Tragic Hero

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Tragic hero

Exposition

He is a hardworking and considerate father to his sons, Chris and Larry and a caring and loving husband to his wife Kate. The audience knows this because early in the play, of Act 1, he says to Chris, "Because what the hell did I work for? That's only for you Chris, the whole shootin' match for you!" The audience believes this because throughout the play they see no evidence of Joe indulging in any of the human weaknesses, which would squander his money

He is an easy-going man who is a good friend to everyone. The play is set in his backyard, which seems to be a perpetual open house to the neighborhood. He is well-liked by people in his small town, as Ann says, "People like to do things for the Keller’s. Been that way since I can remember"(Act 1, p41).

Hubris + Hamartia

Joe has spent his life making many decisions most of which appear to have been good decisions resulting in his family enjoying a comfortable life. The audience admires him for this. Unfortunately, late one night Joe made a hurried decision, which he believed he could get away with. It is an unethical decision that Joe Keller sold the broken airplanes¡ cylinder heads to the military during World War II. The main reason was that he did not want to let the business fall behind in the industry as proof in Act 2, when he tells Chris why he made that decision, "I'm a business man, a man is in business; a hundred and twenty cracked, you're out of business, you got a process, the process don't work you're out of business; you don't know how to operate, your stuff is no good; they close you up, they tear up your contract what the hell's it to them? You lay forty years into a business and they knock you out in five minutes, what could I do, let them take forty years, let them take my life away""(Act 2, p67). The audience sympathizes with Joe's decision.

Perepetia + Nemesis

When Ann reveals a letter written by Kate’s son Larry, shortly before he died. It states...
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