25 Arthur Miller Quotes That Will Speak Wisdom to Every Generation
Arthur Miller is considered one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century. Here are 25 Arthur Miller quotes that speak to every generation.
Arthur Miller is one of the greatest American playwrights of the 20th century, along with contemporary Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Death of a Salesman.
Born to an immigrant family of Jewish descent, Miller had an untroubled childhood until his parents lost almost everything in the Wall Street Crash of 1929. However, this didn’t stop him from continuing his education. He worked a few odd jobs and used the money he earned to attend the University of Michigan.
Profoundly influenced by the Great Depression, Miller wrote his first play while he was still in college. His 1944 Broadway debut, The Man Who Had All the Luck, opened to horrible reviews, but his second play (All My Sons) was an instant success.
His short and turbulent marriage with actress Marilyn Monroe placed him in the Hollywood spotlight. Miller barely wrote during this period since he had to deal with personal struggles and his wife’s drug abuse.
The playwright dedicated himself to the investigation of the moral condition of the American working class, leaving a body of work that testifies to his brilliance.
Here are 25 Arthur Miller quotes that speak to every generation:
You can’t know what the worst is until you have seen the worst.
Don’t be seduced into thinking that that which does not make a profit is without value.
And yet one can’t forever stand on the shore; at some point, even if filled with indecision, skepticism, reservation and doubt, you either jump in or concede that life is forever elsewhere.
Everything we are is at every moment alive in us.
A character is defined by the kinds of challenges he cannot walk away from. And by those he has walked away from that cause him remorse.
It is rare for people to be asked the question which puts them squarely in front of themselves.
Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
You can quicker get back a million dollars that was stolen than a word that you gave away.
Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it and there’s nobody to live in it.
I speak my own sins; I cannot judge another. I have no tongue for it.
Sometimes… it’s better for a man just to walk away. But if you can’t walk away? I guess that’s when it’s tough.
There are certain men in the world who rather see everybody hung before they’ll take blame.
Betrayal is the only truth that sticks.
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.
I don’t know why it is, but every time I reach out for something I want, I have to pull back because other people will suffer.
Until an hour before the Devil fell, God thought him beautiful in Heaven.
The task of the real intellectual consists of analyzing illusions in order to discover their causes.
Never fight fair with a stranger, boy. You’ll never get out of the jungle that way.
The best work that anybody ever writes is the work that is on the verge of embarrassing him, always.
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.
The political landscape changes, the issues change, but the people are still there. People don’t really change that much.
I think it’s a mistake to ever look for hope outside of one’s self.
I believe in work. If somebody doesn’t create something, however small it may be, he gets sick.
You don’t realize how people can hate, they can hate so much they’ll tear the world to pieces.
If you believe that life is worth living then your belief will create the fact.