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How Does MillerUse the Climax of Act 1 To Create Tension for the Audience and Present the KeyThemes of the Play?

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Introduction

How Does Miller Use the Climax of Act 1 To Create Tension for the Audience and Present the Key Themes of the Play? Miller uses the climax of act 1 to create tension for the audience through the acting and the situation the characters are in, and to present the key themes of the play to the audience. Firstly, he uses dramatic irony to give the audience an insight into how the story is going to end, which creates frustration and tension for them, as although they can see how the story is developing, the characters can't, this ties in with the theme of a Greek tragedy where there is a predestined conclusion. He uses the fact that in the 1950's and especially in dockside and urban households, masculinity and being the 'man of the house' was a huge part of family life. He combines this with Eddies desire to control and obsession with authority, to put the audience on a knife-edge, as to when one of the characters will lose control and lash out. Miller also expands on the situation of relationships in the play, both within the family, and outside. This ties in with Eddie's apparently incestuous feelings for Catherine, and this creates suspense and tension throughout the audience, as they don't know what is going to happen about it. Stage Directions, play a large part of 'A View From The Bridge', as they give it the final touches which create tension for both the characters and the audience, they help show what a character is feeling, which allows the audience to empathize with the character, making it all the more believable and therefore creating more tension as they want to know what will happen. Alfieri's monologue is also a main contributing factor to the tension, which slowly builds throughout the entire scene. The audience share Alfieri's perspective, which creates tension as they feel more sympathy for the characters as they are watching the play in what surmounts to a series ...read more.

Middle

During Eddie's Discussion with Alferi he voices several feelings he has about Rodolfo, which he has not previously been able to express to anyone else. The first argument against Rodolfo Eddie comes up with is that Rodolfo, "ain't right," that, "he's a blond guy. Like... Platinum and that, "if you close the paper fast, you could blow him over." These are all attempts to subtly suggest that Rodolfo is homosexual. This would give more credit to his argument that Rodolfo is just after his papers, as, if Rodolfo was indeed gay then he could not possibly love Catherine. This creates tension in two ways: the audience are not sure whether to believe Eddie or not, as although in theory it is possible, it seems much more prudent that Eddie is struggling to make what he is saying fit the Reality of the situation, and looks more like Eddie is trying to convince himself of this to assure himself that he is right and to stop himself having to admit that he loves Catherine. Once back at the house after leaving Alferi's office, Eddie makes several subtle hints at this to the other characters, when Marco says that Rodolfo is a good cook, Eddie, in his frustration at there being nothing he can legally do about Rodolfo, says in a supposedly sarcastic or cynical tone, "It's wonderful, he sings, he cooks, he could make dresses..." Eddie links all these together because these are the qualities he believes a real man should not have, this ties in with Eddie's feelings that Rodolfo is gay, and his distorted views on masculinity. The word "wonderful" has connotations of being good and useful, this may be linked with Eddie trying to convince himself that he is right and Rodolfo is gay, and that the more 'feminine' qualities he can find with him, the more truthful it seems. However, as Eddie is not trying to sound sincere, it is more likely that he is being sarcastic, and is using wonderful as the opposite to what he means, as he feels the situation 'just keeps getting better and better.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Eddie tries to shrug this off by saying: "it's on an angle, that's why, heh?" This cover up may be an attempt to lighten the mood, and if Eddie treats it as a joke then the rest of the family will as well, and it will take their minds off the fact that his strength has failed him. However, Eddie's "grin," which is most likely the remains of the attempted explanation, is soon removed as Miller shows his "grin vanishes as he absorbs his (Marcos) look," this is a direct result of Marco being able to lift the chair and when he does the stage directions say: "and he (Marco) transforms what may appear like a glare of warning into a smile of triumph," On one hand this may suggest sadness on Eddies part, as his ego has just been greatly dented. However, it may also be a result of Marcos "glare of warning" and is in fact Eddie trying to control his anger at Marco's blatant hostility. This creates tension for the audience because up till now they have always believed Marco to be the one neutral character in the play, just over there to send money home, but now it seems like he is taking an active part, and defending Rodolfo against Eddies slanderous onslaught. In conclusion, I feel that Arthur Miller creates tension in the climax to Act 1 in "A View From The Bridge," in many different ways. These include the exploration and presentation of many of the key themes that Miller has sewn throughout the play, comprising mainly of: masculinity, incest, Greek tragedy, jealousy, pride and obsession. He uses surprise, and a 'factor of the unknown' to keep the audience in suspense as to when Eddie will lose control, but never in doubt to the fact that he will. All in all Miller uses a variety of techniques and themes to create tension for the audience and keep them in suspense for the whole play, and successfully draws on this to build huge climaxes at many points. Matthew Dobson 05/02/05 English Mr Wilson 1 ...read more.

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