Furthermore, these adjacency pairs in the form of question and answer between Toe and Kate also assert her power and strength that we begun to see at the end of Act 1 in the stage directions ‘sits stiffly in a chair.’ She is Joe’s rock and without her he would have no-one to turn to, to answer his questions or to keep him going.
However, we also see that she’s panicking. In Act 2, she says to Chris ‘We’re dumb Chris… You’ve got to protect us.’ And this shows the audience that she was slightly panicked but also calculated. She understood how precarious their situation was but thought that their son Chris would protect them. In Act 3, however, a lot of her responses to Joe’s questions aren’t very helpful and it seems that she’s losing faith in Chris protecting them from the consequences of the exposure of the truth. ‘You can’t bull yourself through this one, Joe, you better be smart now.’ And ‘You want to live? You better figure out your life.’ She knows there aren’t any options for Joe as other people know the truth. This also suggests to the audience that if he doesn’t face the truth and the consequences then he will not be able to live, which foreshadows the end of the play when he kills himself.
Miller then forces us to see Joe in the frame of mind he’s always been in –money orientated. ‘You wanted money so I made money. What must I be forgiven?’ This makes us realise that he’s still in denial that he’s done anything wrong because he thinks he can justify his actions by needing to support his family. ‘It’s got to excuse it!’
When Annie returns from the bedroom in Act 3, the audience are forced into really seeing that her main value and care is only to get what she wants- Chris, and to conform to society’s expectations of a woman by marrying him. She is manipulative and uses the influence and knowledge she has over Keller and Kate to get Chris. ‘I’ll do nothing about Joe, but you’re going to do something for me.’ When Ann says ‘I said he’s dead. I know…’ Miller forces us to see that she’s insensitive and also quite ruthless. She’s kept the truth of Larry’s death a secret from his own family- which was morally wrong- in order of swaying their decision about her marrying Chris.