Arthur Miller quotes

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Arthur Miller

Birthdate: 17. October 1915
Date of death: 10. February 2005

Arthur Asher Miller was an American playwright, essayist, and a controversial figure in the twentieth-century American theater. Among his most popular plays are All My Sons , Death of a Salesman , The Crucible and A View from the Bridge . He wrote several screenplays and was most noted for his work on The Misfits . The drama Death of a Salesman has been numbered on the short list of finest American plays in the 20th century.

Miller was often in the public eye, particularly during the late 1940s, 1950s and early 1960s. During this time, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee and was married to Marilyn Monroe. In 1980, Miller received the St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University Library Associates. He received the Prince of Asturias Award, the Praemium Imperiale prize in 2002 and the Jerusalem Prize in 2003, as well as the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize in 1999. Wikipedia

Works

The Crucible
The Crucible
Arthur Miller
Death of a Salesman
Death of a Salesman
Arthur Miller
After the Fall
After the Fall
Arthur Miller
All My Sons
All My Sons
Arthur Miller
The Price
The Price
Arthur Miller

„My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness, when in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people's suffering“

—  Arthur Miller

1963 interview, used in The Century of the Self (2002)
Context: My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness, when in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people's suffering; that the problem is not to undo suffering or to wipe it off the face of the earth but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to cure ourselves of it constantly and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call "happiness." There's too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him. Of defining him rather than letting him go. It's part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad.

„I think it's a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one's self.“

—  Arthur Miller, After the Fall

After the Fall (1964)
Context: I think it's a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one's self. One day the house smells of fresh bread, the next of smoke and blood. One day you faint because the gardener cuts his finger off, within a week you're climbing over corpses of children bombed in a subway. What hope can there be if that is so? I tried to die near the end of the war. The same dream returned each night until I dared not to go to sleep and grew quite ill. I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept onto my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought, if I could kiss it, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible … but I kissed it. I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms.

„I've almost asked that question, then realized it's good for my soul not to know. For a while! Just to let the evening wear on and see what I think of this person without knowing what he does and how successful he is, or what a failure. We're ranking everybody every minute of the day.“

—  Arthur Miller

Paris Review (Summer 1966)
Context: Success, instead of giving freedom of choice, becomes a way of life. There's no country I've been to where people, when you come into a room and sit down with them, so often ask you, "What do you do?" And, being American, many's the time I've almost asked that question, then realized it's good for my soul not to know. For a while! Just to let the evening wear on and see what I think of this person without knowing what he does and how successful he is, or what a failure. We're ranking everybody every minute of the day.

„Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.“

—  Arthur Miller

As quoted in Finding Your Bipolar Muse : How to Master Depressive Droughts and Manic Depression (2006) by Lana R. Castle, p. 258

„There's too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him. Of defining him rather than letting him go. It's part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad.“

—  Arthur Miller

1963 interview, used in The Century of the Self (2002)
Context: My argument with so much of psychoanalysis, is the preconception that suffering is a mistake, or a sign of weakness, or a sign even of illness, when in fact, possibly the greatest truths we know have come out of people's suffering; that the problem is not to undo suffering or to wipe it off the face of the earth but to make it inform our lives, instead of trying to cure ourselves of it constantly and avoid it, and avoid anything but that lobotomized sense of what they call "happiness." There's too much of an attempt, it seems to me, to think in terms of controlling man, rather than freeing him. Of defining him rather than letting him go. It's part of the whole ideology of this age, which is power-mad.

Citát „Everything we are is at every moment alive in us.“

„Just remember, kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a word that you gave away.“

—  Arthur Miller

Variant: You can quicker get back a million dollars that was stolen than a word that you gave away.
Source: A View from the Bridge: A Play in Two Acts

„Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.“

—  Arthur Miller, The Ride Down Mt. Morgan

Act 1
The Ride Down Mount Morgan (1991)
Source: The Ride Down Mt. Morgan

„I'm a fatalist. … I consider I am rejected in principle. My work is and, through my work, I am. If it's accepted, it's miraculous or the result of a misunderstanding.“

