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In "A View from the Bridge" how does Arthur Miller build the dramatic tension to a climax at the end of Act 1?

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Harkiran Bansal In "A View from the Bridge" how does Arthur Miller build the dramatic tension to a climax at the end of Act 1? "A View from the Bridge" is a play written in 1995 by Arthur Miller set in Brooklyn. During the 1950's Italy was a very poor country so there were many people immigrating to the U.S.A. Over a million Sicilians had already moved to the U.S.A. and there were more moving over. Many Sicilians dreamed of a better life in America with a well paid job and enough money to support their family. This play is based on a man named Eddie who lives with his wife Beatrice and niece Catherine who he has cared for since she was a child. Beatrice's cousins, 2 Italian immigrants come to stay with them. The tensions arise when one of the cousins, Radolpho, and Catherine fall in love and Eddie realises his true feelings for Catherine, which has devastating consequences and eventually leads to Eddie's tragic death. Throughout Act 1, Miller builds up tension, which eventually leads to the death of Eddie. Much of this tension arises from conflict between characters. ...read more.


They carry on the conversation and Rodolpho says "Its more strict in our town." (Eddie looks at him now) "It's not so free." By Eddie looking at him he is showing interest in what Rodolpho is saying. Eddie then replies by saying (rises, paces up and down) it aint so free here either, Rodolpho, like you think." The stage directions indicate he is pacing up and down, this tells the audience that he is getting very annoyed, angry and irritated. When Eddie is saying this he is referring to Catherine. This discussion carries on and Rodolpho asks Eddie whether he has done anything wrong. Eddie believes Rodolpho is only with Catherine so he can stay in America. Eddie replies by saying "Look, kid, I ain't her father, I'm only her uncle" Beatrice then says "Well then, be an uncle then" this shows the audience that Beatrice is getting annoyed with Eddie. Beatrice knows that Catherine is old enough to make decisions for herself and is getting angry with Eddie as he is very overprotective and doesn't let her. The tension increases when Catherine asks Rodolpho to dance with her. ...read more.


Come on, kid, put sump'm behind it, you can't hurt me." This is sarcastic and could mean two things. It could either mean that he can't hurt him physically, which would be if they were to fight. Or non physically where he means he can't hurt him mentally. Finally, tension peaks when Marco asks Eddie whether he can lift the chair. They have a competition and in the end Marco wins. Act 1 ends with "transforms what might appear like a glare of warning into a smile of triumph and Eddie's grin vanishes as he absorbs his look." This suggests Marco is proud as he was able to lift the chair and it also implies that there is more to happen. Also, before Eddie was in control and now that Marco was able to lift the chair and Eddie wasn't, Marco now seems more powerful. In conclusion, the audience are left feeling very excited and anxious. As the audience we see the build up of conflict lead to a great tension. Conflict keeps the audience interested and builds up throughout the play. I think Miller included this conflict to show the audience that sometimes things aren't what they seem. The conflict in this play is what makes it successful. It attracts the audience and makes the whole play interesting. ...read more.

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