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A View from the Bridge

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Introduction

Arthur Miller wrote 'A View from the Bridge� in 1955. The structure of this play is relatively uncomplicated. It is set in the late 1940�s amidst the Sicilian community in Red Hook, a slum area, in Brooklyn, New York. It is said to be a modern version of a Greek tragedy with its powerful speeches and references to fate. A lawyer, Alfieri re-tells his account as he 'oversees� as a as narrator or a modern day 'Greek chorus' (In the ancient Greek plays, an essential part was that of the chorus: a group of figures who would watch the action, comment on it, and address the audience directly). Alfieri views the drama from the Brooklyn Bridge ( being the bridge of the title ). Alfieri opens the play with an enlightening account of what life used to be like and is like in that particular community. The audience knows from that speech everything about Alfieri and about the community in Red Hook. He tells about past bandits and murders and about how justice is very important to the Italians. The community is the 'gullet of New York,� which is 'swallowing the tonnage of the world.� This sentence is quite ironic since Red Hook is a fishing town and tonnage is another word for cargo. ...read more.

Middle

Alfieri, the lawyer is telling him that the only legal way to deal with Rodolpho is via the illegal 'means in which they entered the country.� Eddie denounces that idea swiftly. They get onto an argument as Alfieri is trying to get Eddie to understand that he cannot have Catherine and that he has to let her go. Now, the audience can see that Eddie is very possessive over Catherine. He says that Rodolpho is stealing from him, that Catherine is his possession. Alfieri feels helpless and he knows that something terrible is going to happen. This scene follows directly after the scene where Eddie challenges the masculinity of Rodolpho and is counter challenged by Marco who defends his brothers honour and so questions Eddie's authority. Without the Lawyer scene the audience wouldn't have known exactly why Eddie was challenging Rodolpho. After watching the Lawyer scene, the subplot becomes much clearer to the audience. At the start of act 2, Alfieri has a short speech setting the scene, it is nearly Christmas and because a crate of wine 'accidentally� fell off a ship Eddie was likely to come home drunk. Another warning. In this next scene, Catherine and Rodolpho show their love for each other through words and they talk about Eddie. ...read more.

Conclusion

The rate at which it is shown to the audience give them time to think about what it could mean. By the time they've worked it out, Eddie is walking out of the office for the last time, and the phone box is the only lit item on stage. Eddie calls the Immigration Bureau committing what is seen as an the injustice, which he was so against at the start of the play. Eddie was on his last legs and when the officers came for the cousins Marco knew, using the Italian instinct, he knew that Eddie had called the Bureau. Marco therefore made a large show, telling everyone in the street what Eddie had done. In the penultimate scene, Alfieri is in the police cell after Eddie has gone to the police. Alfieri tells Marco not to harm Eddie. I think this is because Alfieri likes Eddie, as he says in the conclusion, "I think I will love him more than all my sensible clients." After Eddie's death, Alfieri is lit up so that the audience focus on him, and gives a final soliloquy, which calms the audience down after another scene of high tension. This is like a eulogy, as it looks back over Eddie's life. A eulogy is usually a series of memories from a persons life, rather like the play is a series of flashbacks. In the end, the conclusion is inevitable, and ends in tragedy. ...read more.

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