Find historical or biographical information about Arthur Miller that could enhance your understanding of the play "All My Sons".

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Like Chris in "All My Sons", Miller's father was a successful businessman. Miller had worked side by side his father in his business but the Great Depression came and the business went bankrupt. Thus, Miller was very familiar with the loss of the "American Dream". His own family was forced to move from Manhattan to Brooklyn, the setting for "All My Sons". During his time in Brooklyn, Miller began to "to probe into individuals’ relations to their work and the price they had to pay for success or lack of it." He especially resented his own father's withdrawal after his business failed. "The figure of the failed father would play a significant role in Miller’s plays." Like Joe in "All My Sons", Miller was extremely interested in sports, especially football and baseball. In fact an old football injury kept him out of World War II. Miller then took a series of odd jobs.

"All My Sons" was only Miller's second play to be produced and it won the Pulitzer Prize. Many believe that his model for Joe Keller was a combination of his own father and his uncle Manny, on whom he also based Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman". However, it's important to note that Miller also studied the great writers to learn how they successfully created plays. He was especially influenced by Fydor Dostoevski's The Brothers Karamozov" and the work of the Greek playwright Sophocles. Miller, of course, continued to his career as a playwright and wrote what are now considered classic American plays.