What are the tragic elements in the play All My Sons? Particularly in Act 3.

Expert Answers info

Kitty Sharp eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,509 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

All My Sons by Arthur Miller has a few tragic elements that are displayed in the third act if we define tragedy as being the downfall of something good.  First, the relationship between Ann and Chris comes to an end once Ann reveals the letter that she received from Larry and Joe admits to having ordered Herbert to ship the faulty machine parts.  Their love had been a genuine one--a relationship that struggled to survive in the face of opposition from their families.  Next, Chris's realization that he is now "practical" is tragic because he has lost the hope that men look out for the well being of others before that of themselves.  He feels guilty that he has survived the war and that his own father has played a role in killing many.  Third, Larry's suicide is tragic because Larry recognizes that the lives of the soldiers are meaningless to those in charge.  He sends Ann the letter to let her know that he is sacrificing his life as a statement against the nature of war.  Finally, Joe's suicide is tragic because it is all he can do in the face of having admitted his past wrongs. 

check Approved by eNotes Editorial