Chris – young generation

In the play, Arthur Miller portrays Joe and Chris as victims of the war. Chris is a symbol of the younger generation. He is young and naive soldier. He is honourable, principled, altruistic and socially responsible. He has noble ideas, such as “solidarity” and “responsibility”, which Chris learned in his war situations. He is ashamed of his father. 

He is idealistic and a dreamer. 

The diction “Kids” suggest that for Chris the soldiers were young like children meaning vulnerable and fragile and it intensifies their tragic death.

The neighbours confront him as being hypocritical; chris speaks of following his dreams and Jim’s job is super boring (doctor). He hates his job, nothing of adventure.

Chris feels angry and blames Keller for the deaths of the pilots. His anger can be seen in the stage directions “with burning fury” which means that a visual image of fire is used to suggest 

the colour red which in English is associated with anger. Chris feels disappointed in his father. 

Chris does not understand why Keller is not loyal to his role as a citizen of the world and it shows Chris’s frustration with his father. This represents that Chriss oedipal adoration and admiration for his father is gone, for he knows cannot recognise his own father as a good man and doesn’t know what to do “Jesus God, what must I do”.  The repetition of this sentence shows Chris internal conflict between the love for his father and his social responsibility. 

Mother (Kate)old generation

The fact that she is called mother is ironic because mother should protect their children and teach them good values but in this case the one that is doing things wrong is her, Kate (mother).

She belongs to the older generation, who stayed in the USA leading a comfortable life, should have protected, taken care of the younger generation who went to war. Instead they lied and made money (this is Miller’s social criticism).

The roles are inverted; ann chris and larry have much more to teach than the old generations. The wiser are the younger, the ones who understand the idea of ‘social responsibility’.

Mother is a symbol of all mothers who wouldn’t accept the death of their children, who would struggle with bereavement (when somebody that you love, lies) – superstitious. Superstitious as a way of trying to avoid (evit) her son’s death.

Manipulative; with George, Ann, Chris.

Everyone thinks she is weak (And that he would cry). But she isn’t. In the final of the play, “don’t dear, don’t take it on yourself”, “forget (the past, what is done is done), live (enjoy life, be happy) and shut up (don’t blame yourself)”. “Leave everything behind”. She gives consolation to Chris (3 pieces of advice). She is actually strong, although people consider her fragile, vulnerable and mentally unstable.

Ann – young generation

The representation of what the women that stayed in america while his husbands went to war (she is the symbol of women who were left behind)

She is lonely, desperate and lost. Because of this she is selfish. 

Larry– young generation

He is a young soldier (pilot), who commited suicide. He is altruistic and ashamed of his father.


American dream; Failure or dark side of the american dream

The american dream is a national ethos/spirit of the united states in the 20th century, by which the nation represents to others as the land of opportunities; a place in which you can start low and I am high, in which you can fulfill everyone’s dream. This is a fantasy, it doesn’t always come true, people fail on this ‘dream’. The play is a portrayal of the dark side of the american dream. 

The theme of the American Dream, in which man could succeed and become rich if he worked hard enough is portrayed here, and Keller is an example or a metaphor for the failure of this dream: he made money but that money is dirty and corrupted. The author is critical of the american dream; because it explains how someone get richer by being corrupt. Miller’s perspective: critical, reflective, denounces the “dark side” of the american dream: keller became rich, he “made it” only by being corrupt and at cost of others : 21 pilots, Suicide, his children. 

Relatedness: This shows the theme of relatedness for Chris cannot understand his father’s selfishness and lack of social perspective.

Greed: war profiteering 

Social responsibility vs. self interests

Love: romantic (chris and ann), parents-children, “brotherhood” (larry and chris, soldiers and war).

Death (murder, suicide, bereavement).


Chris:  doesn’t want to mary ann (he feels it is unfair for the other ones who couldn;t make it). Also when he talks about comfortability (refrigerators, cars). He feels sit is unfair that he is alive, when all the other ones left everything for the country and died). \he feels he sodens;t deserves ann. Keller: at the end of the play when he realizes that his own son suicided. Mother: she feels guilty  and this is known because she can’t sleep. Living in the past i also a way to show it.