—  Arthur Miller

As quoted in "Arthur Miller, Moral Voice of American Stage, Dies at 89" by Marilyn Berger in The New York Times (11 February 2005) http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/11/theater/newsandfeatures/11cnd-miller.html?ei=5070&en=3842d0df3195ba4c&ex=1148356800&adxnnlx=1148209567-ZnjnGzbndB3P1XvCU5BNDg&pagewanted=all&position=

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„The Crucible became by far my most frequently produced play, both abroad and at home. Its meaning is somewhat different in different places and moments.“

—  Arthur Miller

Timebends : A Life (1987)
Context: The Crucible became by far my most frequently produced play, both abroad and at home. Its meaning is somewhat different in different places and moments. I can almost tell what the political situation in a country is when the play is suddenly a hit there — it is either a warning of tyranny on the way or a reminder of tyranny just past.

„In this age few tragedies are written.“

—  Arthur Miller

Tragedy and the Common Man (1949)
Context: In this age few tragedies are written. It has often been held that the lack is due to a paucity of heroes among us, or else that modern man has had the blood drawn out of his organs of belief by the skepticism of science, and the heroic attack on life cannot feed on an attitude of reserve and circumspection. For one reason or another, we are often held to be below tragedy — or tragedy above us.

„He is a kind of psychic journalist, even when he's great.“

—  Arthur Miller

Paris Review (Summer 1966)
Context: A playwright … is … the litmus paper of the arts. He's got to be, because if he isn't working on the same wave length as the audience, no one would know what in hell he was talking about. He is a kind of psychic journalist, even when he's great.

„Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God any more.“

—  Arthur Miller, The Crucible

John Proctor
The Crucible (1953)
Context: I have trouble enough without I come five mile to hear him preach only hellfire and bloody damnation. Take it to heart, Mr. Parris. There are many others who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God any more.

„A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between.“

—  Arthur Miller, The Crucible

Deputy Governor Danforth
The Crucible (1953)
Context: A person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time — we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world.

„Tragedy, then, is the consequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly.“

—  Arthur Miller

Tragedy and the Common Man (1949)
Context: I think the tragic feeling is evoked in us when we are in the presence of a character who is ready to lay down his life, if need be, to secure one thing — his sense of personal dignity. From Orestes to Hamlet, Medea to Macbeth, the underlying struggle is that of the individual attempting to gain his "rightful" position in his society.
Sometimes he is one who has been displaced from it, sometimes one who seeks to attain it for the first time, but the fateful wound from which the inevitable events spiral is the wound of indignity and its dominant force is indignation. Tragedy, then, is the consequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly.

„A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth!“

—  Arthur Miller, The Crucible

John Proctor
The Crucible (1953)
Context: A fire, a fire is burning! I hear the boot of Lucifer, I see his filthy face! And it is my face, and yours, Danforth! For them that quail to bring men out of ignorance, as I have quailed, and as you quail now when you know in all your black hearts that this be fraud — God damns our kind especially, and we will burn, we will burn together!

„I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms.“

—  Arthur Miller, After the Fall

After the Fall (1964)
Context: I think it's a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one's self. One day the house smells of fresh bread, the next of smoke and blood. One day you faint because the gardener cuts his finger off, within a week you're climbing over corpses of children bombed in a subway. What hope can there be if that is so? I tried to die near the end of the war. The same dream returned each night until I dared not to go to sleep and grew quite ill. I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept onto my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought, if I could kiss it, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible … but I kissed it. I think one must finally take one's life in one's arms.

„More important, from this total questioning of what has previously been unquestioned, we learn.“

—  Arthur Miller

Tragedy and the Common Man (1949)
Context: Only the passive, only those who accept their lot without active retaliation, are "flawless." Most of us are in that category.
But there are among us today, as there always have been, those who act against the scheme of things that degrades them, and in the process of action everything we have accepted out of fear of insensitivity or ignorance is shaken before us and examined, and from this total onslaught by an individual against the seemingly stable cosmos surrounding us — from this total examination of the "unchangeable" environment — comes the terror and the fear that is classically associated with tragedy. More important, from this total questioning of what has previously been unquestioned, we learn.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“

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