Study Guide

Arthur Miller After the Fall

After the Fall

In 1962, Miller married photographer Inge Morath. The couple had two children and remained married until her death in 2002. While his personal life had never been better––minus the whole, "death in 2002" thing––Miller never again enjoyed the critical and commercial success of the 1940s and '50s. However, his output never diminished, and his later plays explored the personal as well as the political. 

In 1964 he wrote After the Fall, a play whose main character strongly resembled Marilyn Monroe. Critics slammed the playwright and accused him of exploiting his ex-wife's recent death. Miller claimed the resemblance was purely coincidental and that tons of people are named Barilyn Bonroe. 

Fine, the main character's name is Maggie. You're all such sticklers for "facts"... 

Four year later he wrote The Price, a play about two brothers coming to grips with their father's recent death. Miller's own father had died just a few years before.

Miller also became more involved with liberal political causes. He was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War, and attended the 1968 Democratic National Convention as a delegate. He was elected president of PEN, an international organization of writers dedicated to human rights, and he lobbied on behalf of writers censored or imprisoned around the world. 

His interest in the cause of silenced writers in the Soviet Union led him to write the play The Archbishop's Ceiling, which opened in the U.S. in 1977 to lackluster reviews. However, when the play premiered in Britain a few years later, audiences responded passionately, leading to a revival of Miller's work in the United Kingdom. 

Other plays responded directly to historical events that touched him, whether it was The Ride Down Mt. Morgan (a take on the Reagan years) or Broken Glass (a play about Kristallnacht, the Nazis' 1938 attack against Germany's Jewish citizens). His final play, Finishing the Picture, premiered in 2004, just before Miller's 89th birthday and only a few months before his death on February 10th, 2005 at home in Connecticut.

In his final years, Miller often spoke of his frustration with modern theater. He thought that big-budget, feel-good junk like The Lion King was pushing intelligent plays with social commentary off the stage. 

It also pushed caring, loving fathers off of cliffs, but that's another story. 

He mourned the fact that plays like The Crucible would likely not be produced today, owing to their large cast, overt political message, and lack of singing lions. If profits were the only thing driving theater, he said, the sense of social justice that drove him and other playwrights to write would be useless. "If the thing is gonna be regarded the same as the fish business, it ain't gonna work,"

And as fish businesses once said about Arthur Miller, "that guy makes us so mad, we could just krill someone," then high-fived some more and clocked out for the day.

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