Arthur Miller, in his play All My Sons, sets forth dramatic arguments about the negative impact immoral behavior has on people. This study will examine the behavior and attitudes of the characters in moral terms and the inevitable harm that such behavior has on the people in their lives as well as on people they will never even meet. Although some of Miller's arguments are social, political and economic, at heart all of those arguments are moral.
Early in the play, the discussion among the characters revolves around whether or not it is right for Chris, one of the Keller sons, to ask Annie to marry him. Annie has been the girl of another Keller son, Larry, who has apparently died. The characters do not know it at this point, but Larry has died not in action in the war, as the reader is led to believe, but by suicide. Larry killed himself because he could not bear the thought that his father Joe was responsible for deaths caused by faulty airplane parts he knowingly sold to airplane manufacturers.
In other words, Joe chose to cut corners to make money, and the result were deaths of strangers as well as the death of his own son. And now his other son Chris is torn by the morality of a decision--should he ask Annie to marry him, or should he not follow his heart and instead wait to see if Larry by some slim chance is still alive. Son Chris already at his young age shows that he has a much more active moral barometer than does his father:
I don't know why it is, but 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 (Miller All 14).
Miller is not saying that a person should never "reach out for something" if there is a chance for somebody to be hurt. After all, one could argue that Miller should never try to have his plays produced, because if his play is being produced at a theater then some other person may be hurt who would ...