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The Price

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2005

    R E V I E W

    In the play, The Price, Arthur Miller cleverly tells the story of two brothers who hadn¿t met for years. He successfully tells about their distant relationship using only four characters and one set of scenery. Victor and Walter Franz, meet in their deceased father's house to sell off the family furniture before the building, that was once their home, is knocked down. Once there, a myriad of family secrets are exposed as Walter Franz tries to solve his differences with his brother and right the wrongs that had accumulated through the decades. Arthur Miller created a unique play based solely on the task of selling furniture. The theme of The Price is distrust and deception. Victor Franz lived the majority of his life believing his father had gone completely bankrupt from the stock market crash. During the depression that followed, he lived with his father, took care of his father, and found enough food to sustain them by picking through garbage. It was not till the day of the furniture sale that he found out that, in truth, his father had been holding out on him and had secretly hidden away $4,000 in cash. Walter, Victor¿s wealthy brother who had left home during the depression, knew the whole time that their father had the money. Walter tried to hint this much to Victor when Victor had asked him for money to finish college. Victor did not catch on, however, and in his eyes, Walter was simply a selfish person that he had lost all trust in. On the day of the furniture sale, Victor also learned that the father he had once trusted actually turned away Walter¿s later offer to help Victor to pay for college, so that Victor would continue to help him out. Stage directions were very big in this play, which contained no real action. Through their use, Arthur Miller orchestrated the feelings and emotions of Victor, Esther, and Walter Franz, along with Solomon, the furniture buyer, like a conductor orchestrates a concert band. When the situation is looked at introspectively, the building being knocked down was symbolic of the attempts made by Walter to knock down the wall between him and his brother. Walter, the richer of the two brothers, came late to the selling of the family furniture, but when he did come, he came a changed man. In the past, Walter had been obsessive about becoming increasingly wealthy. This required a lot of him, and at one point Walter was on the verge of insanity. One night after some heavy drinking, Walter nearly murdered his wife. After seeing his life slip away out of his control, Walter decided it was time for change. He divorced his wife and adopted a new outlook on his work and life in general. The day furniture was to be sold was the first time Victor had had a chance to view Walter¿s new mind set, and, of course, he was skeptical, yet it wasn¿t simply an initial thought. Victor held tight to his beliefs that there was no was no way that Walter could have possibly have changed so much. Whether or not the new Walter was a deception, Victor certainly had a lot to wonder about when it came to Walter¿s changed self. This play is strictly for deep thinkers. Someone who could only be entertained by an action-packed experience would not enjoy The Price. One doesn¿t usually think of a furniture sale as being a life- changing event, but for the Franzs, it exposed a life time of family secrets. It leaves one to ponder if they truly ever understood exactly what was going on around them. To be living a lie is a very psychological thing, and if a playgoer is willing to open up their mind, they will most certainly enjoy The Price. The beauty of this play is the fact that Arthur Miller was able to turn the simple act of selling furniture into a entire production. The performance of this play would require a very simple set, after all, the action stays in one area, the de

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