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'All My Sons' - What do you believe to be the social, moral message of the play? How does Miller convey this to his audience?

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Introduction

What do you believe to be the social, moral message of the play? How does Miller convey this to his audience? Arthur Miller's play, 'All my sons' contains many different social, moral messages. Within this play Miller has successfully portrayed the moral dilemma as to where responsibility begins and where it ends. Choices and decisions occur throughout the play, with each character having to make their own decision. Miller questions forgiveness through all the characters especially the Keller family. Can any one be truly forgiven? Guilt is also a huge theme within this play. In 'all my sons' Miller confronts the issue of a sinner accepting his sin and recognising what he has done wrong. In this case, Joe Keller realises what he has done wrong and punishes himself for this. Miller puts forward the idea of 'birds coming home to roost'. Meaning that Joe was always going to have to pay for what he did in the long run. ...read more.

Middle

The American dream is to "do what you must to achieve your goal." Miller attacks this and conveys his views upon the American dream by the consequences of Keller's actions. You cannot displace morals and do what you wish to get what you want. You have to remember the ripple effect and this is what Miller shows his audience. What you do affects other people too. Keller sacrifices the lives of others to keep what he had achieved. If he hadn't followed his distorted perception of the American dream he would of lost everything but the soldiers would of survived. Although there are many moral issues, I personally feel that the most important issue is that if during your pursuit for success you hurt or endanger others. You are not a success you have failed, failed to live morally right. Miller conveys the issues of the play in a theatrical tradition similar to that of the ancient Greek plays. ...read more.

Conclusion

Chris is the voice of the new generation. Miller also shows a theme of 'survival of the fittest'. The neighbours all know that Joe committed the crime but they all respect him for being able to 'scheme' his way out of trouble. Jim tries to be selfless but is looked down upon. His dream was to give him life to science, but the attitude of the American dream made him stay home. 'He is only worth while if he is making money'. Miller also approaches surrealism in the play. He does this through the characters Kate and Frank. Frank believes greatly in fate, he believes he is a higher person but he is also a very successful character. He convinces Kate that Larry couldn't have died on his 'favourable day' that of course is ridiculous as Larry in fact committed suicide. In conclusion I feel that Miller wrote this play to show the truth to the American dream and how it can be completely un-realistic. Perhaps if the American dream had small print then there would be no need for mishaps and blunders due to distorted perceptions. ...read more.

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