The theme is haunted by wartime profiteering at the cost of soldiers' lives and the sheer contrast is shown by the brothers Chris and Larry, one abhors ill-begotten wealth and another kills himself for his father's crime.
Class issues have never been appreciated in America a country that loves to live as a capitalist. Larry's death is a hovering presence of morality and regret in the play. It represents universality, living for one another, and dying for distant people. Chris says: "Once and for all you can know that there is a universe of people outside and you are responsible to it, and unless you know that, you threw away your son because that is what he died,"
The concept of capitalism in the play is totally opposite to the philosophy of Marx, even though it somehow connects to it here and there. It is a play of conflict and agreement where at one point, the capitalist is the gainer while labour does not gain, but need not shoulder the responsibility, because he lives in the world of work alienation. "For Marx the modern wage worker's labour was alienated in the sense that his work was repetitive, routine, fragmented and dull, and the worker was merely 'an appendage to the machine'" Blumburg (1969, p.299). Yet, the benefit in the play is that though the faulty cylinders were made by the labour, along with the profit, capitalist shoulders the responsibility of the fault too. It is because the labour gets paid (perhaps underpaid) for his work and gets ticked off and he need not shoulder the eventual responsibility of the faulty pieces that will later kill a group of pilots.
"In fact, therefore, the worker has exchanged his commodity, labour power, for other commodities of all kinds and that in a definite ratio. By giving him two marks, the capitalist has given him so much meat, so much clothing, so much fuel, light, etc., in exchange for his day's labour. says Marx" http://marx2mao.com/M&E/WLC47.html#TP
Still, it is not possible for the worker to live without his life-activity, as it is what supports his life. He might not be responsible for the faulty parts, because he was ordered to make them, and he would not blow up his brains for it; still he cannot get away from the vicious circle. "But the exercise of labour power, labour, is the worker's own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. And this life-activity he sells to another person in order to secure the necessary means of subsistence. Thus his life-activity is for him only a means to enable him to exist" (ibid).
Having said that, Marx says that worker does not belong to either the employer. This could be conflicting when we realise that the pilots, who are the employers of the State, died for the state. They die either due to faulty parts or due to the war, decided by their employer. So, Marx's following statement cannot jell well here. "The worker belongs neither to an owner nor to the land, but eight, ten, twelve, fifteen hours of his daily life belong to him who buys them. The worker leaves the capitalist to whom he hires himself whenever he likes, and the capitalist discharges him whenever he thinks fit, as soon as he no longer gets any profit out of him, or not the anticipated profit".Reading 2.
Pilots can hire themselves, but cannot leave their State if they decide to do so, like an ordinary worker. They suffer for the State's faulty decisions, for the faulty war-profiteering work of the capitalist who creates capital out of the