A businessman, Joe Keller, claims that 'nothing' is bigger' than family. Yet he is to discover that his devotion to family and the family business produce tragedies that run beyond his control. Set just after the Second World War and haunted by Keller's absent son, Larry, a missing US airman, the play poses uncomfortable questions. It explores the contradictions that arise when competing responsibilities to family, country and humanity come into conflict, and exposes disturbing fault lines in the American Dream.
All My Sons, Arthur Miller's first commercial success, tells the story of an American family caught up in the struggle between personal responsibility and duty to their country. Joe Keller, a successful, self-made man has done a terrible thing: during World War II, hurriedly trying to meet an order from the Army, he knowingly sold them defective airplane parts which later caused the planes to crash and killed 21 men. He engineered his own exoneration and falsely turned in his business partner; now, his son is about to marry the partner's daughter, the affair is revisited, and his lie of a life is revealed. Joe, spending his whole life in the pursuit of wealth for the sake of his family, represents the American Dream gone wrong.
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