What are the types of pain evident in the play, "All My Sons"?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Emotional pain is the most prevalent type of pain depicted in the play. Each character is suffering because of a decision made by two men: Joe Keller and Steve Deever, who are partners in a manufacturing company. During WWII, they were commissioned to produce airplane engine parts for the military. When cracks are discovered in them, Joe orders Steve to send them on anyway and lie about the defective parts. Many men are killed because of the defective engines. Both men are charged with fraud, and they both go to prison. However, Joe is able to convince an appeals court that he was not responsible for what happened; he lied and said that he was home sick the day Steve sent out the parts.

Each character is deeply affected by both the fraud and the lie. The Kellers' oldest son, Larry, is missing in action. Only his fiancee, Anne Deever, knows that he is dead. He discovered what his father had done, and out of guilt, he placed himself in the line of fire so that he would be killed.

Chris Keller is in love with Anne, but he feels guilt because she is engaged to his "missing" brother. He is fiercely loyal to his father and believes in his innocence.

Mrs. Keller is in denial about everything. She believes her husband. She believes Larry is alive, so she is angry at Chris and Anne for falling in love.

Poor Anne has to carry the burden of knowing that Larry is dead and that Joe Keller is a liar.

What a painful play!