Arthur Miller quotes

  • I think the job of the artist is to remind people of what they have chosen to forget.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Jobs #Artist #Thinking

  • The culture of the United States has flooded the world. It's the inevitable result of a powerful culture, art. We've got an instinctive touch when it comes to the popular mind because we've had no aristocracy. It is a democratic country. And we know without knowing it, without bothering to understand it, how to reach ordinary people, sometimes with the most vulgar, worthless junk on the face of the earth, but we know how to do it [laughter].
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Country #Art #Powerful

  • I’m a writer, and everything I write is both a confession and a struggle to understand things about myself and this world in which I live. This is what everyone’s work should be-whether you dance or paint or sing. It is a confession, a baring of your soul, your faults, those things you simply cannot or will not understand or accept. You stumble forward, confused, and you share. If you’re lucky, you learn something.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Confused #Struggle #Writing

  • As a writer, I've always believed that while my work and I myself are embedded in whatever period I am writing about, clearly I am sensitive to the winds that are blowing in the culture. At the same time, I have always felt that the issue was not to deal with the problem in the abstract, but to deal with the people who are in that problem. The emphasis is on the people. The general problem begins to resolve itself even before the play is finished.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Writing #Wind #Play

  • Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Life #Regret #Mistake

  • The Greeks used to use the same stories, the same mythology, time after time, different authors. There was no premium placed upon an original story, and indeed, Shakespeare likewise. A lot of people wrote plays about great kings. They didn't expect a brand-new story. It was what that new author made of the old story. It is probably the same now. We disguise it by inventing what seem to be new stories, but they're basically the same story anyway.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Kings #Play #People

  • Don't be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Motivational #Money #Thinking

  • In a dream, we are simply confronted with various loaded symbols, and where one is exhausted, it gives way to another.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Dream #Giving #Way

  • An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Dream #Eras #Exhausted

  • A friend of mine once said that there were only two truly national events in the history of the United States. One was the Civil War and the other one was the Depression.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #War #Two #United States

  • The structure of a play is always the story of how the birds came home to roost.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Home #Play #Bird

  • The two greatest plays ever written were Hamlet and Oedipus Rex, and they're both about father-son relationships.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Father #Son #Oedipus

  • Those who formally rule take their signals and commands not from the electorate as a body, but from a small group of men. This group will be called the Establishment. It exists even though that existence is stoutly denied. It is one of the secrets of the American social order... A second secret is the fact that the existence of the Establishment - the ruling class - is not supposed to be discussed.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Men #Order #Class

  • There is a problem on the so-called commercial stage in New York. The price of a ticket is exorbitant, and there are no longer original productions possible, apparently, on the commercial stage. They are all plays that were taken from either England or smaller theaters, off-Broadway theaters, and so on. The one justification there used to be for the commercial theater was that it originated everything we had, and now it originates nothing. But the powers that be seem perfectly content to have it that way. They don't risk anything anymore, and they simply pick off the cream.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #New York #Taken #Play

  • The theater is so endlessly fascinating because it's so accidental. It's so much like life.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Theatre #Theater

  • Theater is a very changeable art. It responds to the moment in history the way the newspaper does, and there's no predicting what to come up with next.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Art #Doe #Way

  • The problem was to sustain at any cost the feeling you had in the theater that you were watching a real person, yes, but an intense condensation of his experience, not simply a realistic series of episodes.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Real #Feelings #Cost

  • People do look to others for some leadership, and it's not bad for them to supply it when they feel that way.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #People #Looks #Way

  • If a person measures his spiritual fulfillment in terms of cosmic visions, surpassing peace of mind, or ecstasy, then he is not likely to know much spiritual fulfillment. If, however, he measures it in terms of enjoying a sunrise, being warmed by a child's smile, or being able to help someone have a better day, then he is likely to know much spiritual fulfillment.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Spiritual #Children #Mind

  • Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Beauty #Beautiful #Heaven

  • He wants to live on through something - and in his case, his masterpiece is his son. All of us want that, and it gets more poignant as we get more anonymous in this world.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Father #Son #World

  • Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life! Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name? I have given you my soul; leave me my name!
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Lying #Dust #Names

  • It is rare for people to be asked the question which puts them squarely in front of themselves
    -- Arthur Miller

    #People

  • ... if you love your country why is it necessary to hate other countries?
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Country #Hate #Love You

  • The apple cannot be stuck back on the Tree of Knowledge; once we begin to see, we are doomed and challenged to seek the strength to see more, not less.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Apples #Tree #Stuck

  • A playwright lives in an occupied country. And if you can't live that way you don't stay.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Country #Way #Playwright

  • Can anyone remember love? It's like trying to summon up the smell of roses in a cellar. You might see a rose, but never the perfume.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Best Friend #Smell #Rose

  • Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Life #Heartbreak #Betrayal

  • Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You'll never get out of the jungle that way.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Fighting #Boys #Way

  • Everybody likes a kidder, but nobody lends him money.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Humor #Likes

