Sunday, February 13, 2005

In Memoriam

Arthur Miller, the playwright who died Friday, wrote the great American Domestic Tragedy ("Death of a Salesman") and the American Political Tragedy ("The Crucible"), writes David Mamet in a short & sweet op-ed in today's NYT.

The plays are tragedies as each reasoned step brings the protagonists closer to their inevitable doom. We pity them as they are powerless to escape their fate. We feel fear because we recognize, in them, our own dilemmas. This is the purpose of drama, and particularly of tragedy: to allow us to participate in the repressed.

We are freed, at the end of these two dramas, not because the playwright has arrived at a solution, but because he has reconciled us to the notion that there is no solution - that it is the human lot to try and fail, and that no one is immune from self-deception. We have, through following the course of the drama, laid aside, for two hours, the delusion that we are powerful and wise, and we leave the theater better for the rest.

Pass the Prozac.[NYT]

No comments: