How does Miller signify tragedy to the audience in Act 1 of All My Sons?

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

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In the first act of All My Sons, the lightning striking the apple tree in the Kellers' yard signifies the tragedy of the play.  At the beginning of the play, the characters try to hide the tree from Kate who will be especially hurt by the collapse of the tree because it is a symbol for her son Larry.  Kate believes that Larry will one day return from the war, even though the others secretly believe that Larry has died in battle.  In the first act, the audience learns that the tree was planted in Larry's birth month, and now it has fallen in his birth month.  These events symbolize Larry's death and the path that the characters must take to accept the fact that Larry will not return.  With this, the audience is introduced to the tragedy of the play.

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