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Discuss the importance of the stage directions in Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge" and what they reveal about the character of Eddie Carbone.

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Introduction

TOM SORENSEN Discuss the importance of the stage directions in Arthur Miller's "A View from the Bridge" and what they reveal about the character of Eddie Carbone. Arthur Miller's 'A View from the Bridge' is set in and around a workers apartment near Brooklyn Bridge, in an area called Red Hook. The main population is made up of Italian immigrants including the main character, Eddie Carbone and his working class family, around which the story revolve. Eddie works as a longshoreman and is about to take up the task of hosting two illegal immigrants in his house, however he, himself, is the cause of his own downfall and the play is about the events leading to his fatal climax. Almost all the characters speak with Brooklyn style vocabulary and language, however, this does not allow them to reveal their real feelings because their education and vocabulary is limited and Italian men are not very expressive. Another factor is this inexpressiveness is the Sicilian code. The Sicilian code was brought to America by the Italians and is way the Italian community dealt with the law. It involves a strong sense of family tradition so Italians already living in America would accommodate immigrants coming over, like Eddie and the cousins. The man of the house was expected to make all the important decisions and would be respected greatly by his family. For these men actions speak louder than words and so they often found it difficult to show their true emotions. ...read more.

Middle

He "turns away" when Catherine's talking to him and reacts very poorly when Catherine tells him Rodolfo loves her. He "makes an awkward gesture of eroded command" and knows he's losing if not lost control of his house and family. Eddie responds to this in the only way he knows. Violence. "He has been unconsciously twisting the newspaper into a tight roll" as he raises the issue of Rodolfo's effeminate side. This has been an issue for some time and he is letting his feelings out now, unlike ever before. He has bent the rolled paper and it suddenly tears in two" His strength shows through as he snaps. His inability to express him self leads to him confronting Rodolfo but he has to remain inconspicuous so he pretends to teach him boxing. "he's terrific! Look at him go! (Rodolfo lands a blow.) 'At's it! Now, watch out, here I come, Danish! (He feints with his left hand and lands with his right. It mildly staggers Rodolfo." Eddie is playing with him, hiding his true motivation. "Marco rises" with the last punch and knows something is going on. He "nods dubiously at him [Eddie]" To tell Eddie not to mess with Rodolfo Marco uses actions not words like in the Sicilian Code and shows Eddie how strong he is. "Can you lift this chair?" The scene ends as "Marco is face to face with Eddie...the chair raised like a weapon over Eddie's head - and he transforms what might appear like a glare of warning into a mile of triumph, and Eddie's grin vanishes as he absorbs his look." ...read more.

Conclusion

"Eddie, the knife still in his hand, falls to his knees before Marco" He could be surrendering, knowing he is beaten; or praying, like Marco before Eddie will after seeking some forgiveness. Beatrice is the only one that stands by him; she acts like a blanket covering him from humiliation and the community. She fulfils her typical role perfectly: a good wife till death. She ends it in a way, putting Eddie in darkness as if the play had ended. Eddie has changed for the worse; he started out as a mild mannered longshoreman, a good home and family, good morals. But since the arrival of the cousins he became jealous of either Catherine or Rodolfo, or both for having the relationship he could never have with either of them. He betrays the Sicilian Code, breaks his masculine demeanour. His feelings are so mixed u by the end that he cannot deal with them and they lead him to his death. Arthur Miller's stage directions make this play so much more alive. They give life to the smallest things, the way Eddie smiles, the way people look at him. With out them it would be difficult to see the changes in him. In Alfieri's closing speech he states that the truth is better than anything, better than dying. It is ironic that Eddie died because of the truths he'd been avoiding. Alfieri says that it is "better to settle for half", better to have something not nothing. He mourns Eddie and this persuades the audience to mourn him, disregarding all the flaws that killed him. ?? ?? ?? ?? Tom Sorensen ...read more.

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