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Discuss the conflict between individual and society in "A View from the Bridge".

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Introduction

b) Discuss the conflict between individual and society in "A View from the Bridge" Many of Millers plays are based on real life experiences. In "A View form the Bridge" many stories and experiences were put together to create this piece. The main story is of an Italian-American called Eddie Carbone who works on the waterfront as a longshoreman to support his wife, Beatrice, and their niece, Catherine. When Beatrice's cousins from Italy, Rodolpho and Marco, illegally migrate from Italy to America Eddie welcomes them with open arms. Catherine soon falls in love with Rodolpho but Eddie has feelings for his niece that he finds hard to admit to. Eddie subsequently creates the idea that Rodolpho is homosexual and, in his eyes, not "right" for Catherine. Red Hook, a slum area of Brooklyn, New York, at this time was a very close-knit community and often the Sicilian family ethics would still permeate through the generations of the new Americans. Eddie tells the story of the boy who was thrown out of his home and never seen again, regarding it as a moral story with a suitable ending because he had told the immigration officers about his immigrant Uncle. ...read more.

Middle

Eddie has relied his whole life on his moral code which he breaks when he realises he can no longer have Catherine and the code. Eddie is punished for his individuality by society, the fight at the end is much like a pagan ritual devised to discern truth by divine intervention, the crowd circles the two opponents as the accuser and defender fight, the winner will either reclaim his honour or destroy his opponents. Such rituals are have said to take place in ancient Briton and Greece. Eddie lives in a society where there is a strange type of feudal system; there are mafia dons on top mafia underlings in the middle and longshoremen at the very bottom. It immediately suggests to me that the kiss bestowed upon Rodolpho may have connections with the Mafia as a kiss of death. By reporting Rodolpho to the immigration authorities Eddie has effectively signed his own and Rodolpho's death warrants. We can relate Eddie to the conventions of the Mafia because of his background as he himself is an Italian-American and by reporting Rodolpho he is effectively denying another what was given to his parents. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Marco kills Eddie it as if he has won the battle and much like in a pack of lions the dominant male now owns the females. This simile helps us to imagine this scene, highlighting it as the characters turn from men to beasts. This story was built upon a tale Miller heard while working as a longshoreman in Red Hook (where the play is actually set), some say that Elia Kazan is represented in the play by Eddie, the character that we can understand but still reject. Miller criticised Elia Kazan for naming names during the McCarthy trials (or as they were nicknamed "the McCarthy Witch hunts") but at the same time understood his dilemma. Elia Kazan was given an option and if he didn't name names then he would never direct films again. Kazan was not only criticised by Miller but by many people who branded him a coward and scoundrel although he claimed he was doing it "out of his own true self". Like Kazan, Eddie does what he believes is right creating a conflict between society and himself. ?? ?? ?? ?? William Hoffman U6LKB ...read more.

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