Throughout the play ‘All My Sons’ Arthur Miller does create a fairly realistic dialogue on which to base the play. There is nothing that could be argued to be completely out of the ordinary about the play and to a certain extent all of the content is believable due to the fact that the play itself is wholly about a family that, to begin with seems to be the typical ‘happy’ family and as the play continues the audience sees them digress, and many secrets are revealed that show them to not be the happy family that was first seen as there are many cracks that appear in their relationships between one another.
There is nothing unrealistic about this idea as it is like many families that keep secrets and perhaps are not completely successful in hiding them, and one day they come back to cause a fatal downfall to the family in question. One way in which ‘All My Sons’ can be argued to be realistic, is the opening of the play.
The audience see a normal family, displaying friendly banter between one another, for example; ‘ Mother: well, get it out of the pail. That’s my potatoes. [Chris bursts out laughing- goes up into ally. ] Keller: [laughing] I thought it was garbage. Mother: Will you do me a favour Joe? Don’t be helpful. ‘ This playful argument between them displays a certain fondness that would be expected from an ordinary content and happy family and thus supporting the claim that Miller often writes a realist dialogue for his plays.
Another example of the banter that portrays a relatively normal family life is when Keller is joking around with the little boy Bert about his jail in the basement, ‘Keller chuckles and winks at Chris, who is enjoying all this’ these stage directions show how the family get along and are comfortable around each other, displaying a usual family relationship which also reflects Miller’s realistic dialogue. Throughout the play there are various references to the relationships between the family members, for example, how Chris feels towards his father before and after he finds out what Keller did during the war.
The reaction of Chris is that of a realistic one. This is because, all through the play Chris is described as having a ‘star of one’s honesty’ and when he finds out about Keller’s actions he does not want to be disloyal to his father as he is described, from the very beginning of the play to have ‘immense affection and loyalty’, however, Chris also knows that the right thing to do is to turn his father in so that Keller’s partner can be released from jail.
This is a realistic dilemma that any son would face in this situation, after being so close to their father, and then having to decide between their welfare or that of another innocent man. Miller manages to write a tragic play with much realism as there are many discussions that are filled with normality and the audience could go as far to think that very little goes on in the first half of the play, as what goes on is so realistic of any normal family.
Along with all the realistic dialogue however, there are some things against the statement that Miller writes a realistic dialogue, for example, the fact that the whole play took place in such a short period of time, yet so much happened and the family went from being perfectly happy to completely falling apart in relatively no time at all, this is perhaps fairly unrealistic as in a situation like this perhaps there would have been less drama about the revelation that Keller sold faulty cylinder heads during the war, as even Chris states that he had an idea of what Keller had done.
When Chris is confronting Keller he states that, ‘I never saw you as a man. I saw you as my father. [Almost breaking] I cant look at you this way, I cant look at myself! ‘ This could be taken as a fairly melodramatic thing to say, Chris knew that Keller had a business and needed to work and produce to get money for his family, and for Chris to say this to him, could be taken as perhaps a fairly childish thing to say.
Another perhaps unrealistic idea within the play is the suicide that occurs, Larry, Keller and the possibility that perhaps Chris may also want to kill himself, the is suggested when he goes out for a drive and does not return for a while and his mother begins to worry. This all seems very dramatic as even in the situation, suicide seems perhaps slightly over the top, thus causing it to be slightly unrealistic.
In conclusion, although there are a few over dramatic and slightly unrealistic things about the dialogue in ‘All My Sons’ Arthur Miller does manage to produce a relatively realistic play as there are only small amounts that could be criticised to be unlikely and therefore, to state that, ‘Arthur Miller has been praised for his realistic dialogue’ would be a correct admiration to make.
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