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AS and A Level: Arthur Miller

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  1. How Can We Explain The Salem Witchcraft Episode of 1962?

    Many of the settlers had moved to the New World in order to start afresh with a stricter, more religious way of life. They were extremely god fearing, believing in a literal devil and were quick to be engulfed by the mass hysteria that was whipped up due to the suggestion of witchcraft. In investigating this episode, whether or not one believes in witchcraft is a significant factor in trying to explain it, as believing or not believing takes the investigation on two different paths.

    • Word count: 2507
  2. The play 'A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller'.

    The play is told in a number of flash backs, of which Alfieri controls the thread. The play opens with a thoughtful analysis of the situation in Red Hook, a suburb of Brooklyn. Alfieri has an unbiased view. He shows the audience how to feel therefore we trust him. Alfieri gives his views of the Sicilian code of honour to the audience, because he once was working in Sicily he dispenses information and advice and, most emphatically explains the law and its boundaries. He talks about the conflict between the legal system and moral justice. "The law has not been a friendly idea since the Greeks were beaten" This again, shows the audience how to feel.

    • Word count: 1190
  3. The Reverend John Hale embodies the growing awareness of the illegality and immorality of the Salem witch trials.

    If you opposed the McCarthy investigations you were accused of being a communist. However In the Crucible Reverend John Hale is considered to be, and considers himself, an expert on witchcraft. He is initially summoned to determine whether the devil is in Salem and enthusiastically participates in the court proceeding. As Hale enters the play, he walks in with a lot of books heavy books, "books of knowledge". He is shown to be a man who takes pride of his work and he came to Salem just to find a witch, he will not be told what to do - very much, he is the authority which the people of Salem are looking to.

    • Word count: 827
  4. Was Willy Loman a tragic hero or not?

    First, Willy Loman definitely has character flaws that had a big part in his downfall. As his name implies, he is a `low man', an ordinary man, whose dreams and expectations have been shattered by the false values of the society he has put his faith in. Unlike the heroes of classical tragedy, he is not a man of stature or noble. In Death of a Salesman, Miller is not so much calling into question the pursuit of the American Dream, but the dream itself.

    • Word count: 1003
  5. How does Arthur Miller present The character of Reverend Hale in 'The Crucible'.

    Secondly, just after Rebecca Nurse is introduced to us the audience, he says: "When Reverend Hale comes, you will proceed to look for sign of witchcraft." This is saying that Putnam is quite certain witchcraft is about and even if Reverend Hale denies witchcraft in Salem, he still wants them to carry on searching for sight of witchcraft and the devil. As all the characters were arguing Rebecca Nurse exclaims: "Mr. Parris, I think you'd best send Reverend Hale back as soon as he comes."

    • Word count: 2768
  6. Death of a salesman - Why did Willy commit suicide? What did his suicide represent?

    Happy denies all the accusations but Biff admits his mother's judgements and degrades his own status by calling himself the 'scum of the earth.' Biff wants to see his father and 'erupt a conversation' before he leaves but Linda tries desperately to prevent a confrontation which I feel she does as she knows deep down how close he is to death and this would kill him. Biff hears Willy outside, he is frantically planting seeds. When the audience see him outside he is talking to Ben, we can see from the outset this is a flashback and shows his deterioration in to madness.

    • Word count: 840
  7. To what Extent Can Dramatic Techniques Be Used to Emphasize The Rising Emotions That Occur in Act 1 of The Crucible?

    Abigail then fills the scene. She was caught dancing, (all forms of entertainment were thought impure and were not allowed), in the forest by Parris. This is bad enough, him being the reverend of the town, but also being her uncle makes it much worse. As you would have guessed he is furious with her and cannot believe it. Abigail pleads her innocence of witchcraft, but she still angers him: Abigail: "It were sport, uncle!" Parris: "You call this sport?"

    • Word count: 2215
  8. In the death of the salesmen Miller shatters the vision of the American dream and offers in its place A sense of hopelessness: discuss.

    Whilst being dishonest we see that Willy's true attention is based around Biff becoming a frontrunner. Due to Willy thinking like this he believes in his heart that Biff will become everything he didn't become. "Because you got a greatness in you, Biff remember that. You got all kinds of greatness..." Towards the end of the play, we see Willy has lost in the road of trying to accomplish the sweat American dream, and the play can be viewed as commentary to society. Willy was an ordinary half successful man, who worked under the mechanism of Democracy and free enterprise, however was spat at mercilessly after he had done what he could for the people.

    • Word count: 1693
  9. Arthur Miller's play, Death of a Salesman contains many themes of success and failure.

