Several characters in All My Sons believe in forces outside their control that impact events in their lives. Discuss.
The primary character in Arthur Miller’s play All My Sons who asserts belief in external forces is Kate Keller. Her assertion of this attitude is supported by her interaction with Frank Deever. Although her son Larry has been missing in action for years, Kate refuses to believe that he is dead. Her obsessive hope that he will return has come to dominate her life so thoroughly that she seeks support for her perspective wherever she can find it. Frank, a family friend, is a staunch advocate of astrology. He bolsters Kate’s belief by constructing a horoscope for Larry that apparently supports the idea that the stars were aligned in favor of Larry’s survival the day his plane crashed.
In a very different way, Joe Keller also believes in the power of external forces. He justifies his actions in making shoddy, inferior parts with his conviction that the Defense Department was pushing the factories to work too quickly. By placing the blame for his unethical decisions onto "the system"—a huge, anonymous institution—Joe attempts to lessen his guilt. When he finally admits responsibility, the overwhelming shame leads him to suicide.