Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 TRAGEDY In Classical Greece, a play in which a Hero who has a tragic flaw will suffer the inevitable fate that awaits him. The audience and other characters learn from his fate. A tragic Flaw might be Hubris (overweening pride) or a refusal to accept any responsibility for ones actions There will come a point in the play when the action becomes inevitable. We might consider whether this point has already been reached prior to this play beginning. If we can show Joe to be a tragic Hero in the Greek mould, then his fate is inevitable. We learn from him how a society based on selfishness and greed is a society to be shunned. We accept that we all have a responsibility to the society in which we live. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Balance American Dream: success gained by hard work and honest toil. This will give the dreamer their independence. A laudable notion built as America spread to the West and the single rancher fighting against the odds to succeed became a thing of folklore. BUT This society can become isolationist and selfish. A Darwinian survival of the fittest mentality will develop ( As seen in Of Mice and Men). Miller and other writers challenge the Dream on these grounds: A society dominated by selfishness is a society that is flawed. We are all partners in our society and share responsibility for it. In 1950s America, how was Millers outlook treated by the Government? Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Character Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 MILLER ON MILLER Film clips taken from a BBC production in which Miller works with actors addressing a production of the play Miller on Miller Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Contexts: Title: Hints at a social responsibility all humanity is linked Millers challenge to the complacency of post war America: ALL my sons invites respect for the defeated enemy The family is not ALL the insular outlook of the Kellers is found to be flawed
Links to the development of state social responsibility being introduced to USA in the late 40s Discuss: The play is intended to show tha tthere is a better type of society than the one inhabited by the Kellers. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 A visual motif throughout the play Broken on Larrys birthday Fell in its prime like Larry (fruit still clinging
to its branches) Foreshadows/symbolises the collapse of Joes lie A reminder that disorder abuts the ordered world of the American Dream A reminder that it is not possible to create a world without difficulties Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Prison Literal and figurative prisons dominate the play Sue Bayliss: Jim thinks hes in prison all the time Joe is a prisoner of his memory and actions. Women are prisoners of the domestic setting and context Joe looks for a prison as a place of safety in a game Joe is only partially lying when he says there is one in the house. The house : the neat and tidy setting with straight fences, neat trees, a car in the drive, a man sitting on his verandah
all representing success and achiervement of the American Dream BUT: All is not perfect: tree, some plants Whose season has gone Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Storm o Before the action o Suggests impending doom o Linked metaphorically to emotions o Can not be controlled Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Shows that Kate needs proof that Larry is still alive.
She has no physical evidence so she turns to spiritual evidence. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Sets off chain of events catalyst that drives plot forwards. Larrys girl accepting his death, Kate cant as she knows truth but Joe is so convinced by his own lie that he supports them. Joes encouragement builds even more respect from Chris. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Tension builder Promotes message man for men and highlights differences between Joe and Chris ideals. Counters Joes lie Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Introduces different side of story Makes Joe nervous Past converging on present Initial doubt introduced in audiences mind as to why Kate is so worried Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Look at the stage directions in this exchange between Joe, Kate and Ann from Act One, p30. Mother: What your father did had nothing to do with Larry. Nothing. Ann: But we cant know that. Mother (striving for control): As long as youre here! Ann (perplexed): But Kate Mother: Put that out of your head!
