas for classroom activities, and short articles to introduce interesting topics for discussion, which we are freely offering to encourage and facilitate the teaching of Miller’s works at all levels. Just click on the links on the page to get to the materials described. If anyone has any further lesson plans, activities, topics etc. they would like to share with other teachers by adding to this site, please contact Sue Abbotson. We also provide some useful bibliographies, including selected primary and secondary bibliographies, and a listing of Dissertations (mostly culled from WorldCat, but including BA, MA and PhD) that feature Arthur Miller and his work, from the first one completed in 1949 to 2016.

Teaching Guides

Primary Bibliography of Miller’s Works

Selected Secondary Bibliography