Dirty Business | Letters | Chicago Reader

Dirty Business 

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To the editors:

Lawrence Bommer could have done better in his giving us some feedback [Theater, March 11] on Arthur Miller's powerful play All My Sons, presented at the Center Theater. As it happened that Arthur Miller is one of my favorite playwrights, however, I couldn't miss seeing it.

The theme of dirty practices in business is universal, as in the history of mankind, there had always been dirty secrets when money could be made, such as the Iran arms deal and the drug smuggling in our country, to name a few recent ones. However, what Bommer had missed was the refreshing concept of idealism of the two young sons who were torn between their love for their father and their resentment for his dirty business practices--in fact, criminal. The resentment of sons towards their fathers--resentment of children towards their parents in general--had always existed, but now, all too often, apart from being based on too confused reasons--many times selfish ones--this resentment has nothing to do with ideals.

However, the play is very well presented in terms of staging and dramatic acting, especially the part of the mother--a part that makes us realize the closeness of the family with their environment and friends before the tragedy--closeness which signals the extent of these friends' suffered consequences and hurt feelings afterwards.

Christina Athanasiades

W. Hood

Lawrence Bommer replies:

Of course Miller's father and son have their personality clashes. But Miller is writing much more than a tragic sitcom. The two unrelated sons in All My Sons argue the same moral through their actions: if you cheat the world to help the people you love, you create a nemesis that destroys not just the strangers you imagined were expendable, but your loved ones as well. If that's not idealism, I'm trading in my Kant for a stock prospectus.

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