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'A View from the Bridge' by Arthur Miller.

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Introduction

Shelley Whitehead 'A View from the Bridge' by Arthur Miller 'A View from the Bridge' is a modern tragedy by Arthur Miller. A tragedy play traces the downfall of an individual. The protagonist, which is the main character, has one fatal flaw that eventually leads to their downfall. In Greek and Shakespearean tragedies the protagonist is traditionally superhuman or a monarch. In modern tragedies the protagonist tends to be an ordinary person. In the play, the protagonist is a character named 'Eddie Carbone'. Arthur Miller was influenced by the period of time he spent with Italian immigrants who worked on the docks in Brooklyn. The immigrants were poorly paid and exploited. While spending time with the immigrants, Miller heard a story of a man who had betrayed his relatives to the Immigration Authorities because he objected to a relationship between a man and his niece. A friend also told Miller of a dream he had in which he felt an attraction toward his cousin. Miller suggested that the dream might mean he wants an incestuous relationship with his cousin, offending his friend at the thought of it. These two stories as well as his experience with the immigrants inspired Miller to write the story of Eddie Carbone, an Italian immigrant whose obsession with his niece, Catherine, led to his downfall. When the play opens, a character named Alfieri introduces the audience to Eddie. Alfieri is a very important character. He acts as a narrator, introducing characters and telling the story in a series of flashbacks, but he also acts as Arthur Miller's mouthpiece. ...read more.

Middle

This is a simile explaining that Eddie could only see in one direction, and that direction was Catherine. Eddie consults Alfieri to find out if he can prevent Rodolfo and Catherine marrying. He thinks Rodolfo is using Catherine to become a legal citizen in America, "what about if the only reason for it is to get his papers?" He is trying everything in his power to keep Catherine to himself. He also implies that Rodolfo may even be homosexual, because he has blond hair and is a singer, "he aint right". The audience become aware of Eddie's level of obsession when he says, "I take the blankets off my bed for him, and he takes and puts his filthy hands on her like a goddam thief!" He continues to exclaim, "He's stealing from me!" Eddie sees Catherine as his possession. This created tension within the audience, because it is the first time in the play where Eddie directly expresses how he feels about Catherine. The audience will be shocked by Eddie's revelation. In the next scene, Eddie tries to teach Rodolfo to box. Rodolfo lightly hits Eddie, "I don't want to hit you, Eddie". Then Eddie hits Rodolfo back, "watch out, here I come, Danish". He tries to antagonise Rodolfo by calling him 'Danish' because he has blond hair. When Eddie hits him, Rodolfo staggers back, stunned by the blow. This causes dramatic tension. The audience recognise Eddie's playful boxing as something more sinister and serious. ...read more.

Conclusion

The audience will be in suspense as to what will happen next. Eddie lifts the knife, demanding one last apology, "You lied about me, Marco. Now say it". When he does not receive his apology, he flies at Marco, who grabs his arm, turns the blade inwards and stabs Eddie. Eddie dies in Beatrice and Catherine's arms. Miller uses dramatic tension to highlight the tragic decline of Eddie Carbone in the play. Miller uses a lot of physical contact in the play to create tension in scenes such as the boxing incident, the kissing scene and Eddie's death. Eddie Carbone was a man of action rather than words, and this is reflected by the physical contact in the play. I think Miller was successful in building up tension for the audience, because at different points in the play Eddie's behaviour would create tension and cause suspense. They are waiting for a climax in the play, so each time an incident occurs the tension builds more and more as they know the climax will be even more explosive. Eddie's downward spiral was shown effectively through the play. At intervals throughout we see Eddie's deterioration and his behaviour gradually become more obsessive and irrational, as Catherine is slowly pulled further away from Eddie. His obsession with his niece ended with the loss of his life as well as his loss of Catherine. As a consequence of trying to own Catherine and keep her to himself, he just drove her further away. Eddie's actions ironically caused exactly what he was trying to prevent, irreversibly losing Catherine forever. By Shelley Whitehead Shelley Whitehead Page 1 of 5 Shelley Whitehead Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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