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A View from the bridge - How does Miller create an atmosphere of tension throughout Act 1?

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Introduction

Ranjeeta Khalsa 11C A View from the bridge How does Miller create an atmosphere of tension throughout Act 1? A View from the Bridge is a well-known play written by Arthur Miller in 1955. It is based on the story of a man named Eddie who is brought up in an Italian family devoted background. He and his wife Beatrice live with his niece Catherine whom he has cared for since she was a child. The story soon heats up when Beatrice's cousins Rodolpho and Marco, illegal immigrants from Italy come to stay with them. The tensions arise when Rodolpho and Catherine fall inlove and Eddie realises his true feelings for Catherine, which has devastating consequences and inevitably leads to his tragic death. Throughout Act 1 Miller is slowly trying to build up the tension, which will eventually lead to the death of Eddie. ...read more.

Middle

Towards the end of the conversation the stage directions such as [furiously] and [Eddie gathers himself. A pause] show that the situation is heated. Eddie also implies at this stage that Rodolpho is gay. Throughout the play Rodolpho displays feminine traits which Eddie, a conventional working man of his time, would view with horror and distaste. Rodolpho sings, dances,loves clothes and can dress make, all skills, which Rodolpho would consider not to be masculine. He had difficulty describing his doubts to Alfieri "The guy aint right" he says and "you know what I mean". Miller shows how uncomfortable it is mentioning these things by the stage directions as Eddie twists and turns. This would have been the normal reaction of a working man at the time to a discussion on sexuality. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Why? I didn't hurt him. Did I hurt you kid?" The word 'kid' is a put down to Rodolpho indicating Eddie's lack of respect for him. The end of the act is very dramatic and visual. Marco asks Eddie "Can you lift this chair?" As Eddie fails to do so the rising tension is shown in the stage directions alone and not the characters lines. [Marco is face to face with Eddie, a strained tension gripping his eyes and jaw, his neck stiff, the chair raised like a weapon over Eddie's head] The audience will not know what will happen at this point and as we have been told how strong Marco is and we can see how tense this ending is. It balances Marco against Eddie as they meet on a physical ground. It signifies Marco's loyalty to his brother as it is giving Eddie a warning. It also shows the beginning of a great conflict, which will end in Eddies defeat. ...read more.

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