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How Does Miller Make The End Of Act 1 Of A View From The Bridge interesting For His Audience?

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Introduction

HOW DOES MILLER MAKE THE END OF ACT 1 OF A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE INTERESTING FOR HIS AUDIENCE? Arthur Miller wrote 'A View from the Bridge� in 1955. The structure of this play is relatively straightforward. It is set in the late 1940�s amoung the Sicilian community in Brooklyn, New York 'the slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge'. It is said to be a modern version of a Greek tragedy with its powerful speeches and references to fate. A lawyer, Alfieri re-tells his account as he 'oversees� the events that take place. There are six main characters, five of which that live in the Carbones' household. It is in this houses dining room where the main focus of the action occurs. The street outside the Carbones' home in also where the action happens, this is represented so the audience are made aware of both the public and private affairs in which the action in set, also it allows us to see the Carbones' as part of the wider community, especially towards the end of the play where their private tragedy becomes into the public eye. Throughout this essay I will discuss how Arthur Miller makes the end of act one interesting for his audience. Eddie Carbone is at heart a simple, generous, straightforward man who works on the pier when there was work and he takes his pay home to feed his wife Beatrice and niece Catherine. However this is the public context, this is the personality that Eddie's neighbours and friends see, whereas in the private context, which the audience reveal early on into the play, we discover Eddie's obsession towards his niece Catherine, whose maturity and 'need' for independence is growing. However the more Catherine wants her independence and to experience the world Eddie's protectiveness grows more and more into a fixation to keep her near him. ...read more.

Middle

In comparison to Eddie Marco is very controlled and calm. He has left a wife and three children at home, the oldest of whom has tuberculosis. He went to America so he could earn more money than he could at home. It is very clear to the audience that he loves his family a great deal, this is shown by the fact he has tears in his eyes when he first talks about them to Eddie and Beatrice. Given that he has come across to make money for his family makes the audience forget that he is an illegal immigrant and makes him become a brave, sensitive, loving husband and father. Marco is anxious not to outstay his welcome with the Carbone family as almost his first words are "I want to tell you now, Eddie - when you say we go, we go." He is extremely polite and also feels a sense of responsibility for Rodolfo. When Eddie is upset that Catherine and Rodolfo were out late, he warns his brother "You come home early now." Marco tells his brother that he has done wrong because he doesn't want to cause tension between Eddie and his brother. Nevertheless Marco is also protective of Rodolfo. Eddie punched Rodolfo while 'teaching' him to box, which infuriated Marco. Therefore Marco calmly challenges Eddie to lift a chair above his head with one hand. The stage directions tell us the chair is raised like a weapon over Eddie's head. This is a trial of strength to show Eddie actually how strong he is, also that he will defend Rodolfo if necessary. Several parts of the scene are symbolic. For example, Catherine puts on the record 'Paper Doll', after Eddie hit Rodolfo to symbolise her anger towards Eddie. After Rodolfo sings, he flatters Catherine with flirtatious confidence from the song. The word doll itself has significance because Rodolfo does in fact think that Catherine is one, as 'doll' also means a beautiful girl. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eddie cheerfully asks Rodolfo if he would like to learn how to do some boxing, which Rodolfo reluctantly agrees and the men begin to lightly box. Eddie encourages Rodolfo, and he tells Rodolfo he is doing well, then Eddie hits Rodolfo on the chin. Both Eddie and Rodolfo stop boxing. Catherine puts on the record 'Paper Doll' which Catherine and Rodolfo dance to which symbolises the physical closeness also Catherine isn't being taken away, she wants her independence and happiness in the world which she has found with Rodolfo. Marco, who silently watched the boxing incident, shows Eddie the danger he invites by threatening Rodolfo. Politeness does not permit Marco to say anything, and the gesture is far more effective as the audience observes the chair "raised like a weapon" over Eddie's head, symbolizing the destruction he will shortly bring on himself. As Eddie and Marco are limited as speakers, and because some matters cannot be openly discussed, ideas are often shown in gesture and action. Sometimes this is apparently minor detail, but at times it is highly symbolic, seeing that actions speak louder than words. Marco does not need to tell Eddie that he is stronger. His actions and his brief invitation to Eddie: " Can you life this chair?" are enough to create a very intense change, which speaks volume about the altered atmosphere and the way that the characters now connect to one another. As Alfieri warns, no one can ever know what will be discovered, he also feels that compromise is better and that 'now we settle for half'. Alfieri explains the boundaries to Eddie, even though in his heart he knows he will ignore what he has been said to him, he cannot take further action to prevent Eddie's feelings leading to him taking action which will have regretful consequences. As Alfieri tells us in his first speech he is powerless as if the character's destiny is already mapped out and is a path they must inevitably take. ...read more.

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