by Arthur Miller
The action of the play is set in August 1947, in the mid-west of the U.S.A. The events depicted occur between Sunday morning and a little after two o'clock the following morning. Joe Keller, the chief character, is a man who loves his family above all else, and has sacrificed everything, including his honour, in his struggle to make the family prosperous. He is now sixty-one. He has lost one son in the war, and is keen to see his remaining son, Chris, marry. Chris wishes to marry Ann, the former fiancée of his brother, Larry who went missing in WW2. Their mother, Kate, believes Larry still to be alive. It is this belief which has enabled her, for three and a half years, to support Joe by concealing her knowledge of a dreadful crime he has committed.
Arthur Miller found the idea for Joe's crime in a true story, which occurred during the second world war: a manufacturer knowingly shipped out defective parts for tanks. These had suffered mechanical failures which had led to the deaths of many soldiers. The fault was discovered, and the manufacturer convicted. In All My Sons, Miller examines the morality of the man who places his narrow responsibility to his immediate family above his wider responsibility to the men who rely on the integrity of his work.
Winner of the Drama Critics' Award for Best New Play in 1947 and multiple Tony Award-winner, All My Sons established Arthur Miller as a leading voice in the American theatre. All My Sons introduced themes that thread through Miller's work as a whole: the relationships between fathers and sons and the conflict between business and personal ethics.
AN AMERICAN CLASSIC OF TREMENDOUS POWER
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