• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

‘ “A View from the Bridge” is a play set firmly in an immigrant culture, ruled by its own laws.’ How important are the Sicilian codes of conduct and honour to the development of the play?

Extracts from this document...


' "A View from the Bridge" is a play set firmly in an immigrant culture, ruled by its own laws.' How important are the Sicilian codes of conduct and honour to the development of the play? The Sicilian codes of conduct and honour contribute in a major way to the development of Arthur Miller's play "A View from the Bridge". The Sicilian codes in Red Hook, the area where the play is set, were brought from Italy by the many Italian immigrants settled in the community. The Sicilian codes are the same thing as the Old World values; they are a set of principles that Sicilian and Italian people live by. However, there are some New World values creeping into the community from the younger generations brought up in America, which is the cause of most of the conflict in the play - New World versus Old World values. The New World values are the laws and justice in courts rather than in the streets. There are many parts to both sets of values but, in the case of the Sicilian codes, they are all based upon honour and respect. One of the most important strands of the Sicilian codes is that of not betraying your family in any way. 'the family had an uncle they were hidin' in the house, and he snitched to the immigration...they grabbed him in the kitchen and pulled him down the stairs - three flights his head was bouncing like a coconut. ...read more.


This is an Old World view of women, whereas Rodolfo, as part of the next generation, shows he feels for Catherine as a person not just wants her for property by saying 'you are not a horse, a gift, a favour for a poor immigrant'. Rodolfo has subscribed to a more modern way of viewing women compared to Eddie's view that women are property to be dominated. Eddie tries to use honour as an excuse for his reactions to Rodolfo, by saying and even thinking that he is just protecting Catherine, as any self-respecting father or uncle would, from a man who is obviously wrong for her. This is the front that he puts on, or maybe believes in, to his family. He says things like, 'He don't respect you', 'I mean if you close the paper fast - you could blow him over' and 'And with that wacky hair; he's like a chorus girl or sump'm'. Eddie uses anything he can to make Rodolfo seem unfit for Catherine, and takes great pains to try to prove he is homosexual, because he is not only making Catherine happier than Eddie can, but he is less of a macho, old world, "manly" man so Eddie thinks there must be something wrong with him and twists everything about him. The way that Eddie feels about Rodolfo doing things like cooking and singing show another contrast between Old and New world values. ...read more.


'EDDIE springs a knife into his hand'. This is against Old World values because it was hidden upon his person and he promised to fight Marco hand-to-hand and it is turning away from the law because it is illegal to fight with knives. This shows how desperate Eddie has become that he no longer has any set of values to live by and it is ironic that this brings about his downfall. Eddie's obsession with Catherine has led to multiple betrayals. Alfieri's views, as the most intelligent character in the play, can probably be viewed as the ideas of Arthur Miller himself. Alfieri, throughout the play, acts as a metaphorical bridge between the Old and the New World values having lived through the transition period and knowing each well. As a lawyer, the audience often views him as a believer in the New World values, although he understands what is important to his community and their morals. At the end of the play, Alfieri decides that he prefers the New World values when he says, 'we settle for half and I like it better'. This is offered as the message of the play through Alfieri's lips, because the Old World values are shown to destroy lives; Eddie dies, Beatrice is left alone and forlorn, Marco is sent home in disgrace. Arthur Miller has shown the audience that it is indeed better to compromise by good use of conflict between the two sets of values to develop his play well. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. A View From the Bridge - The whole of this play involves symbolism, on ...

    Manhood, which involved strength and aggression (and proving it) was very important. Women were expected to conform to an image of purity and domestic virtue and, as Beatrice does, gain most of their satisfaction from cooking and maintaining the household.

  2. Analyse the themes of law and codes of justice in A View from a ...

    The Sicilian code was unforgiving and isolated traitors. It is Eddie who speaks this line that later describes his own dishonour and the loss of his good name. Eddie is Catherine's uncle and has undoubtedly behaved as a father and a friend to her. But the feelings for Catherine are more than he declares and he is unable to express them.

  1. Select the character of either Eddie Beatrice or Catherine from “A View From the ...

    This is a picture of Natalie Portman: She would be a good actress to play Catherine, because she has a certain innocence about herself.

  2. Examine the effects of the Sicilian Code of Honour which dominates the philosophy of ...

    "Look did I ask you for money? I supported you this long I can support you a little more." Catherine in this part of the play is breaking the Sicilian Moral Code for women. Women are expected to stay at home in this type of community but as Catherine plans

  1. A View from the Bridge - detailed commentry on the play

    his stories of his singing and his plan to buy a motorbike. Rodolpho's singing of Paper Doll delights Catherine, who is already obviously attracted to him. Eddie sees with regret that Catherine is already slipping from him. The singing is the most obvious theatrical feature in this episode.

  2. A view from the Bridge' is set in Brooklyn, amongst an immigrant community who ...

    It is because of their illegal status, fear of being caught, and their poverty that they need Eddie�s hospitality, and they need to put their trust in him. Eddie's attitude is that it is 'an honour� to help them out and lend them a place to sleep.

  1. What is the importance of Justice in a “View from the Bridge?”

    The play is set in Red Hook, a small community of dockworkers and longshoremen in Brooklyn New York during the late nineteen forties. We meet Eddie Carbone, the main character of the play, and an Italian Longshoreman who lives in the Red Hook neighbourhood, with his wife Beatrice and young niece Catherine and is respected by his community.

  2. A View from the Bridge' is a well structured play with a simple shape.

    told the audience what to think and even what was going to happen. This is the role played by Alfieri in 'A view from the Bridge' and much of his speaking takes the form of soliloquies. His descriptions of the people within the play and narration at the beginning of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work