• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How does Miller present Joe Keller as a tragic hero in All My Sons?

Extracts from this document...


How does Miller present Joe Keller as a tragic hero in All My Sons? Joe Keller is a man who loves and values his family very much. Like most Americans he has given everything so he can have the big house, the fancy car and the bulging wallet. He has given everything so he can have the American Dream. Unfortunately for Keller, everything isn't as perfect as it seems. "All My Sons" is a very tragic play. It shows how a man can sacrifice everything including the honour of his name to make his family prosperous. This struggle for wealth and material goods involves Keller doing an awful crime because he wants his family to be wealthy. This is the cause of Keller's downfall. In "All My Sons" Miller examines the morality of a man who places his narrow responsibility to his immediate family above his wider responsibility to the men who rely on the integrity of his work. "All My Sons" shows Keller placing his family in front of society. At the end of "All My Sons" Keller disappears offstage and shoots himself. This is a very tragic thing to happen because all Keller wanted was a happy family. When Chris finds out that Keller, his father, had allowed faulty cylinder heads to be sent out of his factory, Keller proves to the audience that he wanted good to come from it by saying "...what the hell did I work for? ...read more.


The audience sees that Chris treats Keller how he would treat any other man who had committed the same crime. It is Chris' belief that society is just as important as family that makes him treat his father like a man, not just like a father. I think that Chris' war experiences had a dramatic effect on his attitude towards society and his family. On page 121 in his speech about the soldiers he was in charge of during the war he says "They didn't die; they killed themselves for each other". Here, Chris is commenting on how selfless those soldiers were and how they gave everything they had and died so that they could help their comrades. I think Chris' war experiences really opened his eyes up to how selfish people are in the real world and how rather than man helping fellow man it is more like dog eat dog. Chris says in his speech "A kind of - responsibility. Man for man." I think this is what he has learnt from his soldiers. He has learnt that in society you have a responsibility to one another and that is why Chris feels society is equally important to family. As the play unfolds Keller begins to realise that Chris does not agree with his belief that family is more important than society. ...read more.


In Keller's case his highpoint is achieving the American Dream. We know he is very wealthy because in the introduction it says his house "would have cost perhaps fifteen thousand dollars in the early twenties when it was built". That was a lot of money in those days so we can take a pretty safe guess that Keller was living up to the American Dream. Joe Keller is looked up to in his neighbourhood even though they do actually know what he has done. He is a respected figure in society because the neighbourhood admires him for being able to wriggle his way out of a prison sentence. They admire him for how clever he was to lie and pin the blame on someone else. I think this is a very corrupt society and I think that is what Miller was trying to portray to the audience in "All My Sons". Miller wanted to get across to the audiences his views on American society. I think Miller writes about another broader tragedy in the play besides Keller's tragedy. This tragedy is the society we live in today and how nobody looks out for each other. It is all about the survival of the fittest nowadays. This is what Chris tries to stand up against throughout the play. Keller's tragedy in "All My Sons" is that he works so hard for the American Dream and at the end of the play he shoots himself. By doing this he is giving up everything he has worked so hard for over his life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Plays section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Plays essays

  1. The character of Kate Keller, created by Arthur Miller and presented to us in ...

    "Yeah, I'm last in place again. I don't know, once upon a time I used to think that when I got money gain, I would have a maid and my wife would take it easy. Now I got money, and I got a maid, and my wife is working for the maid."

  2. Dear Mr Smith, I am writing to you with reference to your proposed production ...

    George Deever is a soul mate of Chris. When younger, he greatly admired him. He believed that his father, Steve is guilty of murder, but now after talking with his dad, he now understands that it was Keller who is really to blame. Now he reproaches the Keller family to find out the truth.

  1. Is Hedda Gabler a Tragedy?

    Ibsen once wrote, "It was not really my intention to deal in this play with so-called problems." Yet there has been much academic discussion as to whether Hedda Gabler is a 'Problem Play'. The question we should be asking, therefore, is 'what is wrong with the society in which Hedda lives?'

  2. Aristotle wrote in Poetics that tragedy should contain incidents arousing pity and fear and ...

    the audience hope for Chris' life to be re-aligned and end happily with his marriage to Ann. However this news arouses trepidation in the audience and characters because they do not understand as to how Kate might react because of her fragile state and her stubborn will.

  1. day in the death of joe egg

    Saying this, English is not Darren's mothertongue and credit must be given for his different accents especially his Austrian accent in the first half of the play. Another feature of Darren's performance that propels the black comedy in the play is his majestic timing of his comic lines that Bri delivers throughout the play.

  2. All My Sons ...

    Also, Joe's comments about Steve, 'I owe him a good kick in the teeth, but he's your father' show blatent deception and two-facedness. The opening of the play consists of a very detailed description of the Kellers' house. This symbolises the constant and varied goings on throughout the play and the chaos of varied themes and occurrences.

  1. A Man For All Seasons

    In this scene there is also an underlying friendship theme going on between Norfolk and Sir Thomas More since Norfolk is miserable because of the threat to his friend (Sir Thomas More)

  2. Does Clark present arguments for and against 'assisted suicide' without prejudicing the audience in ...

    of Dr Emerson changes completely and she begins to resent him and questions him. "I hope you will forgive me Sir, for saying this, but I think that is just how you are behaving, as a judge." Clark is prejudicing his audience here by the fact that if the medical

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work