Keller: Because Mother (quickly to Keller): Thats all, thats enough. (places her hand on her head.) Come inside now, and have some tea with me. (She turns and goes up steps.) Keller (to Ann): The one thing you Mother (sharply): Hes not dead, so theres no argument! Now come! Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 1.What do the stage directions here
reveal about Kates: - relationship with Joe? - attitude towards Ann? 2. How does the punctuation deployed by Miller, enhance what is revealed about Kate through the stage directions? Key Questions Act 1 1. (p.25-26) Why does Kate have to believe that Larry is still alive? What difficulty does this present for Ann? Kate is portrayed first and foremost as a devoted mother. Her character is concerned about keeping her family together and the belief alive that her missing son will return safe. Her maternal instinct tells her that her son must be alright because Because he
has to be. However, her desperation in clinging to this hope (see stage direction [goes to her]) and the repetition of the same phrases Because some things have to be. reveal that there may be a deeper meaning underlying Kates belief. Secondly, Anns father is in jail for ultimately killing 21 pilots. If Kate accepted that Larry was dead it would be admitting that her husbands business killed men like her son. Thirdly, Kates desperation is so great that when we connect it to further clues in this Act i.e. be smart Joe, we begin to see that all is not rosy in this family. Therefore Kate is characterized as MOTHER, WIFE, WOMAN maternal, emotional, protective, intuitive. She makes Anns wish to marry Chris very difficult as she does not and will never approve of them being together as she cannot accept that Larry is dead. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 2. (bottom of p27 to top of p29 MOTHER) How does Miller, through the MOTHERS dialogue, reveal that Joe has something to hide? The fact that Kate points out to Ann that Joe has lied is extremely significant. She is portraying her husband, not as the hero and respectable man that weve been introduced to but as a liar. Except that they didnt get it confused. This shows
that Joe is trying to hide to the children that he was arrested and taken to court. He has deliberately manipulated the childrens belief in making himself appear to be a hero. How could they move back? shows that the relationship between Anns father and Joe is not what it would first appear to be. In the trial Anns father tried to blame Joe and may not be as forgiving as Joe has been that Joe didnt face the same punishment. Kate doesnt believe they could ever be friends again. If Joe were really innocent would he honestly forgive the man who tried to blame him? Further, it also shows that even though the neighbours come round and play cards and socialise with the Kellers, the situation and accusations have not actually been forgotten. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 3. (p32-33)Chris and Anne are trying to move on from Larrys disappearance but something is holding them back. What?
4. (p34) How do Chris ideals compare or contrast with Joes? 5. (p38) How does Miller create tension and doubt in the audiences mind at the end of Act I. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Joes character development
Dramatic Devices Theme profit from war, responsibility Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Keller is not presented as a villain but as an ordinary man caught up in a bad situation and who makes a choice according to his own values. He calls Steve a little man but we find out that this hero is actually just like the little man he describes. He does not understand the wider impact one man can have.
He is representative of an older generation who did not have access to Higher education, whose entire world centered around his family. He is blind to his own greed(?) preferring to think of himself as a man among men, minding his own business (literally and figuratively). That is the true flaw in Keller's character. Joe still plays the victim after Kates slip up, giving excuse after excuse but these do not fool anyone and lead to Chris losing respect for his father which also leads to the audience doing the same. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Props: Grapefruit juice symbolises a happier time for both the Kellers and the Deevers. It is used as a deliberate method of manipulation, by Kate, to calm and soothe George and to protect her family. Dialogue Dialogue changes from long explanatory speeches where Keller is giving excuses to short staccato dialogue and questions during the climax where Chris is questioning father. This builds tension in the audience and leads to the climax where Chris is in inner turmoil as to what he needs to do. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Stage Directions "their movements now are those of subtle pursuit and escape." Stage directions show Chris trying to pin his father down to precise facts and admission of guilt. Chris is hunting not only the truth but is struggling to come to terms with the complete obliteration of the image he held of his father as Joe McGuts or better than the rest. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Profit from war: Keller argues that no one "worked for nothin' in that war," insisting that if he has to go to jail, then "half the Goddam country" is similarly culpable. Is this an indictment of capitalism or of the wartime mentality? Does he believe this argument, or is it mainly another attempt to deflect blame? Relatedness: Keller is able to deny responsibility for his crimes because he believes in the family as the nucleus of his world.His inability to see his relatedness to the rest of society and to his fellow man is his central flaw. This flaw leads to both public (the deaths of the pilots) and private tragedy
