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A View From The Bridge Essay

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Introduction

A View from the Bridge - How does Arthur Miller show tension escalating during Act 1? Tensions exist in families because of arguments and disagreements occurring between parents and their children especially teenagers, about boyfriends and the way they dress, which refers back to Eddie and Catherine Carbone's disagreement in the first scene when Eddie comments on Catharine's skirt. 'A View from the Bridge' was set in the 1950s in an Italian American neighbourhood under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. The area, which the Carbone family lived in, was called 'Red Hook'. It is a poor place where crime, gangsters and the Mafia had been well known in recent history. Tension in the Carbone household is present right from the beginning of the play and the narrator, lawyer and family friend Alfieri warns the audience of a tragic ending in his opening speech. Alfieri also gives us some background information on the Carbone family and it sets a mood to the start of the scene. Alfieri introduces the play, narrates the story in flashback, focussing on key scenes, and then closes the play. Arthur Miller himself says, " I wanted to write a play that had the cleanliness... the clear line of some of the Greek tragedies." ...read more.

Middle

Rodolfo decides to show off his voice to impress Catherine but Eddie does not like this and stops Rodolfo and asks him a rhetorical question "Look kid; you don't want to be picked up, do ya?" Eddie calls him a "kid" which suggest that Eddie is trying to establish his role in the household but Eddie also has another intention for stopping Rodolfo because Eddie does not like that Rodolfo is getting all the attention and that Catherine seems to be impressed with Rodolfo's singing skills because she is according to Miller's stage direction "enthralled" when Eddie tells him to stop singing. We also sense that Eddie loathes Rodolfo - his face is "puffed with trouble." Also other stage directions shows us that Eddie dislikes Rodolfo because Eddie "has risen with iron control" which suggests again that Eddie is trying to establish his role in the house and that "iron control" suggest that Eddie is trying to suppress his anger and hatred for Rodolfo. The song 'Paper Doll' was sung by the Mills Brothers in 1943. I think that Arthur Miller has chosen this song is to show that Rodolfo likes to be the centre of attention and that he is a performer so singing 'Paper Doll' shows that he is already half converted to the American culture since the song is American. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think that Arthur Miller chose to end the first act at this peak of tension because it now shows that Marco has the 'power' in the household instead of Eddie because when Marco challenges Eddie to lift up a chair by its leg with one hand, Marco raises it over Eddies head "like a weapon" which seems that Marco is warning Eddie that he will defend Rodolfo if necessary. Also Marco does this to show off his own strength and to show that Eddie is obviously no match for him. This shows that Marco is very protective over his younger sibling Rodolfo. The end of the first act also shows that Eddie is in conflict with almost all of his family members. When Eddie punched Rodolfo while he was "teaching" Rodolfo how to box, Catherine rushes to Rodolfo when Eddie had hit him - this is the first time Catherine has sided with Rodolfo over Eddie which shows that Eddie and Catherine's relationship isn't as strong as before. This first act has set up a very tense atmosphere for Act 2; the audience may have an idea on what might happen to Eddie and Marco's relationship in this last act and this act also explains how the tension and hatred between Eddie and Marcos relationship has led to Eddie's tragic death. ...read more.

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Response to the question

Response to Question
The candidate provides a detailed examination of the different methods used by Miller to escalate tension in Act 1, building upon his/her points appropriately. Some of the content feels a little irrelevant (the paragraph on the play ...

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Response to the question

Response to Question
The candidate provides a detailed examination of the different methods used by Miller to escalate tension in Act 1, building upon his/her points appropriately. Some of the content feels a little irrelevant (the paragraph on the play as a modern Greek tragedy), but putting the play into its context of production demonstrates a high level of thinking. Overall, the essay could be more succinct, but it is not an issue that would cause the candidate to lose marks.

Level of analysis

Level of Analysis
The essay includes detailed and extended analysis at the level of language (the third paragraph is a good example), with focus on individual words and a discussion of the different ways they could be interpreted by the reader. The use of these skills demonstrate that the candidate is a strong English Literature student. The methodical and chronological approach to the analysis of Act 1 allows the candidate to build on the points previously made and make links to earlier parts of the essay.

The conclusion reached is justified with quotations and the candidate explores the reasons Arthur Miller may have had for ending Act 1 at such a tense point in the play, with some reference to the events that are to come in the second act. These references to aspects of the play that are not explicitly included in the question shows that the candidate is a strong student and has the initiative to explore the play as a whole, and not just Act 1.

Quality of writing

Quality of Writing
The candidate's quality of written communication is excellent; his/her ideas are expressed clearly and arguments are developed and well-explained. The act is discussed at length, and the play as a whole is also taken into account. A good habit to get into, particularly if intending to continue English Literature to A-Level and beyond, is to write about characters in the text as constructs by the writer and not as people. It should be clear that the decisions and actions of characters are controlled by the writer. This is a skill that is not necessary to achieve a good grade at GCSE, but it reflects well on candidates and will give the examiner a good impression of the candidate. Spelling and grammar are also of a very high standard, with very few minor errors.


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