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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Guilt and Blame

Pretty much everyone in All My Sons has a secret. Even as they tell jokes, drink grape juice, and dream of dancing, the characters vigilantly protect damning information that, if revealed, will des...

Wealth

Money, money, money. It's all over All My Sons. Protection of assets leads the characters to commit some unsavory acts – but that's the way the world is, right? The doctor's wife nags him to...

Justice and Judgment

In the back-story of All My Sons, there's a massive crime – the shipment of airplane parts known to be defective. One partner in the firm ducks the blame. He's released on appeal and goes on...

Lies and Deceit

Everyone is a liar in All My Sons. Joe Keller lies to his sons and his neighbors about a crime that killed 21 American pilots and sent his partner to prison. His wife Kate keeps quiet about it too...

Morality and Ethics

In All My Sons, moral fortitude generally loses to practicality and self-protection. Fearing the failure of his business, Joe Keller ships faulty parts to the military, which causes the death of 21...

Memory and the Past

The characters in All My Sons refuse to acknowledge the past. Their denial keeps the old ghosts around with their dirty fingers in everything. Memory of a dead son is inextricably linked, for his p...

Family

We can tell from the title of All My Sons that the play is about family. We see three families onstage, and a fourth family – the disgraced former neighbors – emerges again and again in...

Courage

In a post-war (World War II) play like All My Sons, courage is necessarily an important theme. The characters have different pictures of what courage looks like. For Joe Keller, it's a fierce prote...
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