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Volume :4 Issue : 13 1984      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Arthur Miller's The Price: A Sarterean Reading

Auther : Michael Spindler

Although existentialist notions have been partially applied to the price, a thoroughgoing sartrean analysis is required to fully explain the personal and ideological conflicts in the play, in it two middle aged brother, victor and Walter Franz, com together after a long estangement to dispose of the family furniture, which represents the posthumous presence of their farther, he it is evident, is the key to their relationship, for victor, a new york cop, harbours a deep-seated resentment against his brother for deserting him and his father during the great depression, and Walter, and affluent surgeon suffers from unexpiated guilt for his egotism and success. During the play the deeper existential and social issues embedded within these basic emotional attitudes are brought to the surface.

Victor blames external conditions for his life and so he is guilty in Sartean terms of bad faith and finally his initial act of choice and assertion of value is wrung from him. He asserted the necessity for relatedness and community and oriented his life toward the family and the social order, but Walter asserted the necessity for separateness and success and oriented his life toward and individualistic careerism. This dichotomy of values dramatized in the two Franz brothers embodies a tension in liberal individualism between the demands of the individual on the one hand and of the collectivity on the other. For miller, as for sartre, personal choice and the social order and integrally related.

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