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Trial the development of Joe Keller. How does Miller manipulate the audience’s sympathy?

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Trial the development of Joe Keller. How does Miller manipulate the audience's sympathy? The audience's sympathy for Joe Keller oscillates throughout the play. Ranging from deep compassion to undisputed rage, the audience has plenty of time to view Joe Keller's development as the central character of the novel. His emotional growth from beginning to end facilitates the empathy that the audience shows; hence, Miller uses Keller as a character in order to build up the compassionate side of the audience in order to assemble a fabricated and well thought out character. Firstly, Keller tries to change Anne's mind with respect to Stephen, and goes about it in a calm and relaxed manner. He mentions, "I want him [Stephen] to know, Annie... while he's sitting there I want him to know that when he gets out he's got a place waitin' for him." His use of ellipsis is ambivalent, on one hand, it could signify the deep emotion that Keller feels towards Stephen, but on the other hand, another concealed meaning could be that Joe ...read more.


Thirdly, Keller suggests that Stephen is a helpless coward in a conversation with his son, George, and offensively gives numerous examples in his defence. Keller mentions that Stephen "damn near blew us all up with that heater he left burning for two days without water." Emotive words such as "damn", "blew" and "burning" all have negative implications, giving the impression that Keller was the brains behind the business. The fact that Keller was also "driving in, but restrained" suggests that he wants to inflict his own ideas and beliefs onto George, but knows that he must restrain himself, giving the same implication that Keller has something to hide. However, this could also be considered as a defensive, rather than an offensive conversation, as George uses a rather accusational tone towards Keller and is "studying him" thoroughly. Finally, Chris holds great admiration for Keller, but is destroyed once he learns of his father's terrible secret. When the realisation finally hits, Chris stutters "in a broken whisper", "Then... ...read more.


He says, "I think to him they were all my sons." This line shows the realisation of his wrongdoings. His morals and ethics are finally shown, as he stares blankly into the piece of paper in his hand. His suicide could represent Keller as taking his responsibilities rather than hiding from them, however, it could also suggest that Keller was a coward and he was merely running away from the problems that he was to face if he did not accept his offences. Evidently, his defensive stance when talking to George, his conflict of beliefs with his son, and his ultimate sacrifice all have a large part to play in Miller's manipulation of the audience's sympathy. Keller was a coward and used scapegoats or escapism to run away from his problems, giving the ultimate impression to the audience that Keller as a human is not to be sympathised with. However, his growth as a character and his self-understanding both provide a suitable route to empathise with him, truly showing that the audience can choose whichever interpretation they prefer. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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