(Larry and Joes suicides.) Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Look at the stage directions and sentence structure in this plea from Joe to Chris on page 67. Keller ( - their movements now are those of subtle pursuit and escape. Keller keeps a step out of Chriss range as he talks.): Youre a boy, what could I do! Im in business, a man is in business: a hundred and twenty cracked, youre out of business: you got a process, the process dont work youre out of business; you
dont know how to operate, your stuff is no good; they close you up, they tear up your contracts, what the hells it to them? You lay forty years into a business and they knock you out in five minutes, what could I do, let them take forty years, let them take my life away?(His voice cracking) I never Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 thought theyd install them.I swear 1. How do the stage directions reveal a change in Chris and Joes relationship? 2. How does the
dialogue (in particular the sentence structure) reveal development or a change in Joes character? How does this affect the audiences view of Keller? Key Questions Act 2 What effect does Georges arrival have on the audience in terms of building tension? PLOT
What effect do Sues comments about Chris have on Anne? And on the audience? Can someone really be too good? CHARACTER (CHRIS) What reason does George give for having believed his fathers guilt and how does this build on the characterisation of Chris from the first Act? CHARACTER (CHRIS) With close reference to the dialogue and stage directions, as well as your own explanation, describe how Kate initially quells Georges temper and then causes the tension to increase dramatically shortly afterwards. DRAMATIC DEVICES (Stage Directions) & CHARACTER (KATE)
Comment on Kates line: He hasnt been laid up in twenty years. Peelas JLS a 2015 How doesJonathan this act turning point in the play? PLOT Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Denoument Comparison between business and war Climax Resolution of conflict(s)
Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Symbolism Act 3 NIGHT: The play moves from day to night, mirroring the ever deepening tragedy that unfolds. Night is always followed by Day redemption will come to all in time. It is appropriate that Joe, the Tragic Hero, should die as night draws in. LIGHT: Anne is upstairs in a lighted window a beacon in the night. Her light might represent hope or truth she knows the truth and has the proof in her bag. By the light and the cyclical return of day, we can have hope for Anne and Chris in the New World that will emerge MOON In Classical tragedy the moon is linked with cleansing and purification The Moon might link Anne to Artemis the Goddess of women and virginityshe might remain unmarried and a virgin as a result an alternative perspective.
Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Kate shows no real shock, unlike Chris. Forces Kate to face up to her own selfdeception. Forces Joe to see that Larry would not have supported him. The admission that the pilots were "all my sons" is, for Keller, an admission that he might as well have killed his own child. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
Keller argues that his actions during the war were defensible as requirements of good business practice. Wartime profiteering was common. Many people were involved in black market trading of rationed goods. But, Chris argues that the money/profit made from war is dirty and that by accepting it he dishonours the men who died. He cannot compromise these beliefs, even for his father, which leads to the climax. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
As a result of this and seeing what Chris (and Larry) think of him, Joe kills himself. Joe saw nothing wrong in making money from war/death because thousands of others did too. The whole damn countrys gotta go if I go. Joe sees though that Chris is a man of principles that he will not compromise. As a result of this and seeing what Chris (and Larry) think of him, Joe kills himself. He becomes the tragic hero as he finally accepts responsibility for his actions.
Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Chris divided loyalties are finally resolved: he chooses to be loyal to his men and society rather than his father. Kate no longer has to hide her husbands secret and can now fully support Chris. She tells him to live. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 Look closely at the following dialogue between Jim Bayliss and Kate. MOTHER: I always had the feeling that
in the back of his head, Chris...almost knew. I didnt think it would be such a shock. JIM (gets up): Chris would never know how to live with a thing like that. It takes a certain talent for lying. You have it, and I do. But not him. MOTHER: What do you mean...? Hes not coming back? JIM: Oh, no, hell come back, Kate. These private little revolutions always die. The compromise is always made. In a
peculiar way, Frank is right every man does have a star. The star of ones honesty. And you spend your life groping for it, but once its Jonathan Peel JLS 2015 1. In what way does Jim, a seemingly insignificant character, take on an important role here? 2. How effective is Millers use of the reference to stars in this piece of dialogue?
Key Questions Act 3 Comment on the change in Joes character with his line: I guess to him they were all my sons. (CHARACTER) To what extent was Joes fate unavoidable? (PLOT) With which character do you sympathise most: Joe, Kate or Chris? (CHARACTER) If the central theme of the play is the profit made from war, what is
the playwrights message through Joes suicide and his familys reaction to it? (THEME) As a contemporary reader, how relevant did you find the themes of the play? Refer to the article in your booklet entitled A play for Obamas America. You should treat this question as a mini essay and write at least three paragraphs in your answer, referring to both the play and the article as well as including your own opinions. Jonathan Peel JLS 2015
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