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"A View from the Bridge" How does Miller develop the dramatic tension between the characters in the closing section of Act 1?

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Introduction

How does Miller develop the dramatic tension between the characters in the closing section of Act 1? The play "A View from the Bridge" written by Arthur Miller and set in the 1950s, is a play of betrayal, jealousy and violence. Located in Brooklyn, Miller writes of tragedy for ordinary working class people, juggling with both the beliefs of the Americanised Italians and the new immigrants and resulting in an emotive and powerful play. "A View from the Bridge" successfully reflects the great poverty going on in Italy at the time and contributes towards our understanding to why many Italians wanted to immigrate to America during the 1950s. The United States offered countless opportunities, or so Italians thought. They were unaware that their fantasy of an American dream life was nothing but that-a fantasy. Despite the Statue of Liberty's heart-warming welcome America more or less resembled Italy. Italians faced many difficulties back home. Unemployment was on a steady rise and the immigrants found it incredibly difficult to pocket enough money to feed their wives and children. Many of the Italians strongly believed that the USA was the answer to all their problems and emigrated there to satisfy their curiosity. The title "A View from the Bridge," suggests that Miller was taking a typical working class family and highlighted the affairs they may or were likely to have. ...read more.

Middle

Beatrice does not approve of the way Eddie is preventing Catherine from growing up and feels as though it is time her niece acts her age and starts to go out a little more. She is becoming wary of Eddie's possession over Catherine and therefore, instead of sticking by her husband, encourages Rodolfo and Catherine to go out late in the night. Marco, however does not want to jeopardise his place under Eddie roof, and feels he has to pair with Eddie in order to secure it. Rodolfo is unconscious of Marco's true intention and goes onto resent his brother for causing shame upon him, especially since it is in Catherine's view. By now Catherine is "flushed with revolt," and acts upon it by asking Rodolfo to dance. "Eddie freezes" which clearly illustrates the sudden increased tension. Rodolfo identifies this and respects Eddie's wishes. "No, I- I'm tired," Rodolfo's hesitant response along with the stage direction "in deference to Eddie," shows that he is considering Eddie's feelings towards Catherine's unexpected request and refuses to strengthen the tension. However, this respect is not shared amongst the rest of the family. Beatrice, in fact is in favour with Rodolfo dancing and manages to persuade her cousin to do her niece says. "Go ahead, dance, Rodolfo," Beatrice certainly does not seem to have a problem on the idea that Catherine and Rodolfo may have close physical contact, in contrast to Eddie's views once again demonstrating the tense relationship shared between husband and wife. ...read more.

Conclusion

The facial expression emphasises on the immense amount of tension between both Marco and Eddie. Along with this the simile "chair raised like a weapon over Eddies head" displays Marcos threatening behaviour. The act finishes of with Marcos transformation from "a glare of warning into a smile of triumph." Both images created here, illustrates the power of which Marco believes to have over Eddie. Miller uses a sharp, witty structure in the play, in which the end of Act 1 foreshadows the end of Act 2. Where at the end of Act 1, the audience can see Marco threatening Eddie, using a chair as a symbol of his strength, at the end of Act 2, Marco actually carries out this threat. Eddie ends up falling in the fate of death under Marcos hands. It can be argued that Eddie was responsible for his death as he went against his own morality, and informed the Immigration Beaureu about members of his family- an issue the audience hear of at the beginning of the play. This 'defying of own morals' is the main cause of Eddies destruction linking in perfectly with tragedy where the main character is generally 'destined for doom.' On the whole, Miller's play is a play of dramatic tension all occurring beneath the surface. The majority of the time the characters in "A View from the Bridge" are being friendly and affectionate towards one another. ?? ?? ?? ?? Fahmida Choudhury GCSE Coursework ...read more.

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