"All My Sons" by Arthur Miller

Essay by QueenKatieCocoaHigh School, 12th gradeA+, April 2004

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Arthur Miller creates several conflicts in All my Sons in order to keep the play captivating for the audience. For example he portrays Chris to be a man that feels guilty about the money he owns because he gets it out of a business that does not value the labour it relies on, but on the other hand Joe, his father, is portrayed to be a man that will sacrifice almost anything, including his dignity, for the success of his business. The play revolves around conflicts such as this, about the question of morality, individualism and society as a whole. One might think that the exceptional circumstances of the family in which one son is dead while the other not only lives, but also plans to marry the former fiancée of his brother, that the play takes place after World War Two and that the setting is a backyard of a middle to upper middle class home in a small town in America might be the only reason for such dilemmas.

However it is important to note that the roots of these conflicts are both timeless and placeless; they happen to everybody, every day, making this play a universal drama.

The central conflict of the play revolves around the question of morality, a universal dilemma. Joe has the morality of a man who places his responsibility to his immediate family above everything else, including his responsibility to all the men who rely on the integrity of his work for survival. For Joe "It was only for Chris, the whole shootin'-match was for (Chris)" (59). In short, "He just wants everybody happy" (28). Chris' morals are guided by the belief that a man's duty and contribution to his fellow country men is paramount. He believes that "there's...