All My Sons Arthur Miller
American playwright Arthur Miller (1915-2005) is best remembered for two of his plays: Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. However, Miller’s first successful play was the 1947 All My Sons, which won both the New York Dram Critics’ Circle Award and two Tony Awards, for Best Author and Best Direction. Miller wrote All My Sons as one last effort to become a successful playwright, vowing to find another career if the play failed. The play is structured much like a Greek tragedy.
Miller wrote All My Sons based upon actual events, from a newspaper story shown to him by his mother. The actual event involved the Wright Aeronautical Corporation selling defective aircraft engines to the U.S. military during World War II. With All My Sons, Miller presents the story of the Keller family. Patriarch Joe Keller had been in business with Steve Deever, who has been convicted of selling defective parts to the Air Force. Joe Keller had been exonerated.
In the meantime, one of the Keller’s sons, Larry, is still missing in action from World War II. Their other son, Chris, wishes to marry Ann Deever, who had been Larry’s girlfriend. Ann is ashamed of her father’s imprisonment and wonders if the defective parts were responsible for Larry’s death. However, Kate Keller, the mother, still believes that Larry is alive.
Eventually it is revealed that Larry is alive, and that Joe was complicit in covering up his knowledge of the defective parts. Larry is too ashamed to come home, and Joe kills himself because of his guilt.