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All My Sons by Arthur Miller, Essential Revision Notes

All My Sons, Essential Revision Notes

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All revision notes have been produced by mockness ltd for irevise.com.

Table of Contents

Context 4

Summary 5

Overview 5

Act 1 5

Act 2 7

Act 3 8

Characters 10

Joe Keller 10

Chris Keller 10

Kate Keller 10

Ann Deever 11

George Deever 11

Dr. Jim Bayliss 12

Sue Bayliss 12

Frank Lubey 12

Lydia Lubey 12

Bert 13

Themes with Supporting Quotations 14

Guilt and Blame 14

Wealth 15

Justice and Judgement 17

Lies and Deceit 19

Morality and Ethics 20

Memory and The Past 22

Family 24

Courage 25

Sample Answers 28

All My Sons as Precursor in Arthur Miller’s Dramatic World 28

Context

Arthur Miller started writing All My Sons in 1945, inspired by World War II and the true-life story (told to him by his stepmom) of a woman who alerted authorities to her father's wartime wrong-doing (source: Christopher Bigsby, "Introduction to All My Sons." Penguin Classics, 2000).

The play focuses on the story of a businessman who once narrowly avoided financial ruin by shipping cracked machine parts to the military. He blames his business partner and builds an empire, but eventually his crime comes back to haunt him. The play was produced after the war, won the 1947 Tony, and beat out Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh for the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award that same year.

You might already know Miller from some of his most famous plays, like The Crucible, Death of a Salesman, or A View From the Bridge. All My Sons was one of Miller's earliest plays – and his first commercially successful one – but it already features the ideas of social responsibility that he obsessed with throughout his entire career.

Summary

Overview

Joe Keller, a successful businessman, lives comfortably with his wife, Kate, and son, Chris, in a suburban American neighbourhood. They have only one sadness in their lives – the loss of their other son, Larry, who went missing in World War II. After three years, Kate still clings to the hope that her son is alive. Chris would like her to give up that hope b...

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