Zitate Arthur Miller

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

—  Arthur Miller, After the Fall

After the Fall (1964)
Kontext: 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)
Kontext: 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.

„The possibility of victory must be there in tragedy.“

—  Arthur Miller

Tragedy and the Common Man (1949)
Kontext: The possibility of victory must be there in tragedy. Where pathos rules, where pathos is finally derived, a character has fought a battle he could not possibly have won. The pathetic is achieved when the protagonist is, by virtue of his witlessness, his insensitivity, or the very air he gives off, incapable of grappling with a much superior force.
Pathos truly is the mode for the pessimist. But tragedy requires a nicer balance between what is possible and what is impossible. And it is curious, although edifying, that the plays we revere, century after century, are the tragedies. In them, and in them alone, lies the belief — optimistic, if you will, in the perfectibility of man.
It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time — the heart and spirit of the average man.

„The concentration camp is the final expression of human separateness and its ultimate consequence. It is organized abandonment.“

—  Arthur Miller

Paris Review (Summer 1966)
Kontext: If you complain of people being shot down in the streets, of the absence of communication or social responsibility, of the rise of everyday violence which people have become accustomed to, and the dehumanization of feelings, then the ultimate development on an organized social level is the concentration camp... The concentration camp is the final expression of human separateness and its ultimate consequence. It is organized abandonment.

„If only for this reason I regard the theater as a serious business, one that makes or should make man more human, which is to say, less alone.“

—  Arthur Miller

Collected Plays (1958) Introduction, Section 2
Kontext: My conception of the audience is of a public each member of which is carrying about with him what he thinks is an anxiety, or a hope, or a preoccupation which is his alone and isolates him from mankind; and in this respect at least the function of a play is to reveal him to himself so that he may touch others by virtue of the revelation of his mutuality with them. If only for this reason I regard the theater as a serious business, one that makes or should make man more human, which is to say, less alone.

„It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time — the heart and spirit of the average man.“

—  Arthur Miller

Tragedy and the Common Man (1949)
Kontext: The possibility of victory must be there in tragedy. Where pathos rules, where pathos is finally derived, a character has fought a battle he could not possibly have won. The pathetic is achieved when the protagonist is, by virtue of his witlessness, his insensitivity, or the very air he gives off, incapable of grappling with a much superior force.
Pathos truly is the mode for the pessimist. But tragedy requires a nicer balance between what is possible and what is impossible. And it is curious, although edifying, that the plays we revere, century after century, are the tragedies. In them, and in them alone, lies the belief — optimistic, if you will, in the perfectibility of man.
It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time — the heart and spirit of the average man.

„I cannot write anything that I understand too well. If I know what something means to me, if I have already come to the end of it as an experience, I can't write it because it seems a twice-told tale.“

—  Arthur Miller

"The State of the Theatre" an interview by Henry Brandon in Harpers 221 (November 1960)
Kontext: I cannot write anything that I understand too well. If I know what something means to me, if I have already come to the end of it as an experience, I can't write it because it seems a twice-told tale. I have to astonish myself, and that of course is a very costly way of going about things, because you can go up a dead end and discover that it's beyond your capacity to discover some organism underneath your feeling, and you're left simply with a formless feeling which is not itself art. It's inexpressible and one must leave it until it is hardened and becomes something that has form and has some possibility of being communicated. It might take a year or two or three or four to emerge.

„I have seen too many frightful proofs in court — the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points!“

—  Arthur Miller, The Crucible

John Hale
The Crucible (1953)
Kontext: Though our own hearts break, we cannot flinch; these are new times, sir. There is a misty plot afoot so subtle we should be criminal to cling to old respect and ancient friendships. I have seen too many frightful proofs in court — the Devil is alive in Salem, and we dare not quail to follow wherever the accusing finger points!

„Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person.“

—  Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Linda
Death of a Salesman (1949)
Kontext: I don't say he's a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He's not the finest character that ever lived. But he's a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He's not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person.

„He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine.“

—  Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Charley
Death of a Salesman (1949)
Kontext: Nobody dast blame this man. Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back — that's an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.

„Is the accuser always holy now?“

—  Arthur Miller, The Crucible

John Proctor
The Crucible (1953)
Kontext: Is the accuser always holy now? Were they born this morning as clean as God's fingers? I'll tell you what's walking Salem — vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! This warrant's vengeance! I'll not give my wife to vengeance!