    Another symbol in the play, Ben, is a lot like Charley and shows that success is not always going to bring happiness, as Ben himself is not a very nice man as this can be shown when he "play fights" with Biff and cheats by tripping him up, Charley does not have a very good relationship with his son as he does not spend quality time with Bernard like Willy does with Biff and Happy an example of this is when they go to the football game.

    • Word count: 1216
  10. What are the most important aspects of Linda's role and character?

    Throughout "Death of a Salesman" Linda serves as Willy's foundation, support and also as his reality-check. She is never seen out of the house, except at Willy's funeral, for he would be lost without her. Out of the main figures in the story, she is the quietest and rarely gives long speeches. Willy shows that he is aware of her noble character when, at the beginning of the play, he says, "You're my foundation and my support, Linda," This is an important part of Linda's character for without this support, Willy would be helpless.

    • Word count: 588
  11. The function of flashbacks in Death of a Salesman.

    Ben a character from the past that is dead is present in flashbacks throughout the play. But at the start his presence he is more diffuse as he spreads with all the characters in the flashback. Later Ben is still apparent but only when Willy is alone in a flashback. As the flashbacks are happening in the past, the present is still there. So as Willy is talking to Ben, Linda is confused to who Willy is talking to. The 'laughter of the past' is heard during the play from the woman Willy was having an affair with.

    • Word count: 1003
  12. Is Death of a Salesman a Tragedy?

    The tragic effect will be stronger if the hero is "better than we are," in that he is of higher than ordinary moral worth. But this is not always the case in today's modern plays such as 'Death of a Salesman.' In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is seen falling from a great height. Although, he is not born into nobility like most tragic heroes are generally portrayed. Willy Loamn was responsible for is own fate. At the beginning of the play within the initial flashbacks we judge that Willy's life used to be fairly successful.

    • Word count: 1206
  13. A View fro the Bridge - Examine Alfieri's role within the play. What functions does he perform?

    As David Thacker, a Director said, Alfieri is the "mechanism by which the play unfolds." A View From The Bridge involves the audience and their emotions. Arthur Miller has used various methods to keep these emotions controlled. He has used calm scenes between those of high tension and emotion, but the main method is the chorus figure. The audience listen to Alfieri, for many reasons. They respect his opinion because he is a Lawyer, but they also like his character and can connect with his position in the play.

    • Word count: 860
  14. Is “Death of a Salesman” A Modern Tragedy?

    Willy's entire identity is tied up with an image of what a salesman should be. One of the most important causes of Willy's suffering is the great villain of most modern writing in the realist vein - Society. Willy Loman is constantly trying to find the key to progressing into a genuine success, but the society prohibits his discovery. He suffers from the obsession of how he is observed by other people, and he blames his lack of victory, and a diversity of shallow personal traits like his weight: "I'm fat....a salesman I know, as I was going to see a buyer, I heard him say something about walrus."

    • Word count: 1890
  15. How does Miller use the character of Alfieri to involve the audience and illustrate the cultural context of the play?

    The majority of characters in this play are immigrants who have tried to make a living by living in America so at one point or another they would have wanted to avoid the law. Alfieri being a lawyer also shows us how he is above the other immigrants as they are still uneducated, living lives of hard labour using colloquiums such as "yiz" which indicates a lack of control or status. However, Alfieri is educated and now has status. The language he uses is so much more formal than that of Beatrice or Eddie.

    • Word count: 1080
  16. Schindlers list.

    which the gentleman pins to the lapel of his elegant dinner jacket. He steps back to consider his reflection in the mirror. He likes what he sees: Oskar Schindler - salesman from Zwittau - looking almost reputable in his one nice suit. Even in this awful room. (extract from script) This shows schindler as a man more concerned with how he appears then how he lives. He shows that he can make him self seem quite wealthy even though judging by his surroundings he is not.; In the next scene he is in a crowded night-club in Poland he scans the room looking for opportunities.

    • Word count: 568
  17. "Death of a Salesman is a play about love". Arthur Miller.

    Once Biff finds out about Willy's affair with the woman we see the side of Biff that is expressed throughout the rest of the play. Part of Biff still loves and admires his father, but the other half (the half that is displayed) is emotionally distraught after realizing what his father has done, and tries to hide his love for his father deep inside. This is something Willy tries to dismiss, choosing to continue with their 'normal' relationship, however, this just fuels Biff's hatred of Willy; his comments about Willy go from "Pop, I'm a dime a dozen and so are you" to calling him a "phoney little fake".

    • Word count: 1624
  18. In Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge", the character of Alfieri can be described as the 'hidden leading role'.

