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The Tony Award—winning play that soars at the intersection of science and art, Copenhagen is an explosive re-imagining of the mysterious wartime meeting between two Nobel laureates to discuss the atomic bomb.

In 1941 the German physicist Werner Heisenberg made a clandestine trip to Copenhagen to see his Danish counterpart and friend Niels Bohr. Their work together on quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle had revolutionized atomic physics. But now the world had changed and the two men were on opposite sides in a world war. Why Heisenberg went to Copenhagen and what he wanted to say to Bohr are questions that have vexed historians ever since. In Michael Frayn’s ambitious, fiercely intelligent, and daring new play Heisenberg and Bohr meet once again to discuss the intricacies of physics and to ponder the metaphysical—the very essence of human motivation.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the author

Michael Frayn has written plays, novels, and screenplays, in additioin to being a journalist, documentary filmmaker, and translator of Chekhov. His thirteen plays include Copenhagen, which was awarded the Tony Award for Best Play, as well as the Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk awards and, in the United Kingdom, the Olivier and Evening Standard awards. His novel Headlong was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent novel, Spies, was published in 2002. Born in London in 1933 and educated at Cambridge, Frayn is married to the biographer and critic Claire Tomalin; they live in London.
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Additional Information

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Published on
Aug 4, 2010
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Drama / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh
Literary Collections / European / General
Literary Criticism / Drama
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Eligible for Family Library

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Seminar paper from the year 2005 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2,0, Humboldt-University of Berlin, 8 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: When Willy Loman is heard racing off with his car at the end of Arthur Millers play Death of a Salesman, nobody doubts why he is doing so. He wrecks his car and kills himself to leave his family 20,000 dollars insurance money. Willy Loman is a suicide. And yet every viewer of the play will ask himself 1 who or what killed this man. What are the forces that pushed him towards this somber end? The fact that Arthur Miller pursues genuine moral education in his plays, which he has repeatedly admitted to (for example in “The Salesman Has a Birthday”) justifies this question. For how one answers it decides what kind of message one distils from the play. In this paper, I will not focus on a possible moral message of the play. Instead, I will try to collect hints at who or what might be responsible for Willy Loman’s death. As I am not the first to engage in this matter, I will be able to present the viewpoints of different critics, and to compare them. It seems to be a characteristic of Death of a Salesman that many reasons can be named for its catastrophic ending - its discussion has been very controversial. In consequence, one difficulty of my investigation will be to take into account also the play’s subtleties in order to value each critic’s standpoint properly. It has repeatedly been criticized that Arthur Miller makes use of fuzzy logic in his play. On the one hand, one can see obvious traits of social criticism in Death of a Salesman, on the other hand Miller presents two characters - Charley and Bernard - that succeed in a capitalistic world without acting unfair. Miller condemns a social order ruled by wealth while approving of the right way to live in it. This conflict demonstrates that Miller’s play is offering explanations of Willy Loman’s failure that are based on social criticism as well as explanations that are psychologically motivated. This division marks the two directions criticism has been following through the years. For that reason, I will divide my inquiry into two sections: Cultural Reasons and Psychological Reasons. Whenever necessary, the two domains will be cross-linked in order to form a synthesis.
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