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'A View from the Bridge'. Explore how Miller creates dramatic tension at the end of act one. Comment on this scenes importance to the play overall.

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Introduction

BETH HAMPTON 11L ENGLISH COURSEWORK - MRS SOMERS Explore how Miller creates dramatic tension at the end of act one. Comment on this scene's importance to the play overall. 'A View from the Bridge' by Arthur Miller explores the complicated lives and relationships between a family living in the slums of New York. This particular play is set in a slum called Red Hook which is strongly patriarchal, and where there is a large Sicilian, volatile community where many homes harbour illegal immigrants and the fear of their discovery is high. Within this society, tensions are high because of fear that they would be found hiding illegal immigrants in their home, which is what a lot of the anxiety in the play is based on. Alfieri tells us, the audience, about the importance of justice and how justice is often administrated outside rather than inside the law. This generates fear as we anticipate that people within the society will not necessarily abide by the law. Miller creates tension at the very beginning of the play by demonstrating the fact that the area is prone to violent attacks, we hear of the Vinny Bolzano incident on page 23 in which Vinny "snitched" to immigration that they were hiding illegal family members in their home. ...read more.

Middle

Tensions have already risen within the past few pages between Marco and Rodolpho and Eddie after arguing about whether they paint oranges and lemons, which leads the audience to believe that Marco and Rodolpho's joint defiance against Eddie's behaviour will become more of an issue later in the play. Rodolpho's initial hesitation to dance with Catherine shows his determination not to annoy Eddie any further, however, Catherine is insistent. Eddie reacts by questioning Rodolpho's masculinity, which adds to tensions because in the area where the play is set, masculinity and dominance over others is very significant. Eddie's speech "It's wonderful. He sings, he cooks, he could make dresses..." shows that he is clearly trying to mock Rodolpho. He obviously feels as though his dominance in his house is being threatened by him, therefore creating tension. Miller uses powerful symbolism in his writing to portray Eddie's character and express his emotions to the audience. We are made aware of Eddie's disapproval and anger of the situation, and Miller writes stage directions to express this. For example, Eddie seems to retreat to his rocker when he feels uncomfortable and wants to remove himself from the situation. This is his place, and as a male, he is very protective over his space and it belongs to him and only him. ...read more.

Conclusion

and he cannot, Marco then does it and holds the chair high above his head, whilst glaring at Eddie. This threatening pose creates very visual tension for the audience, as Marco has upstaged Eddie and robbed him of his male dominance in his own home. When the end of act one arrives and the play has an interval, the audience are left on the edge of the their seats and feel anxious to know the outcome of the events they have just witnessed. The tension build-up up until this point leaves the audience at a great ease, because the play so far has left questions unanswered and problems unsolved, meaning that the audience are spending the interval relating to the characters' discomfort in the play. This scene in particular is significant to the climax of the play because it sets up Eddie's destiny to fail and lose his self-control. The events that happen at the end of this scene could be described as 'the beginning of the end', as it is this moment that effectively leads into and foreshadows the escalation of tension and drama right to the end of the play. Eddie's frustration at the situation of Catherine and Rodolpho's increasingly passionate relationship lead him into his feud with Marco, which in the end is what kills him. Eddie sets himself up for his own downfall, and this is the scene where it all escalates from. ...read more.

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