How Does Miller Use Joe Keller To Explore The Theme Of Denial And Blame?

861 words - 4 pages

All My Sons by Arthur Miller describes Joe Keller, a middle-class business man in denial about a crime he committed 3 years ago. This crime resulted into his co-partner taking the fall whilst he hides his faults and acts as the innocent man. The theme of denial and blame is explored through the use of stage directions, pauses and ellipses and the reactions of Joe Keller. Keller is the culprit of a criminal act that sent 21 pilots to their death. He hid this from everyone he knew and blamed his co-partner. Throughout most of the play, he denies being a part of the crime until the secrets are revealed which is when he begins to reveal his true colours.
Joe Keller hides his denial and blame through his deception. On the outside, Joe Keller seems to be a caring and gentle man who wouldn’t hurt a fly and this is shown on p46 when Kate spills that Joe was in fact a part of shipping those airplane parts and not George’s father. There are limited stage directions to let the director and actors display this scene to their liking. The ellipses and pauses in this scene are to a minimum but are still very noticeable. When Kate reveals the truth, Keller tries to conceal the truth by persuading George that Kate is insane and doesn’t know what she is talking about. “Well sure… I mean except for that flu” The ellipsis here is placed to give the audience a feeling of shock and astonishment. Keller’s reacts to this scene in a very calm way. He tries to decrease the tension that is rising. Arthur Miller uses this scene to explore the theme of denial and blame by portraying Keller as the Tragic Hero who tries to persuade George that he is an innocent man who just happened to be sick on the day his co-worker shipped out broken airplane parts.
Another scene that reveals Joe Kellers blame and denial is on p.49 when Chris tells Keller that he must go to the police and hand himself in. The stage directions used here have a huge effect on this scene. This is because Keller who throughout the play is seen as very egoistic, brave, and intelligent man whereas in this scene, the stage directions make him look shy, afraid and follower rather than a leader. This is seen through the stage such as ‘with the beginning of plea in his voice’, ‘he takes a step towards Chris, pleadingly’ and ‘afraid of him, his deadly insistence’. These...

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