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How does Arthur Miller create dramatic tension in the last scene of act one?

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Introduction

How does Arthur Miller create dramatic tension in the last scene of act one? Arthur Miller creates dramatic tension in this scene in a number of ways. Arthur Miller uses the character of Eddie and his actions in this scene, the anxieties of Beatrice and Catherine plus the 'fight' between Eddie and Rodolfo to make us tense. The tension in this scene is heightened by sudden movements, what is implied by the characters' words and the conflict between all three male characters. Arthur Miller uses the character of Eddie to create dramatic tension in this scene by his words and actions towards Marco and Rodolfo the two illegal immigrants from Italy. At the beginning of this scene Eddie gets into an unnecessary argument with the two Italians about the colour of oranges and lemons. The subject of oranges and lemons was brought up by Catherine when she says, "it's like oranges and lemons on a tree. I mean you never think of oranges and lemons on a tree?" Eddie replies saying, "I heard that they paint the oranges to make them look orange, I hear they grow like green." Marco comments by saying, "no, in Italy the oranges are orange," and Rodolfo adds, "lemons are green." ...read more.

Middle

Come on Rodolfo, I show you a couple of passes." Beatrice understands Eddie's reason for teaching Rodolfo and encourages him to let Eddie teach him, "Go ahead, Rodolfo. He's a good boxer, he could teach you." Rodolfo seeming embarrassed says, "well, I don't know how to." Eddie then starts to teach Rodolfo. Eddie shows Rodolfo a couple of passes and they start lightly boxing. Catherine enters the room from the kitchen and with beginning alarm asks, "What are they doing?" Beatrice only seeing the comradeship in it now replies, "He's teachin' him; he's very good." Eddie still lightly boxing with Rodolfo says, "Sure, he's terrific! Look at him go! (Rodolfo lands a blow) `At's it! Now watch out, here I come, Danish!" Eddie faints with his left and lands with his right, it mildly staggers Rodolfo and Marco rises. Catherine immediately alarmed rushes to Rodolfo, "Eddie!" Eddie answers to Catherine, "why? I didn't hurt him. Did I hurt you kid?" Rodolfo to Eddie with a certain gleam and a smile, "no, no, he didn't hurt me. I was only surprised." Beatrice pulls Eddie down into his rocker, "that's enough, Eddie, he did pretty good though." Also some of the sudden movements from some of the characters in this scene contribute to the drama. ...read more.

Conclusion

In Marco's actions towards Eddie I think Marco is trying to show Eddie that he is a stronger man than Eddie and that Marco is protecting his younger brother Rodolfo. I think that Arthur Miller used the character of Eddie very well to create dramatic tension for the audience in this scene. Miller uses the criticism of Eddie revealed by the two women which gave us as the audience the impression that the two women Beatrice and Catherine stick together against Eddie when they have any problems with him. I think the fight set up by Eddie was very cleverly done and at the beginning of Eddie setting up the fight I thought that Eddie was being genuine and I thought that Eddie was just trying to make an effort to get on with the two Italians Marco and Rodolfo. Miller used Eddie's implications to the other characters in the scene which built up the drama and made the scene more interesting. Finally I think that the conflict between the central male characters added a threatening feel to the atmosphere because I think it made the audience wonder how the characters would react to each others comments and actions to each other. Louie Fitsiou 10LH ...read more.

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