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Chris Keller As a Tragic Victim in All My Sons Essay


All my sons Arthur Miller

Explore Millers presentation of the character, Chris Keller, as a tragic victim in All My Sons.

For a tragedy to be written and understood there always has to be an unfortunate victim presented, as a character that the audience can sympathise with. In All My Sons Arthur Miller establishes and develops the character Chris Keller to play the role of the tragic victim. In doing so, Miller presents a character who represents attitudes and values of the time the play is set, which is 1940s America.

From the stage directions in the opening Act, it is immediately recognised that there is a divide in the family. When Miller creates the setting and atmosphere the image is presented as perfection and creates the American dream effect. This image is disrupted by a broken tree which forewarns the audience of the struggle ahead as it predicts the tragedy ahead. The tree symbolises not only the death of Larry but also the familys disruption caused by the death. As a result of Larrys death it leaves Chris as the only child left and forces him to take on much more responsible role. Miller describes the House as two storeys high to show the clear distinction between the family. Chris Keller acts and thinks independently in a moralistic way, whilst Joe Keller only acts in a way that would benefit him. As a result of these conflicting views it creates a divide in the family which then creates a suffering for Chris Keller.

As part of the presentation of Chriss victimised character he is shown as living in Larrys shadow. This is mainly portrayed through the treatment Chris receives from his parents. When he talks about Ann to his father Joe it is made clear that Ann is Larrys girl. Even after Larrys death his family are still clinging on to every last hope that he is alive somewhere and refusing to move forward, therefore forcing Chris to live in Larrys shadow as he is forbidden to get on with his life. After hearing this Chris argues back every time I reach out for something I want, I have to pull back because other people will suffer. My whole bloody life, time after time after time. This quotation explains to the audience what life has been like for Chris since the death of his brother and what kind of son he is expected to be; obedient and supportive. It also shows that Chris puts others thoughts and feelings before his own which stops him from reaching out for what he wants. Using the vulgarism bloody shows he is letting his frustration out and shows signs that he has had enough of his parents authority wants to be independent, Both Kate and Joe do not understand him. Kate also proceeds to prove this point as at the end of the play when the truth comes out she tells Joe I dont know him. At this

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