Arthur Miller’s focus when writing the play was on the relationship between fathers and son, yet on reflection he was struck by the fact that his play had ended up perhaps being more about the relationship between mothers and sons.
Examine the importance of women in Miller’s play.
At first glance, Arthur Miller’s play is dominated by married couples. The women in the play, except for Ann Deever, are living in a family together with their husbands.
This reflects the received picture of women in 1946, at the time he wrote the play. 50 years ago, women were expected to marry at rather young age and their main concern was supposed to be the family. Miller further reflects this suburban social attitude through Kate emphasising the fact that Ann still had not married, which she concludes to be proof of Larry’s survival. Hence, a young woman like Ann not being married was considered unusual at the time.
However, Ann is one of the major characters in Miller’s play. Throughout the play, she has an influence on the action. To begin with, her arrival starts off the plot, she is the point that connects past and present for the protagonists. If it had not been for her intentions to marry Chris, George would never have visited Steve Deever in prison, and so the whole case would not have been reopened.
Moreover, Ann is also involved in the moral issues of the play.
Like Kate and Joe, she refuses to realise Joe’s culpability. Although she knows that Joe is the reason Larry killed himself, she is still willing to join the Keller family through marrying Chris. This shows her twisted priorities; at the end, she sacrifices Kate’s and Joe’s happiness by showing Larry’s letter. As a justification she uses her personal loneliness (“remember, I’ve been so lonely...I can’t leave alone again”, p79).
She neglects her social responsibility in favour of her own happiness. This reflects one of the major issues Miller is raising in ‘All my Sons’.
Ann is described as attractive and...