Degradation of America in All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible.

2446 Words 10 Pages
The Degradation of America in All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, and The Crucible

Arthur Miller was, as a playwright, very critical of American society. He condemned every aspect and satirized every ideal of modern American culture, from democracy to the American dream. He degraded every part of Western civilization down to a much more basic and much more negative idea – capitalism became greed, and rule by the people became rule by the mob. Many people of his era saw him as anti-American, and in many ways, he was.

Each of Miller’s plays focuses on fundamental aspects of humanity. Miller chose to represent these qualities in direct relation to American society, and contrasted the sacred ideals of democracy
…show more content…
I – there was no meaning in it here… I went to work with Dad, and that rat-race again. I felt… ashamed somehow” (84). Even worse than this, however, is that they were being betrayed by American businessmen seeking to squeeze yet more money out of the American government. Joe Keller, Miller’s representation of the American “everyman”, tried to justify his own greed by pointing out, “Who worked for nothin’ in that war? . . . Did they ship a gun or a truck outa Detroit before they got their price? Is that clean? It’s dollars and cents, nickels and dimes; war and peace, it’s nickels and dimes, what’s clean?” (125) This drives Miller’s point home – while soldiers were sacrificing their lives for their country and family, businessmen, even those who had relatives in the war, were refusing to sacrifice something as simple as money.

Arthur Miller also criticizes the American justice system in All My Sons. Joe Keller, the murderer of twenty-one American pilots, is acquitted because he “pulled a fast one”, while his blameless partner receives a lengthy prison sentence. The evidence from that fateful day is sketchy, but instead of finding out the truth the court favors those who know it best. In order to save himself, Joe blamed his partner for the defects, and then lived a normal life for years knowing that he had wrongfully imprisoned a man. His complete lack of moral
Open Document