„Tragedy enlightens — and it must, in that it points the heroic finger at the enemy of man's freedom. The thrust for freedom is the quality in tragedy which exalts. The revolutionary questioning of the stable environment is what terrifies.“

—  Arthur Miller

Tragedy and the Common Man (1949)
Kontext: The tragic right is a condition of life, a condition in which the human personality is able to flower and realize itself. The wrong is the condition which suppresses man, perverts the flowing out of his love and creative instinct. Tragedy enlightens — and it must, in that it points the heroic finger at the enemy of man's freedom. The thrust for freedom is the quality in tragedy which exalts. The revolutionary questioning of the stable environment is what terrifies.

„It is always and forever the same struggle: to perceive somehow our own complicity with evil is a horror not to be borne. … much more reassuring to see the world in terms of totally innocent victims and totally evil instigators of the monstrous violence we see all about us. At all costs, never disturb our innocence.“

—  Arthur Miller

"With respect for Her Agony — but with Love" in LIFE magazine (7 February 1964)
Kontext: It is always and forever the same struggle: to perceive somehow our own complicity with evil is a horror not to be borne. … much more reassuring to see the world in terms of totally innocent victims and totally evil instigators of the monstrous violence we see all about us. At all costs, never disturb our innocence. But what is the most innocent place in any country? Is it not the insane asylum? These people drift through life truly innocent, unable to see into themselves at all. The perfection of innocence, indeed, is madness.

„The way out, as the poet says, is always through.“

—  Arthur Miller

National Observer (20 January 1964)
Kontext: The best of our theater is standing on tiptoe, striving to see over the shoulders of father and mother. The worst is exploiting and wallowing in the self-pity of adolescence and obsessive keyhole sexuality. The way out, as the poet says, is always through.

„It's inexpressible and one must leave it until it is hardened and becomes something that has form and has some possibility of being communicated. It might take a year or two or three or four to emerge.“

—  Arthur Miller

"The State of the Theatre" an interview by Henry Brandon in Harpers 221 (November 1960)
Kontext: I cannot write anything that I understand too well. If I know what something means to me, if I have already come to the end of it as an experience, I can't write it because it seems a twice-told tale. I have to astonish myself, and that of course is a very costly way of going about things, because you can go up a dead end and discover that it's beyond your capacity to discover some organism underneath your feeling, and you're left simply with a formless feeling which is not itself art. It's inexpressible and one must leave it until it is hardened and becomes something that has form and has some possibility of being communicated. It might take a year or two or three or four to emerge.

„A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.“

—  Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman

Charley
Death of a Salesman (1949)
Kontext: Nobody dast blame this man. Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back — that's an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.

„Officials wept; they were speechless after the play, and everyone knew why. It was because they had to enforce the kind of repression the play was attacking.“

—  Arthur Miller

On The Crucible, in a 1987 interview; 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=
Kontext: I was very moved by that play once again when the Royal Shakespeare Company did a production that toured the cathedrals of England. Then they took it to Poland and performed it in the cathedrals there, too. The actors said it changed their lives. Officials wept; they were speechless after the play, and everyone knew why. It was because they had to enforce the kind of repression the play was attacking. That made me prouder than anything I ever did in my life. The mission of the theater, after all, is to change, to raise the consciousness of people to their human possibilities.

„By whatever means it is accomplished, the prime business of a play is to arouse the passions of its audience so that by the route of passion may be opened up new relationships between a man and men, and between men and Man.“

—  Arthur Miller

Collected Plays (1958) Introduction, Section 7
Kontext: By whatever means it is accomplished, the prime business of a play is to arouse the passions of its audience so that by the route of passion may be opened up new relationships between a man and men, and between men and Man. Drama is akin to the other inventions of man in that it ought to help us to know more, and not merely to spend our feelings.

„There is a misconception of tragedy with which I have been struck in review after review, and in many conversations with writers and readers alike. It is the idea that tragedy is of necessity allied to pessimism.“

—  Arthur Miller

Tragedy and the Common Man (1949)
Kontext: There is a misconception of tragedy with which I have been struck in review after review, and in many conversations with writers and readers alike. It is the idea that tragedy is of necessity allied to pessimism. Even the dictionary says nothing more about the word than that it means a story with a sad or unhappy ending. This impression is so firmly fixed that I almost hesitate to claim that in truth tragedy implies more optimism in its author than does comedy, and that its final result ought to be the reinforcement of the onlooker's brightest opinions of the human animal.
For, if it is true to say that in essence the tragic hero is intent upon claiming his whole due as a personality, and if this struggle must be total and without reservation, then it automatically demonstrates the indestructible will of man to achieve his humanity.

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

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