  • I have made more friends for American culture than the State Department. Certainly I have made fewer enemies, but that isn't very difficult.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Enemy #Culture #States

  • A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Inspiration #Talking #Newspapers

  • If I have any justification for having lived it's simply, I'm nothing but faults, failures and so on, but I have tried to make a good pair of shoes. There's some value in that.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Hypnosis #Shoes #Pairs

  • When today fails to offer the justification for hope, tomorrow becomes the only grail worth pursuing.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Memorable #Today #Tomorrow

  • I believe in work. If somebody doesn't create something, however small it may be, he gets sick. An awful lot of people feel that they're treading water -- that if they vanished in smoke, it wouldn't mean anything at all in this world. And that's a despairing and destructive feeling. It'll kill you.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Work #Believe #Mean

  • The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Writing #Embarrassing #Best Work

  • Few of us can easily surrender our belief that society must somehow make sense. The thought that the State has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #People #Mind #Liberty

  • Great drama is great questions or it is nothing but technique. I could not imagine a theater worth my time that did not want to change the world.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Drama #Technique #World

  • I think it's a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one's self.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Mistake #Thinking #Self

  • Just remember, kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a word that you gave away.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Kids #Dollars #Remember

  • I don't say he's a great man. Willie 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 in his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must finally be paid to such a person.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Dog #Fall #Character

  • If you analyse anything, you destroy it.
    -- Arthur Miller

  • The writer must be in it; he can't be to one side of it, ever. He has to be endangered by it. His own attitudes have to be tested in it. The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing himself, always.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Fun #Attitude #Writing

  • Man must shape his tools lest they shape him.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Men #Tools #Shapes

  • I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Judging #Tongue #Speak

  • God really does take our work seriously: It is wrong, it is a sin, to accept or remain in a position that you know is a mismatch for you. Perhaps that's a form of sin you've never considered - the sin of staying in the wrong job. But God did not place you on the earth to waste away your years in labor that does not employ his design or purpose for your life, no matter how much you may be getting paid for it.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Jobs #Years #Design

  • The job is to ask questions-it always was-and to ask them as inexorably as I can. And to face the absence of precise answers with a certain humility.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Jobs #Humility #Answers

  • One had the right to write because other people needed news of the inner world, and if they went too long without such news they would go mad with the chaos of their lives.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Writing #Mad #Long

  • I regard the theatre as a serious business, one that makes or should make man more human, which is to say, less alone.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Men #Theatre #Serious

  • 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.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Art #Talking #Paper

  • Everything we are is at every moment alive in us.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Alive #Moments

  • Amos Oz is one of the finest novelists of this entire period. MY MICHAEL is a beautiful work of great depth and in some indescribable way lingers in the mind as a lyric song to his country's people as much as a moving love story.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Beautiful #Country #Song

  • THE PRICE grew out of a need to reconfirm the power of the past, the seedbed of current reality, and the way to possibly reaffirm cause and effect in an insane world.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Past #Reality #Insane

  • 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.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Drama #Passion #New Relationship

  • ... so many tremendous decisions in life are made because it is five o'clock.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Decision #Clock #Made

  • I would be twenty before I learned how to be fifteen, thirty before I knew what it meant to be twenty, and now at seventy-two I have to stop myself from thinking like a man of fifty who has plenty of time ahead.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Men #Thinking #Two

  • The famous are balloons far up in the sky, to be envied for their quiet freedom or shot down as enemies.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Sky #Enemy #Balloons

  • Few occasions are as joyous to small children as funerals, almost better than the big wedding blowouts that take place at night when it's hard to stay awake. A small boy will never be harshly criticized at a funeral; he is more treasured as death comes close and all his wickedness vanishes before the inescapable fact that thank God, he is healthy.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Children #Boys #Night

  • An idol tells people exactly what to believe, God presents them with choices they have to make for themselves. The difference is far from insignificant; before the idol men remain dependent children, before God they are burdened and at the same time liberated to participate in the decisions of endless creation.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #God #Children #Believe

  • Down deep in His heart God is a comedian who loves to make us laugh.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Laughter #Heart #Laughing

  • How to live had started out as an analytical problem of how to place himself so as to intercept the flow of money in the society.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Money #Flow #Problem

  • Memory inevitably romanticizes, pressing reality to recede like pain.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Pain #Memories #Reality

  • The brain heals the past like an injury ...
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Past #Brain #Injury

  • Nevertheless, one learned very early that books had to be respected; they were all putative Bibles and to some small degree had a share in holiness.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Book #Degrees #Holiness

  • Every time I am reading actors I can pretty well tell which ones have studied with Meisner. It is because they are honest and simple and don't lay on complications that aren't necessary.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Reading #Simple #Actors

  • Be liked and you will never want.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Friendship #Want

  • One can’t stand forever on the shore. At some point, filled with indecision, skepticism, reservation and doubt, you either jump in or concede that life is forever elsewhere
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Forever #Doubt #Life Is

