In the opening scene of The Miracle Worker, Captain Arthur Keller first reacts with fury when his wife tells him that Helen can neither see nor hear. He repeatedly cries her name, but there is no response. Further in Act I, when Aunt Ev suggests that something be done with Helen, suggesting that there is a famous oculist in Baltimore, Keller replies that the child has been to many a specialist to no avail. When his wife says, "I think the Captain will write to him soon," he replies, "Katie. How many times can you let them break your heart."
As Mrs. Keller continues to hope, James, Keller's son, suggests that Helen be put in an asylum. Angered, Keller declares any discussion at an end:
"I want some peace in the house, I don't care how, but one way we won't have it is by rushing up and down the country every time someone hears of a new quack. I'm as sensible to this affliction as anyone else, it hurts me to look at the girl."
After Helen overturns the baby Mildred, Keller declares that it is not safe to let her run freely around the house. But, when Aunt Ev intervenes, he acquiesces, saying that he will write to the specialist in Baltimore. Shortly thereafter, Anne Sullivan arrives.