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All My Sons by Arthur Miller

A theme analysis of the play putting emphasis on Personal Responsibility vs Social Responsibility.
by

Radhika Sharma

on 4 March 2013

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Transcript of All My Sons by Arthur Miller

ALL MY SONS By : Arthur Miller Theme Analysis Storyline - All My Sons follows the lives of the individuals in the Keller family. Joe Keller, the headman of the house, supplies faulty cylinder heads to the army during the second World War, but frames his business partner Steve, sending him to prison. Now, his son is about to marry the partner's daughter, the affair is revisited, and his guilty secret is exposed. THEMES : 1) The American Dream
2) War Profiteering
3) Social Responsibilty
4) Impact of Past on Future and Present
5) Capitalism
6) Idealism We will explore the theme of - Personal Responsibility
vs
Social Responsibility Joe Keller's character blames his partner, Steve, for supplying faulty cylinder heads. Throughout the play, he lives in self-deception, hiding his guilty secret in order to save his business. He justifies his actions by saying that all he did was for his family, to provide them with a good lifestyle. What Miller presents here is how we must think of the society at large and not only of our family! Personal responsibility is important but social responsibility must also be fulfilled since that's what holds the society together. Being selfish and thinking of only one's family can lead to tragic consequences. Joe Keller's actions lead tot he death of 21 pilots who were from families too. Realization of the fact that Keller killed someone's son put him into despair that he could not handle. This was intensified by the fact that Keller himself lost both of his sons because of his actions. Through Joe's tragic suicide at the endof the play, Miller effectively presents the consequences of being ignorant towards one's social responsibility.
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