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How Does Arthur Miller Build Up Tension at The End of Act 1 of ‘A View from the Bridge’?

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Introduction

How Does Arthur Miller Build Up Tension at The End of Act 1 of 'A View from the Bridge'? Set in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Arthur Miller's play explores the life of an Italian-American and how they adjust, also learning about traditions along the way by following a character named Eddie Carbone. In my essay I will look at the tension, how it was caused and the result of it. Firstly, I will examine and comment on the tension that arises in each relationship between certain characters: Eddie and Beatrice; Eddie and Catherine; Eddie and Rodolfo; Beatrice and Catherine. I will also examine how Alfieri; who plays the chorus; reports on the tension. Secondly, I will comment on the stage directions and how it reflects to the tension in the first act. The stage directions can tell us what the characters are doing, thinking and feeling, from this I can comment on the tension. Thirdly, I will examine the language of each character and why they use that language; from this I can comment on why they behave in that way and how it builds up the tension. ...read more.

Middle

When Eddie hit Rodolfo it's the hidden message about not to ruin his life. That's one of the main tensions in this act. Lastly I will look at Beatrice and Catherine. There are three main points about their relationship; Catherine looking to Beatrice, Beatrice giving advice, and each other's conflict with Eddie. Beatrice advises to Catherine to take control of her life, 'Don't tell me you don't know...' This shows Beatrice believes Catherine should let herself decide what to do. When talking about Eddie, Beatrice believes Catherine keeps flirting with him, '...you throw yourself at him since when you was twelve years old'. This is the main part that shows tension between them. From character relationship, we can discover that they build up tension throughout the play. Alfieri is the chorus of the play, reporting situations now and then. He reports the tension too, 'A man works, raises his family...' starting on a high note, 'there was trouble that would not go away', and ending on a low note. So he starts by lightening up the tension then bringing the tension right at the end of his speech. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can bring tension because the idea about 'snitching' to the authorities about the two cousins could be done by Eddie, but Alfieri advises not to break old traditions. The Italian culture can bring tension it-self. So where does all this tension lead to? It leads to the end of the act when Marco lifts the chair as a 'glare of warning' to Eddie. This is the main part that the tension builds up to during this act. On relationship basis, Eddie creates most tension between most characters, which runs through the end of Act 1. Alfieri's report on the play gives us a better indication on what is happening, by also reporting on conflict. Stage direction gives us a major indication of how people feel and react. It's like a silent tension. The language of each character, gives us the idea of how they feel without using stage directions. Within their language we can see when tension arises. Lastly the idea of omerta, the Italian tradition of silence, can bring tension it-self. So three main factors, the relationships, the stage directions and the language bring the tension of the play used. A small factor is the idea of Italian traditions. ...read more.

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