After the Fall

After the Fall was one of Arthur Miller’s more poorly received plays. It was criticized for too closely mirroring his real life and particularly his relationship with Marilyn Monroe. In my eyes, Arthur Miller can do no wrong and despite the criticisms, I love this play. I re-read it over dinner this past week and hope you will pick it up. Here are some of my favorite excerpts to whet your appetite.
“A couple of weeks ago I suddenly become aware of a strange fact. With all this darkness, the truth is that every morning when I awake, I’m full of hope! With everything I know- I open my eyes, I’m like a boy! For an instants there’s some- unformed promise in the air. I jump pout of bed, I shave, I can’t wait to finish my breakfast- and then, it seeps in my room, my life and its pointlessness. And I thought- if I could corner that hope, find what it consists of and either kill it for a lie, or really make it mine…”

“And yet I may stand in her mind like some important corner she turned in life. And she meant so little to me. I feel like a mirror in which she somehow saw herself as glorious.”
“Or maybe I don’t believe that grief is grief unless it kills you.”
“She did, she offered me some… love, I guess. And if I don’t return it- its like owing for a gift that you didn’t ask for.”
“I left out many things I saw. I lied. For a good cause, I thought, but all that lasts is the lie.”
“That’s the point! Yes- now, now! Its innocence, isn’t it? The innocent are always better, aren’t they? Then why can’t I be innocent?”
How few the days are that hold the mind in place; like a tapestry hung on four or five hooks. Especially the day you stop becoming; the day you merely are. I suppose its when the principles dissolve, and instead of the general gray of what ought to be you being to see what is. Even the bench by the park seems alive, having held so many actual men. The word “now” is like a bomb through the window, and it ticks.”
“And I saw that we are killing one another with abstractions. I’m defending Lou because I loved him, yet the society transforms that love into a kind of treason, what they call an issue, and I end up suspect and hated. Why can’t we speak with the voice that speaks below the “issues”- with our real uncertainty?
“Don’t you ever doubt yourself? Is it enough to prove a case, to even win it, when we are dying?”
“It was dreadful because I was not his friend either, and he knew it… he saw through my faithfulness; and he was not telling me what a friend I was, he was praying I would be – “Please be my friend, Quentin” is what he was saying to me, ‘I am drowning, throw me a rope!'”
And yet, I must not forget the way I wake; I open up my eyes each morning like a boy, even now; even now. That ‘s as true as anything I know, but where’s the evidence? Or is it simply that my heart sill beats?”
“I tell you there were times when she looked into the mirror and I saw she didn’t like her face and I wanted to step between her and her suffering.
“You know how to see it with your own eyes. That’s more important than all the books.”
“Yes! – that we conspired to violate the past, and the past is holy and its horrors are holiest of all!”
(Today I am grateful for daily talks wtih my Auntie Rani who has wisdom that I greatly need!)

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