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Degradation of America in All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible.

The Degradation of America in All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible

Arthur Miller was, as a playwright, very critical of American society. He condemned every aspect and satirized every ideal of modern American culture, from democracy to the American dream. He degraded every part of Western civilization down to a much more basic and much more negative idea – capitalism became greed, and rule by the people became rule by the mob. Many people of his era saw him as anti-American, and in many ways, he was.

Each of Miller’s plays focuses on fundamental aspects of humanity. Miller chose to represent these qualities in direct relation to American society, and contrasted the sacred ideals of democracy and capitalism with the true nature of mankind. He blamed the faults of democracy onto mankind at an individual basis, and used the “American everyman” as an example to prove his point. This technique was very successful in Miller’s three most important works – All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible.

All three of these plays deal with different aspects of American democracy. In All My Sons, Miller criticizes both domestic and international failures of democracy, especially in relationship to World War II. American soldiers made great sacrifices for their friends and for their country, even giving up their lives to save that of a fellow soldier. They were fighting to protect the American way of life, which according to Miller, was in effect nothing. American soldiers were dying out in Europe and the Pacific so that Americans at home could buy refrigerators and new cars. According to Chris, one of two characters Miller used to represent the American soldier, “[The A…

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…btain happiness through money and fail. Larry and Proctor, along with numerous Puritans and American pilots, are all characters Miller used to demonstrate the terrible effects capitalism can have even on the innocent. The American way of life revolves around capitalism, and capitalism is based solely on money; therefore the American way of life is faulted to the point of being unworkable.

Works Cited

Hayman, Ronald. Arthur Miller. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1972.

Miller, Arthur. All My Sons. New York: The Viking Press, 1957.

– – -. Introduction. Arthur Miller’s Collected Plays. New York: The Viking Press, 1957.

– – -. Death of a Salesman. New York: The Viking Press, 1957.

– – -. The Crucible. New York: The Viking Press, 1957.

Moss, Leonard. Arthur Miller. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1967.

A Hero of Our Time – Gregoriy Pechorin is No Hero

A Hero of Our Time – Gregoriy Pechorin is No Hero

Is Pechorin, the protagonist of Mikhail Lermontov’s novella A Hero of Our Time an honorable man? Much of Pechorin’s behavior proves him to be a cruel and insensitive man, who seems to bring only havoc and destruction to a situation. He is often aggravating, self-serving and insensitive to others. However in other instances, Pechorin proves himself to be the least reprehensible character. He shows himself to be a man with great self knowledge and knowledge of human behavior.

Pechorin can be seen as a dangerous man, who is insensitive and manipulative to others for self-serving reasons to the point of their destruction. Over the course of this book, A Hero of Our Time, Pechorin plays a major role, whether intentionally or recklessly, in the cruel destruction of four secondary characters: Princess Mary, Grushnitsky, Bela and Maxim Maximych.

Pechorin finds entertainment in playing with people’s lives and emotions. Princess Mary, the young beautiful and slightly pompous Moscow princess and Grushnitisky, a young, arrogant, superficial and self-centered cadet, two young people beginning to fall in love, are Pechorin’s victims. “The stage is set,” Pechorin cries, delighted, to his friend Dr. Werner, “We’ll see if we can provide a denouement for this comedy. Evidently fate means to see that I am not bored.”(102-103) Envious of their happiness, particularly Grushnitsky’s, as well as their utter blindness, Pechorin takes it upon himself to make sure their relationship is obliterated. He uses their individual and human weakness against them.

The most manipulated character of this novel is Princess Mary. The majority of her interactions with Pechorin serve only to…

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… be truly blamed for his behavior because he is tormented by eyes that seek truth and purity in a corrupt and deranged society. Pechorin is a man of contradictions, for he writes honestly to himself, “I was born with a passion for contradiction. My whole life has been nothing but a series of dismal, unsuccessful attempts to go against heart or reason.” (98)

Pechorin is a contradiction within himself. He is a disturbing and dangerous character masked behind the innocent facade of a beautiful and heroic young man. His redeeming quality is that he understands this about himself. However it isn’t enough.

Works Cited and Consulted

Brown, William Edward. ed. Critical Essays on Mikhail Lermontov. Boston: G. K. Hall

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