To What Extent Is Aurther Miller's 'All My Sons' a Critique of the American Dream?

1427 Words Apr 28th, 2008 6 Pages
To what extent is Arthur Miller’s ‘All My Sons’ a critique of the American Dream

Arthur Miller was an American playwright and was a prominent figure in America until his recent death in 2005. It was at this time of his death that Miller was considered one of the greatest American playwrights.
In 1947, after his disastrous play – ‘The man who had all the luck’, ‘All My Sons’ was published, which brought Miller recognition and was the start of his successful career. ‘All My Sons’ is set after World War 2 and touches on The Great Depression, which was a decade of ‘dramatic and worldwide economic downturn beginning in some countries as early as 1928’. Many Americans were left in high poverty, jobless and homeless due to shops, factories and
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Keller argues that what he did during the war was merely good business practise. Keller also refers to himself as an ‘uneducated man’, which implies that he has achieved the financial part of the American Dream without the aid of books; however, it is his business that leads o his downfall. Miller criticises a “capitalist system that encourages individuals to value their business sense over their moral sense”. This means that Miller disagrees with people who crave profit and success at the expense of happiness for yourself and others.
Keller earns respect from his neighbours, even though they all know the truth about his past, as at one point he is defined as “a man among men”. This suggests that men in the neighbourhood aspire to achieve what Keller has achieved – a great business and successful family life.
Realities dawn through the dramatic device of dialogue from neighbours which reveal Keller’s past to us, for example when Sue says to Ann; “There’s not a person on the block who doesn’t know the truth”. This shows that people are aware of what Keller did and the fact that he is guilty, yet people still admire him as it does appear that he has achieved the American Dream.
However, when Chris denies responsibility of the business during a conversation with Keller; “The business! The business doesn’t inspire me”, this