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A View from the Bridge

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Introduction

A View from the Bridge A view from the bridge is a play by Arthur Miller first written in 1955. The play is set in Red Hook, Brooklyn, an Italian-American community, right on the New York City waterfront. Red Hook is described as a "slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge". This tells the audience that Red Hook is unlike the technologically advanced America everybody seems to expect. The main character in the play is Eddie Carbone. Hardworking Eddie, a longshoreman, comes from a noble family background. He is an ordinary working class man with a limited education but, decent, hard working and charitable. Eddie uses the Brooklyn slang, simple colloquialism. At the start of the play for example he calls Catherine a "Madonna" and says she is "walking wavy". Alfieri is another main character. He is an educated English speaking American. As Alfieri is a lawyer, the audience expect him to be a man of good judgement. Alfieri's view is the "view from the bridge" which is the title of the play. Catherine is Eddie's 17 year old niece whom Eddie raised since a young age. We know her mother is dead but her father is not mentioned. Catherine is a simple pretty girl but is, as Rodolpho calls her, socially inexperienced. She talks in pidgeon English. Most of her lines start with "Yeah". ...read more.

Middle

Catherine becomes angry with Eddie and asks Rodolpho to dance to 'Paper Doll' to spite him. Eddie finds out that Rodolpho can in fact cook, dance and make dresses. He makes a sarcastic and cutting speech and claiming that he is happy that Rodolpho has so many talents he suggests that, "the waterfront is no place for him". Eddie unexpectedly starts to be nice to Rodolpho and takes him to a boxing match. The audience becomes suspicious. Eddie then gives Rodolpho a boxing lesson and tries to humiliate him. Eddie punches him causing him to stagger backwards. Marco who has been watching shows Eddie that he cannot hurt Rodolpho without getting hurt himself. The chair "raised like a weapon" over Eddie's head shows the audience Marco's strength. This is the end of the first act. It is near Christmas. Alfieri introduces the second act. Catherine and Rodolpho are left in the house alone (p. 59). Rodolpho teaches Catherine to dance. They discuss their relationship and where they would like to live when they get married. Catherine would like to go to Italy because she believes it to be romantic and beautiful. Rodolpho would like to live in America as he believes it is a land of opportunity. Rodolpho reassures Catherine he is not marrying her for her citizenship but because he loves her. He takes her to the bedroom. Alfieri's earlier comment about "a case of Scotch whisky slipped from a net while being unloaded" suggests to the audience that Eddie would come home drunk. ...read more.

Conclusion

Catherine was angry with Eddie earlier but as she watched Eddie, the man who had loved and raised her, die she claims "I never meant to do nothing bad to you". Alfieri comes to address the audience. His last speech is to try and explain to the audience why Eddie acted in that way. Alfieri believed Eddie's death was useless but he admired Eddie because he did not "settle for half", "he allowed himself to be wholly known". The play ends leaving the audience shocked and very emotional as many of them would never have expected the end. The structure in the play is simple. There are two acts. In the first act Eddie tries to stop Catherine falling in love with Rodolpho and in the second act he realises he has failed to do this and first throws Rodolpho out of the house, tries to deport him as an illegal immigrant and has his final confrontation with Marco, resulting in Eddie's death. Eddie Carbone is degraded from a respectable man to a shameful animal because of his dislike jealously towards Rodolpho which leads him to telling the Immigration Bureau about Rodolpho and Marco. The audience understand that it is only his difficulty to 'let go' of his niece that he loved and raised as a daughter that motivated him to some of his actions. Because of this the audience might sympathise with him. By William Roberts ...read more.

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