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Tragic Heroes, Joe and Chris Keller, Portrayed in All My Sons

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A tragic hero can be defined by several different factors; the hero usually has a major flaw that prevents him from seeing the truth that lies in front of him, which contributes to the character’s peripeteia due to mistaken judgement. This mistake then leads to achieving anagnorisis, usually at the end of the play, but is too late to change anything, and results in death. Both Joe and Chris Keller constitute as being tragic characters of All My Sons because they both make very tragic mistakes and are driven by the disastrous events that begin before the play. Joe Keller can be described as being tragic because his whole life was dedicated to his family and their well being but all his plans were undone by one fatally flawed…show more content…
In contrast to Joe, a key theme of Chris’ mistake was guilt, as he felt a ‘responsibility’ when he returned from the war alive, which led him to want to believe the best in Joe. Arthur Miller chooses to use ‘killed’ when Chris tells Ann about his ‘men’, because it creates the idea that it was meant to be, and was the ultimate example of altruism, which reflects Chris’ feelings of guilt when he returns home. Joe’s peripeteia is linked with the swift arrival of George, who infiltrates the certainty of the ‘holy family’, that Steve was entirely at fault for the cylinder heads. George imminently wants to confront Joe, and this indicates that Joe’s fortune may be shifting, which is shown through Joe’s sudden mood change to ‘hopeless fury’ when he hears of George’s arrival. Joe’s fortune is altered by Kate’s slip-up when talking to George about Joe; ‘He hasn’t been laid up in fifteen years’, this then prompts George to raise questions, leading to Joe’s downfall. George is also a factor in Chris’ peripeteia, which leads to Chris conforming to a realistic outlook on life, rather than the idealistic. Joe’s reversal of fortune guides the path for Chris’ realisation that his father was responsible for the death of twenty one pilots, and his brother, Larry, which ultimately leads to the breakdown of the Keller family, and almost destroys Chris’ relationship with Ann. Whilst Chris’ peripeteia
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