    Like a bridge, Alfieri connects with both shores. Like a bridge, Alfieri leans on the solid foundations of both cultures. But also like a bridge, Alfieri is elevated above, and therefore watches more often than he interferes. Hence the title "A View from the Bridge". The whole play is Alfieri's perception of the events that took place. It is almost a secondary source - that is, a collection of primary sources with his personal interpretation mixed in at relevant moments - but it isn't a complete secondary source, because there are significant times during the play when Alfieri himself is involved.

    • Word count: 704
  19. How does the Requiem relate to the themes and issues explained in the play as a whole?

    and his last words are ones of defiance: 'I'm gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vein... this is where I'm gonna win it for him' This seems rather absurd to the reader as it is clear now that the American Dream for the Loman family is just that- a dream. The spectacular failure of his father and the collapse of the family show that the dogmatic pursuit of success is fruitless and even dangerous.

    • Word count: 842
  20. The Salem Witchcraft Trials occurred because of the depth of Salem Puritans' belief in witchcraft and the devil.

    The main reason for the trials was superstition, an irrational belief resulting from ignorance or fear of the unknown. Evidence Church ruled the puritan society in New England. Most people in Massachusetts were strict Puritans. They wanted to establish - "City upon a hill", a model society for the world to follow. They believed in building a community, which respects the vision of God. It was against the law not to attend church. The Puritan lifestyle was restrained; rigid and believed that all sins are punishable by threat, exile or execution. They also believed the Devil was as real as God.

    • Word count: 1015
  21. Examine Arthur Miller's presentation of the characters of Charley and Bernard in "Death of a Salesman". What do they contribute to the play as a whole?

    (pg25), "don't be a pest Bernard" (pg25). Instead of placing emphasis on education Willy places more emphasis on being well liked as he makes various references throughout the play "Bernard is not well liked, is he"(pg25), "that's because he likes you" (pg23), "Charley is not-liked, he's liked, but he's not-well liked" (pg23). It is also apparent that Bernard idolises Biff when they are both young, as on page 69 when Biff is preparing for his big game, Bernard repeatedly asks Biff if he can carry his equipment, illustrating that Bernard wants to be associated with Biff and his big game "Biff I'm carrying your helmet, ain't I?"

    • Word count: 1104
  22. What is the importance of Alfieri in The View from a Bridge?

    I believe Alfieri did this as he needed a middle-class character to communicate with the largely middle-class audience. Alfieri can be used to describe to the audience what the not so articulate characters are feeling. Miller uses the middle class chorus character as the audience would connect with him more. Miller uses the character of Alfieri to divide each act into scenes and to bring the audience up to date on the current situation. There are times in the play where a certain situation would need explaining, for example if we had missed out on certain events. Miller therefore uses Alfieri to explain to the audience what exactly is going on.

    • Word count: 1633
  23. Discuss the ways in which Arthur Miller uses the character of Alfieri to highlight cultural differences and to develop the audience's understanding of theme, character and plot.

    This is essentially because he was educated in both cultures. Alfieri's opening speech takes place with him acting as the chorus. In the beginning of Alfieri's speech he gives us a taste of Sicilian life. He tells us that 'in Sicily, from where their fathers came, the law has not been a friendly idea since the Greeks came'. This tells us two things. The first is that in this area there are a lot of people that originate from Sicily. The second is about Sicilian culture; he also says he thinks that 'behind that suspicious little nod of theirs lie three thousand years of distrust'.

    • Word count: 1164
  24. Arthur Miller wrote the Crucible, in 1953. It is based upon the belief of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts, and the hysterical fear leading to campaigns of persecution against suspected witches.

    In the first act Miller creates tension by showing how the characters become more and more afraid of witchcraft. The reverend Parris describes how he discovered the girls 'dancing like heathen in the forest' and figures it must be part of an evil ceremony. He also claims that Tituba, a black slave, was 'chanting gibberish'. In actual fact, Tituba was simply singing songs in her native language of Barbados, yet she was deemed as 'different' and caused irrational fear among the community. In the opening of the play we are introduced to Reverend Parris, who is praying at the bedside of his sick daughter Betty.

    • Word count: 1524
  25. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller - What feelings are evoked in the audience towards Linda?

    Linda: "Shh!" Willy: "The trouble is he's lazy, goddammit!" Linda: "Willy, please!" Her sons disappoint her, especially when they desert Willy at Frank's Chop House where they were meant to be having dinner with him. She is angry with them, and shouts at them: "You invite him to dinner. He looks forward to it all day - and then you desert him there. There's no stranger you'd do that to!" "Get out of here, both of you, and don't come back!" "You're a pair of animals! Not one, not another living soul would have the cruelty to walk out on that man in a restaurant."

    • Word count: 1665

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