The three plays that we are going to discuss in this chapter— three of Arthur Miller’s four most-performed and celebrated works, All My Sons (1947), Death of a Salesman (1949), and A View from the Bridge (1955)—are plainly, in important respects, “social plays”. 1 The stresses to which their principal characters are exposed, which lead in each case to their deaths, can be traced through the action of the plays to deficits in their societies. These plays are set in the United States in the time in which they were written—thus they are manifestly critiques of Miller’s own society. This social critique is most explicit, as we shall see, in All My Sons, where characters openly debate different moralities: in Death of a Salesman and A View from the Bridge, Miller seeks to embed social criticism only through the audience’s response to the imagined life and fate of his characters. Here, to a greater extent than in the case of All My Sons, audiences learn to understand what 191will destroy the central figures of these plays in ways that are not fully articulated by any of the figures themselves. Indeed, it is essential to the tragedy of the major characters in the later plays that they cannot understand what is happening to them. Miller represents this situation in different ways in these two dramas. Death of a Salesman enacts the psychological disintegration of its main character, with a force that it is extremely painful to watch or read, even at this distance from its writing. Miller pushes the form of “social drama” to a new interior intensity in the dialogue of this play. A View from the Bridge, by contrast, unfolds in a mode that deliberately recalls Greek tragedy, in that its main character, walled up in his identity, and defended against knowledge of his deprivation and pain, is pushed into his disastrous actions, which the audience is enabled to contemplate with understanding and compassion.