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A view From the bridge

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Examine the ideas of Manliness, Hostility and Aggression in 'A View from A bridge.' How are these ideas connected? 'A View from a Bridge' is a play inspired by Miller's own background, in terms of plot and context. Miller grew up in America and was the son of two immigrants. In the late 1940s he became interested in the work and lives of the communities and Longshoremen of New York's Brooklyn Harbour, a place where he had in fact previously worked. Many of the workers were exploited by their bosses, underpaid and had only recently immigrated to the United States. It was during this time that a young lawyer friend of Miller's 'mentioned a story he'd recently heard of a longshoreman who had ratted to the Immigration Bureau on two brothers, his own relatives, who were living illegally in his very own home, in order to break up an engagement between one of them and his niece.' Miller took this story combined with his upbringing and experiences on a recent trip to Sicily and provided the background to the drama 'A View from a Bridge'. The play takes place in Brooklyn around 1950s. Catherine is an orphan who lives with her aunt and uncle, Beatrice and Eddie Carbone. Eddie agrees to Beatrice's two relatives, Marco and Rodolpho, both of whom are illegal immigrants. Eddie, the plays protagonist, has a very particular view of the qualities of a man. When other characters don't conform to these masculine expectations it leads to hostility and aggression resulting in death. Our first impression of Eddie is that of a simple, average man. He comes across as a hardworking, friendly, kind and generous husband and uncle: especially as he is prepared to accept and welcome his wife Beatrice's illegal immigrant cousins into his own home. However Eddie has a very strong point of view of the qualities of manliness, believing that a real man should be strong, tough and mean. ...read more.


Alfieri, as a narrator and lawyer, doesn't take sides. Alfieri knows the law from both America and Italy and is therefore able to give a point of view from both sides. In my opinion I think Alfieri is the 'bridge' the play is about as he has knowledge of both the Italian and American sides and doesn't really say much but watches and comments on it. As I mentioned earlier Eddie speaks to Alfieri about Rodolfo saying "the guy ain't right". Alfieri brings up the idea that Eddie might have too much love for Catherine which was resulting in the overprotectiveness towards her and the hostility and aggression towards both Marco and Rodolfo: "She can't marry you can she Eddie" This demonstrates to the audience the love that Eddie has for Catherine and it refers back to a manliness characteristic of men liking women. Now small incidents which seemed innocent can be portrayed as sexual innuendoes for example at the beginning of the play Eddie takes pleasure in Catherine lighting his cigar, "here I'll light it for you! (She strikes a match and holds it to his cigar. He puffs, quietly.)" The use of proxemics help to discover a deeper feeling of love Eddie has towards Catherine. This also may be a result of why his relationship with his wife has been deteriorating, "it's been 3 months now Eddie." After Eddie hears Alfieri's statement of his unknowing love towards Catherine, Eddie becomes angry and aggressive, "(furiously) What are you talking about Marry me? I don't know what the hell you're talking about! (Pause)". The stage directions help to portray his anger and show how Eddie is in denial. As a man, having strength is of great importance, especially to Eddie whether it is physical or emotional. Yet the showings of these strengths are somewhat different. Eddie strongly believes that that a form of manliness is being able to show physical strength. ...read more.


reveal the lack of formal education and the deprivation experienced by the characters: "Listen, I could tell yiz things about Louis which you wouldn't wave to him no more" this is a language which is direct, vigorous and expressive both of what the characters mean and of what they are unable to communicate directly. The languages between the characters are very different causing dramatic tension. Eddie, Catherine and Beatrice all use short simple colloquial and uneducated sentences, "I was just knockin' off work before and Tony Berelli come over to me." Rodolfo's language is lively and witty. He is entertaining as we find out from Eddie's peers "he was just humorous" But Marco is quite the opposite. He initially speaks reserved, serious and intense but then is passionate and bitter, "Anima-a-l!" Throughout the play Eddie's beliefs in masculinity and characters failing to conform to this all lead to hostility and aggression. In my opinion I think that Eddie's expectations of what it means to be a 'real man' are too high and not even he is able to conform to these and I believe this to be the result in the aggression and hostility. Also Eddie isn't very well educated and finds it difficult to understand or express his feelings so often responds to threatening situations with verbal or physical aggression. I think that Miller was trying to show that during this era the man of the house was extremely important and the rest of the family depended on him. The man needs to have certain masculine qualities such as power, being hard working and caring for his family in order for the rest of his family to survive. I admire the attempts Eddie, Marco and Rodolfo make in confiding to Eddie's masculine beliefs even if they don't always live up to the highest of expectations. And I strongly believe that the clash of male characters' manliness was the cause of the majority of hostility and aggression. Janina Isaacs, English Coursework. - 1 - ...read more.

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