By Christopher Bigsby
Christopher Bigsby explores all of Arthur Miller's paintings, together with performs, poetry, fiction and prose, during this entire learn. utilizing formerly unpublished and unknown fabric, together with conversations with Miller, Bigsby paints a compelling photo of the way Miller's works have been stimulated by means of, and created within the mild of, occasions of the 20th and twenty-first centuries.
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Extra info for Arthur Miller: A Critical Study
News of the attacks comes over the radio and slowly the professor’s cover is blown. He stabs his collaborationist ally and is arrested. The play ends as Kelley tries to patch his draft card together, having learned that there is no separate peace, that what happens in Brooklyn is part of the larger battle for survival. Boro Hall Nocturne is scarcely a subtle work but these were not subtle times and Broadway, Hollywood and radio were all enrolled in the battle, staging the drama of America’s struggle against forces internal and external at a time when there was little to celebrate on the battlefield itself.
It is a portrait of a man who glimpses an ideal and in the name of that ideal compromises himself and betrays others, a theme which Miller had encountered in his reading of Ibsen and which, like Fitzgerald, he would come to see had a bearing on the utopianism of his own society. In The Golden Years two supposed realities, each founded in myth, collide, as language is seen as an agent equally of the mind and the imagination. Cortes and Montezuma are actor–director–stage managers, setting the stage (Cortes directs his men as to where they should stand, what they should wear, what stage business they should perform; Montezuma self-consciously performs rituals and instructs his followers in their roles), wearing costumes designed to compel belief, offering speeches carefully calculated to sustain their versions of the real.
And by no hand but his own. For while his eyes were searching heaven for meanings and signs, a sword was pointing at his breast, and as it caught the light with such brilliant glare, it seemed to hold the sanction of the sun, and he dared not turn the killing blade away. 7 The Golden Years is a play that warns against metaphor, even while deploying it. Cortes’s power lies in his manipulation of myth and symbol as Montezuma’s weakness lies in his refusal to see the world, and his own omissions and commissions for what they are.