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Discuss the techniques that Arthur Miller uses to create dramatic tension in Acts 1&2 of "All My Sons"?

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Introduction

How does Arthur Miller create a sense of normality with an undercurrent of unease [Act 1]? (Intro. Stage directions. Settings/ context. Joe Keller. Conclusion) During "all my sons", Miller creates a sense of normality with a undercurrent of unease using several different techniques including: the use of setting, stage directions and dramatic tension between characters. All of course being subsequently keeping the audience enthralled in the play. The plot its self breeds tension, revolving around the two major areas of the family conflict: the disagreement within the family over the pending marriage and at the core of the play, the conflict between father and son. But by definition Drama Plays are by nature about conflict, in the play 'All My Sons' (ASM) has two levels a surface gloss of normality and a submerged latent The opening of act 1 paints a scene of leisurely, relaxed life, untouched by the horrors/ deprivation of the recent war (world War II). The whole setting itself has sense of normality and unease which is created by Miller for effect for Act 1 is in an ...read more.

Middle

Throughout the act 1, tension/ unease is created from conflicts between characters, especially between the Keller families. The conflicts between the characters occasionally climax to expose a dramatic secret or revelation, however Tension is often broken with the arrival of a new character. For example after the arrival of Ann during act 1 the argument between mother and Keller is soon interrupted. Using this method, Miller often has short breaks of tension that quickly cease to keep the audience hungry for more, thus maintaining a 'drip feed' style of revealing information. 1. Jo Keller relaxes in the sunshine of a quiet Sunday Morning reading his newspaper; it's a picture of normality. Miller use of conversation style creates a sense of normality by using simple plain words. The conversation is short and uneventful about routine things like the weather. The dialogue is ordinary everyday and slow paced, the conversation casually flits almost aimlessly from the weather to newspaper ads to mentioning arrival of a visitor to a toaster that's not working and a doctor answers a patients call .The style of conversation is colloquial , recorded as its spoken , without correct grammar .The subject content not great deep meaningful speeches. ...read more.

Conclusion

as his neighbour Frank casually walks into his garden he asks "what's today's calamity?". It is telling that Keller replies "I don't read the news part any more. its more interesting in the want adds". I believe that Keller only chose to read the want adverts' and not any news items because he doesn't like facing reality or the fact that someone is reporting calamities or about crimes that someone's done wrong .Keller is hiding a deep guilt 3. the stage direction Settings convey immediate familiarity, the opening of Act I paints a scene of a leisurely relaxed cosy family garden, in contrast to the recent horrors of WWII, "the backyard of the Keller household in the outskirts an American town ", the description of the stage set is realistic homely and safe lifelike and not at all theatrical, but a highly familiar setting for the audience. The family backyard setting is an open space set in 'ordinaryville' where neighbours feel comfortable just walking into to start conversations. the ordinariness stage setting is emphasised "it would have cost fifteen thousand" ?? ?? ?? ?? English Literature- All my sons By Max Holbrough ...read more.

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