ALL MY SONS
by Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller (1915-2005) was born and raised in New York City. He worked his way
through college at the University of Michigan, and by the time he graduated in 1938, he had
already received a number of awards for plays he wrote in his undergraduate years. After a
number of early professional attempts that failed, he produced his first theatricalsuccess with All
My Sons in 1947. The play generally considered his masterpiece, The Death of a Salesman, won
him the Pulitzer Prize in 1949 and catapulted him into the company of America’s greatest living
playwrights. Other successes included The Crucible (1953), a drama about the Salem witch trials
in which he reflected on the McCarthy era, A View from the Bridge (1955), After the Fall (1964),The Price (1968), The American Clock (1980), and Broken Glass (1995). He also wrote the script
for the movie The Misfits (1961 - the script was written as a starring vehicle for his wife, Marilyn
Monroe, but the two divorced shortly after the movie was produced) and the Emmy Awardwinning
television special Playing for Time (1980).
All My Sons deals with a family in crisis - one of the sons hasdied in World War II, and
the discovery that the father had been involved in war profiteering, marketing substandard
workmanship on warplanes that caused the deaths of many, the son included (in an indirect way),
destroys what were already tenuous family ties. Though the root of the conflict is dated, the
interactions among family members resonate with family struggles that are with us fartoo often
• Joe Keller - A war profiteer who sold defective cylinder heads to the Air Force during
World War II. He was exonerated when he lied and placed the blame on his partner, Steve
Deever. He is a gruff and wealthy businessman.
• Kate Keller - Joe’s wife, she is in denial about the death of her son Larry, who died in the
war in a plane crash. She knows of Joe’sguilt, but has never told anyone. She insists that
Larry is still alive, and can’t permit Chris to marry his former fiancee, Annie.
• Chris Keller - Their son, a moral, upright, and idealistic young man. He is in love with
Annie Deever and intends to marry her.
• Annie Deever - Steve’s daughter, previously engaged to Larry Keller, but recently arrived
from New York to finalize her engagementto Chris. She is a kind and gentle girl, beloved
by all, but has cut ties with her father because she believes him guilty of that for which he
has been imprisoned. She possesses a letter proving that Larry committed suicide out of
shame for what his father had done.
• George Deever - Annie’s brother, he is now a lawyer. After visiting his father in prison,
he becomes convinced of Steve’sinnocence and Joe’s guilt, and comes to break up Annie’s
intended marriage to Chris.
• Jim Bayliss - A doctor and a neighbor and friend to the Kellers. He has always suspected
Joe’s guilt, but has never vocalized his suspicions.
• Sue Bayliss - Jim’s wife, she is much more vocal about her suspicions, which are shared
by the entire neighborhood.
• Frank Lubey - Neighbor to the Kellers on the otherside, Frank believes in horoscopes, and
has been asked by Kate to cast one for Larry for the day he supposedly died. When he
does so, he finds it full of good omens and reports that Larry surely must be alive.
• Lydia Lubey - Frank’s wife and mother of his three children; formerly in love with George
Deever, and it’s obvious that their affection has never fully dissipated.
NOTABLE QUOTATIONS“Because certain things have to be, and certain things can never be. Like the sun has to
rise, it has to be. That’s why there’s God. Otherwise anything could happen. But there’s God,
so certain things can never happen.” (Kate, Act I)
“Everything was being destroyed, see, but it seemed to me that one new thing was made.
A kind of ... responsibility. Man for man. You understand me? To show...
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