An Analysis of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons

Topics: All My Sons, Suicide, Suicide methods Pages: 3 (970 words) Published: June 16, 2008
With Reference To Miller’s Dramatic Techniques,
Discuss Your Response To Joe Keller.

Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”, is a tale of the contrast between human profit and human loss in the midst of World War II. The play was written during the war, but Miller set the play some two years after the war, in August of 1947 in Midwest suburban America, with the main plot set between Sunday morning and a little after two o’clock the following afternoon.

Miller’s personal experiences of war influence the story greatly, Miller explains that at this time, people were “Announcing the arrival of that great day when industry and labour were one”, in other words, equality was becoming more prominent. But Miller did not feel this was the case, politically he had strong socialistic principles so he was critical of capitalism. This belief lies behind the meaning of the play for its didactic purpose was to show how capitalism is destructive to humanity. This is why Joe Keller is presented as a capitalist; he is one of many who made money through his business whilst others died and were, as others put it “the human sacrifice of war”.

The play opens into the back garden of the Keller’s house; the first character we are introduced is Joe Keller who is seated reading a newspaper the atmosphere is that of undisturbed normality, the play’s opening is very slow and boredom even threatens at times. But Miller has a method behind his madness; he deliberately intends to make the opening slow so that when the first hint of drama unfolds, “a genuine horror might begin to move in the heart of the audience”. Another of Miller’s deliberate techniques is to use props as symbols; we see this technique used frequently during the play.

The first prop we learn of used as a symbol is the poplar trees that surround the Keller home, this symbolises the enclosed nature of Joe’s mind, his inability to see further than anything but the business and his family. A tree planted in the...
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