  • The play is really a kind of nightmare. It ought to flow rapidly and effortlessly from one moment to another. In London, we had difficulty with the set, which required too much effort to move around. Having gotten the benefit of seeing it done once, I wanted to work on the script, to make it sharper and more pointed.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Moving #Play #Effort

  • Today, [theatre's] more likely to be consciously not aimed at the public, but at a more sophisticated or educated public. . . . The result is that some of the sheer humanity has leaked out of the enterprise.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Humanity #Theatre #Crafts

  • 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.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Men #Thinking #Play

  • In America, any man who is not a reactionary in his views is open to the charge of alliance with the Red hell.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #War #Men #Views

  • . . . usually, the biggest problems of adapting plays into screenplays is that they stick too close to the play, and I think film is a completely different medium. I think a novel is much closer to a film . . ..
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Thinking #Play #Crafts

  • Look, we're all the same; a man is a fourteen-room house - in the bedroom he's asleep with his intelligent wife, in the living-room he's rolling around with some bare ***** girl, in the library he's paying his taxes, in the yard he's raising tomatoes and in the cellar he's making a bomb to blow it all up.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Girl #Men #Blow

  • I cannot sleep for dreaming; I cannot dream but I wake and walk about the house as though I'd find you coming through some door.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Dream #Sleep #Doors

  • I think the tragic feeling is invoked 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.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Character #Thinking #Feelings

  • The witch-hunt was a perverse manifestation of the panic which set in among all classes when the balance began to turn toward greater individual freedom. The witch-hunt was not, however, a mere repression. It was also, and as importantly, a long overdue opportunity for everyone so inclined to express publicly his guilt and sins, under the cover of accusations against the victims.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Opportunity #Class #Long

  • Poor brain! How helplessly it dissolves when willing eyes meet and the nose warms to those old jungle scents.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Eye #Brain #Noses

  • For the political world, I have come to believe, is fundamentally beyond anyone's control, yet we all go on as though it were a kind of vehicle that only needs a change of drivers in order to steer it away from its frequent hair-raising visits to the edge of the cliff.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Believe #Hair #Order

  • You cant get very far in this world without your dossier being there first.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #World #Firsts #Being There

  • Work a lifetime to pay off a house You finally own it and there's nobody to live in it.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #House #Pay #Lifetime

  • I've always made a point of not wasting my life, and every time I come back here I know that all I've done is to waste my life.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Waste #Done #Made

  • 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.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Country #Home #Past

  • Witch-hunts are always spooked by women's horrifying sexuality awakened by the superstud Devil.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Devil #Witch #Sexuality

  • A genuine invention in the realm of ideas must first emerge as an abstruse and even partial concept? At first blusha new idea appearstobe verycloseto insanity because to be new it must reverse important basic beliefs and assumptions which, in turn, have been institutionalized and are administered by one or another kind of priesthood with a vested interest in an old idea.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Ideas #Insanity #Important

  • When irrational terror takes to itself the fiat of moral goodness somebody has to die. ... No man lives who has not got a panic button, and when it is pressed by the clean white hand of moral duty, a certain murderous train is set in motion.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Men #Hands #White

  • Now hell and heaven grapple on our backs and all our old pretense is ripped away. Aye, and God's icy wind will blow.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Blow #Wind #Heaven

  • The only thing you got in this world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you're a salesman, and you don't know that.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Funny Things #World #This World

  • Rise early. Write. Disappoint your sons. Read the newspaper. Go to bed early. Success.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Writing #Son #Bed

  • I still feel-kind of temporary about myself.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Art #Philosophy #History

  • Jerusalem is ... the fabled city which for the Western mind is as much dream as stone ... a compressed symbol of our most sublime aspirations along with our most disgusting, hatefully brainless excursions into religious bigotry and fratricide.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Dream #Religious #Cities

  • The enemy is within, and within stays within, and we can't get out of within.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Enemy

  • It is time 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

    #Kings #Heart #Men

  • A political policy is equated with moral right, and opposition to it with diabolical malevolence.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Political #Moral #Malevolence

  • Whoever is writing in the United States is using the American Dream as an ironical pole of his story. People elsewhere tend to accept, to a far greater degree anyway, that the conditions of life are hostile to mans pretensions.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Dream #Writing #People

  • The American Dream is the largely unacknowledged screen in front of which all American writing plays itself out,
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Dream #Writing #Play

  • The arts can do more to sustain the peace than all the wars, the armaments, and the threats and warnings of politicians.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Art #War #Politician

  • The need of man to wholly realize himself is the only fixed star.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Stars #Men #Needs

  • There are many who stay away from church these days because you hardly ever mention God any more.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Atheism #Church #These Days

  • I don't know a critic who penetrates the center of anything.
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Critics

  • I figure I've done what I could do, more or less, and now I'm going back to being a chemical; all we are is a lot of talking nitrogen, you know...
    -- Arthur Miller

    #Talking #Nitrogen #Done