Why is Joe Keller a classic tragic hero?

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Aristotle defines a tragic hero as a good person, no better or worse morally than most people, who suffers a reversal of fortune due to an error in judgment and excessive pride. He is relatable, allowing the audience to identify with him and thereby making his downfall more pitiable. Joe Keller, the father in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons, is an outstanding example of this literary type.

We meet Joe as he reads the paper in the backyard of his home. He is portrayed as the average American father who engages in good-humored chats with his neighbors and banters with his wife and son. We admire him for his success as a factory owner who began with lucrative defense contracts during World War II.

But his success did not come easy. During the war, some of the cylinder heads his plant manufactured cracked, causing twenty-one fighter pilots to crash and die. Joe and his partner were charged with selling faulty parts to the government, but Joe was exonerated, while his partner went to jail. Joe...

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