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How does Arthur Miller use Eddie to create dramatic tension for the audience?

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Introduction

How does Arthur Miller use Eddie to create dramatic tension for the audience? In "A View From The Bridge", Arthur Miller uses various different dramatic and writing techniques to create dramatic tension and to keep the audience absorbed in the play. Miller uses the setting, characters, stage directions, pace and language as the main supply of drama. The characters are the key part of the play and are the base for creating tension and drama. We can quite clearly see that when writing the play Miller was influenced by the structuring used by many Ancient Greek playwrites when writing tradgedies (a problem arising in the form of a catalyst ,a complication, climax and denovement). The main elements that Miller uses in the play to create and sustain dramatic tension are chorus, the tragic hero and the idea of fate and destiny. In the play Eddie is potrayed as the hard working male stereotype. He is respected by everyone, is an admirable family man and overall is presented as a warm, respectable character. "He was as good a man as he had to be in a life that was hard and even" Alfeiri introduces us to Eddie at the beginning of the play. This particular quote emphasises that Eddie is an honourable, civil person. However, when the cousins (the main catalysts in the play) are introduced we begin to see another contrasting side of Eddie as his true feelings for Catherine are revealed. The main themes in the play are set out for the audience in Alfieri's prologue. The audience is given a feeling of unease as Alfieri begins to depict to us both the settings of the play and the attitudes of the people living in Red Hook. In his speech Alfieri tells of superstition, history, cultural tradition and the peoples' views on justice. "Oh, there were many people here who were justly shot by unjust men. ...read more.

Middle

Marco ends the scene with a subtle threat. Marco challenges Eddie to lift a chair up by one leg, whilst kneeling with one arm behind his back. Eddie failed in doing so. By looking at stage directions we can see that this is threatening behaviour, intended to warn Eddie not to 'bully' Rodolfo, whatever his feelings may be towards him "The chair is raised like a weapon above Eddie's head". The end of this scene shows a different side of Marco, he is not afraid to express his emotions and comes across as more subtle than Eddie, but a lot more of a dominant and potent character. Marco proves to Eddie in this scene that he as not as big as he anticipates. This is quite ironic, as Eddie's death is a result of confronting Marco although he knew he was the weaker man. The beginning of Act Two is opened with Rodolfo and Catherine. The two characters have never been alone in the house together (leaving the audience in anticipation as to what may or may not happen), this is an important part of the play as it sheds light on what their relationship is like and how it is progressing. Catherine shows doubt (enforced unto her by Eddie) in Rodolfo's consistency, his honesty in their relationship. Catherine has never before shown any concern about Rodolfo's commitment to her, this causes tension between the two characters and the audience is left agitated as they do not expect to see tension between these two particular characters. Rodolfo is hurt when Catherine implies that he is using her. The tension fluxuates, but by the end of the scene it seems to have faded. The second scene however does not run so smoothly. The lights arise on a drunken Eddie. He is not in control of his actions and his inner feelings come out in a more dramatic, intense way. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eventually though, he does, though he feels that to make a promise that he knows he could never keep is dishonourable. Alfieri explains to Marco that the only one that will ever bring him true justice is God. He is basically saying that Eddie will get his come-uppance, just maybe not as of yet. This particular scene says that Alfieri leaves with a 'processional tread', this may be making a reference to a funeral procession, thus foreboding the evens to follow. In his speeches Alfieri refers to the theory of fate and how it cannot be avoided or changed. However, when you watch, read or listen [to] conversations that are held between Eddie and Alfieri you begin to see the bigger picture within the play. You begin to see how Eddie's stubborness, strong mindedness and passionate nature play the key part in his fate. Throughout the play Eddie is given warning by other characters about the consequences he will suffer if he pursues his feelings towards Catherine. Yet Eddie being determined to have Catherine as his own does not heed these warnings. Eddie's obsession consumes him. Eddie is a complex character, to the viewer he may seem irrational in his decision making, but this is not necessarily true. He is merely following his heart rather than his head. As Alfieri recollects at the end of the play "For he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love him more than all my sensible clients." (i.e the ones that follow their heads/the law) By staying true to his heart Eddie hurt a lot of people, this was not what was initially intended by Eddie, but because of his insistance this is how it turned out. Miller maintains and exemplifies immense tension and suspense to keep the audience's minds stimulated for the whole of the play. Each of Miller's linguistic and dramatic devices work in harmony with each other to create an enjoyable play with great philosophical value. ...read more.

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