Describe the character of Joe Keller at the beginning of All My Sons, and what he has become as the play progresses.

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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At the beginning of All My Sons, Joe Keller asserts himself as a strong, confident, charismatic character.  Although some of the characters question whether Joe appears innocent in the eyes of the neighbors, he assures them that once he was proven innocent by the courts, the neighbors understood that the court was right.  Joe claims that the neighbors now play cards with him and have forgotten any ill feelings that they have had in the past.  At this point, Joe is confident that the past is behind him.

As the play progresses, Joe's confidence wavers and he tries to cover up any references that may suggest that he is guilty.  When he learns that George is going to visit Herbert in prison, he becomes anxious but he still tries to keep calm in front of his family.  When George arrives and picks up on the mistake that Kate makes about Joe's never being sick, Joe demands that Kate retract her statement and immediately gets busy trying to smooth things over.

At the end of the play, Joe is forced by Chris to admit his wrongs, but Joe claims that he ordered the shipping of the parts to save the business for the family.  Although he tries to hold on the the confidence he has felt in both his lie and bad decision, he releases himself to the fact that he was wrong.

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