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Miller: All My Sons

14. Act 3 – "Nothin's bigger than family" (pp. 73-78)

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About this Lecture


In this module, we read from the beginning of Act 3 to the moment that Ann enters, focusing in particular on: (i) the setting of the play's third act; (ii) the character of Jim and the importance (once again) of money; (iii) the connected themes of (self-)denial and honesty in the play; (iv) the conversation between Joe and Kate; (v) Keller's world-view and the extent to which this is not shared by those around him, least of all his wife and his son; (vi) the importance (once again) of the family home, a theme in tragedy that goes back to Ancient Greece; and (vii) the moment of acceptance/understanding between Joe and Kate.


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 3 – "Nothin's bigger than family" (pp. 73-78) [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, John. "Miller: All My Sons – Act 3 – "Nothin's bigger than family" (pp. 73-78)." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 12 Jan 2022,

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