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Miller: All My Sons

13. Act 2 – "You killed them, you murdered them" (pp. 65-71)

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In this module, we read from the moment Kate lets slip the fact that Keller was hardly ever ill to the end of Act 2. In particular, we focus on: (i) the concept from Greek tragedy of anagnorisis, 'recognition', and the moment of anagnorisis here; (ii) the concept (once again) of responsibility; (iii) the arrival of Frank and the (temporary) shift of tone as he starts talking about astrology; (iv) the arrangement of all the characters on stage at this point; (v) the arrival of the taxi to take George away; (vi) the glimmer of hope provided by the fact that Larry didn't pilot the type of plane that Keller's factory provided components for; and (vii) the final rift between Keller and Chris.


In this fifteen-part course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Arthur Miller's All My Sons. In the first two modules, we think about the historical, cultural and literary context for the play, as well as exploring the themes of capitalism, greed and guilt. In the thirteen modules that follow, we go through the play page-by-page, providing close reading and detailed analysis, with commentary on character, plot, themes, motifs, language and symbolism – as well as certain issues to think about when staging the play, e.g. haptics, proxemics.

Note: Page numbers are based on the Penguin Modern Classics version of the play (2000, ed. Christopher Bigsby). Students using a different version of the play may encounter slight differences in both text and page numbers.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2022, January 12). Miller: All My Sons - Act 2 – "You killed them, you murdered them" (pp. 65-71) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, John. "Miller: All My Sons – Act 2 – "You killed them, you murdered them" (pp. 65-71)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Jan 2022,

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