Now it’s the middle of the night. Mother is outside on a rocking chair, waiting for Chris to come home.
Jim enters and asks about the fight as he knows the truth about Keller and Steve, as he figured it out a long time ago.
Mother mentions that she thought that Chris sort of knew, as well, and she did not realise it would be such a shock to him.
Jim explains that Chris would never know how to live with a thing like that. But he will come back, because every man has to compromise his ideals sometime.
Chris probably just wanted to be alone. Jim states that he returned to his wife after having left her to do medical research, because he is a good husband.
Chris will return because he is a good son and Jim exits .
Keller enters. Mother informs him that when Chris returns, Keller will have to explain himself, ensuring that Chris knows that Keller understands the gravity of his offense.
She wants Keller to offer to go to prison, should Chris ask him to. Keller does not like this plan, because he thinks he made the choice for the sake of his wife and son.
I’m addition, he spoiled them rather than making them earn their keep. Mother explains that these points do not excuse his crime.
Keller states that nothing is greater than the family, but there is something still greater in Chris’s mind. Keller says starkly that Chris will forgive him. Keller mentions that Larry would have understood; Larry had a head for business.
Ann enters and presents a plan to the Kellers, as they have made Chris feel guilty for loving her, so she insists that Mother tell Chris that Larry is dead and she knows it, so that they can go away and be happy.
Mother refuses, because she knows in her heart that Larry is alive, and she knows that Chris and Ann must feel the same in their hearts. Ann says that she knows that Larry is dead. Mother senses that there is something Ann is not saying.
Ann removes a letter from her pocket. It is a letter from Larry, which she never intended to show anyone unless it was necessary to allow her and Chris to get married. He wrote it right before he disappeared.
Mother reads the letter and she begins to complain, and Ann insists that the circumstances forced her to show the letter, since Mother would not believe Ann’s word.
Chris enters and explains that he will leave town because he cannot bear to be around his father with the knowledge he now has. He could jail him if he were human any more.
Ann mentions that she will go with him, but he refuses because in her heart she will always be asking him to send his father to jail.
She explains he should do what he has to do, but he cannot find a reason to make Keller suffer; after all, putting him behind bars will not raise the dead.
Keller returns and Chris walks away, saying that he has nothing to say to him. Keller asks what is bothering Chris.
Too much money? Then give it to charity. Chris responds that the issue is what Keller wants to do. Keller rejoins that Chris cannot tell him to go to jail, because Keller clearly does not belong there.
Besides, no one worked for free during the war. Wartime is profit time, and if he has to go to jail then half the country has to go with him. Chris understands but had thought Keller was better than the average, being his father. Chris feels unable to look at Keller or himself.
Ann hands Chris the letter, despite Mother attempting to stop him, or at least stop him from telling Keller what is in the letter. But Chris reads the letter aloud.
Larry’s letter is from the day he died. He had just seen the papers and heard about his father and the planes crashing. Larry felt full of guilt and anger, and wrote that he could not face anybody. He wrote that he was about to go out on a mission and that he would be reported missing.
The letter implies suicide. Larry’s letter to Ann adds that he loves her but that she must not wait for him.
Keller is stunned. He understands. He calls for the car and is ready to go upstairs to get a jacket. Mother tries to stop him, saying that Larry would not have sent him to jail. But Keller says that this is exactly what Larry is saying in the letter. He goes upstairs.
Mother turns to Chris and begs him not to take Keller to jail, but Chris says that nobody could stop Keller now. Mother says that the war is over and that he cannot take away her husband.
Chris responds that Keller should not just feel sorry; Larry died not just for that. She asks what more could be done, and Chris gives her a way to become better.
A gunshot is heard in the house. Chris runs inside and tells Ann to find the doctor. Mother stays outside and moans her husband’s name.
Chris comes out in tears and says, ‘Mother, I didn’t mean to’. But she interrupts him and tells him not to take the blame for his father’s suicide. ‘Forget now. Live.’
All My Sons
In Joe and Kate Keller’s family garden, an apple tree – a memorial to their son Larry, lost in the Second World War – has been torn down by a storm. But his loss is not the only part of the family’s past they can’t put behind them. Not everybody’s forgotten the court case that put Joe’s partner in jail, or the cracked engine heads his factory produced which caused it and dropped twenty-one pilots out of the sky …