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Arthur Miller: All My Sons Essay

1169 words - 5 pages

Setting The action of the play is set in August 1947, in the mid-west of the United States Plot Joe Keller, the sixty-one years old protagonist, is a man who loves his family above everything else. Three and a half years before the events of the play, Larry Keller, one of his two sons, was reported missing in action, while flying a mission near the coast of China. But as his body hasn't been discovered yet, his mother Kate believes strongly her son is still alive. All the other members of the family accept the fact that Larry will not return, especially Chris, Larry's brother, wants his mother to see the truth.Chris wants to marry Ann, the former fiancée of his brother, but as Kate is convinced of Larry' return and sees Ann as "Larry's girl" she is strongly against their relationship.During the play, Joe's past becomes illuminated: Joe was the head of a business which made aeroplane engine parts. When the production line began to turn out cracked cylinder heads, employee Steve Deever, Ann's father, telephoned Joe at home and asked what to do. Worried by the lost production and not seeing the consequences of his decision, Joe told his best friend Steve to weld the cracks together. Joe said that he would take responsibility for this, but could not come in to work as he had influenza. Several weeks later twenty-one aeroplanes crashed on the same day, killing many American pilots. Investigation revealed the fault in the cylinder heads, and Steve and Joe were arrested and convicted. On appeal, Joe denied Steve's true version of events, convinced the court he knew nothing of what had happened and was released from prison.Before his last flight, Larry wrote a last letter to his fiancée Ann. He had read of his father's and Steve's arrest - now he was planning suicide as he could not bear this shame. Three and a half years later, Ann has told no-one of this letter - now she will.Kate knows her husband to be guilty of the deaths of the pilots, although the letter is the proof for Larry's death the woman is incapable of accepting reality.Chris is still not aware of the truth.After the incident, Ann and her brother, George, have disowned their father, believing him guilty. But when George has gone to visit his father in jail, Steve has persuaded him of the true course of events. George in return persuades Chris of his father's guilt, under pressure Joe confesses to his son that he in fact is responsible for the pilots' death. Chris, who is horrified, wants Joe to be punished for what he did and finally turns his back on his father. Joe can't bear the fact that he lost both sons and commits suicide in the end.Characterisation Joe Keller: Joe is a very ordinary man, decent, hard-working and charitable. On first sight, he seems to be the perfect father: understanding, calm, someone to have fun with. But soon it is obvious that he is a weak and coward character. He is able to live with the fact, that many pilots died due to his need of making...

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