Arthur Miller at 100: The Socrates of American Theatre, he didn’t need to be well-liked

Breffni Cummiskey

“A play, even the angry and critical kind, is always on one level a love letter to the world, from which a loving acknowledgment is eagerly awaited. The trick, of course, is how to face the turndown and go back and write another letter – and to the same lover, no less.”

Arthur Miller was the Socrates of American theatre – the gadfly stinging America from its torpor with his plays about American families, their betrayals and denials. His social commentary was poignant because he rooted it in the language of human relationships rather than polemic.

Miller would have been a hundred years old today, October 17th 2015. He died ten years ago having written some of the greatest stage dramas of the twentieth century.

By the middle of the twentieth century Miller had achieved literary fame as a major playwright with four plays in the space of eight years: All…

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