What dramatic structure does All My Sons use?

Quick answer:

All My Sons uses a conventional three-act dramatic structure and observes the unities of time, place, and action.

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Although Miller was writing at a time of great experimentation in the theater, his play follows a conventional dramatic structure. It is in three acts. The acts are not divided into scenes.

Scenes are largely unnecessary, as the play follows the precepts of Aristotle's unities of time, place, and action. For example, the entire play takes place within a twenty-four hour period. It all occurs at the Kellers' house. The orderliness of the home's interior contrasts with the messiness in the yard, such as in the fallen apple tree, foreshadowing how the orderly lives of this family are going to be disrupted by the arrival of the "outside" force of Ann. The action revolves solely around dealing with unresolved issues from the recent past, which means the parents' acceptance of the reality of Larry's death and of the linkage between Larry's death and Joe Keller's selling of the faulty parts to the US army.

Miller's use of conventional dramatic structure makes the Broadway play accessible and appealing to a wide audience. Part of the conventional structure includes Joe Keller's fatal flaw, which is blindness to the real effects of what he is doing on the lives of others. It also puts the climax where we expect it, at the end of act 3.

This conventional structure provides an appropriate vehicle through which Miller can explore the theme of the nature of the American Dream.

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