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In what respects is ‘A View from the Bridge’ a modern tragedy?

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Introduction

Eddie Carbone would rather die than admit to himself the truth of his feelings In what respects is 'A View from the Bridge' a modern tragedy? "A View from the Bridge is a tragedy in classic form and I think it is a modern classic". So wrote the New York Daily News in 1955. A tragedy according to the Oxford Concise Dictionary is "A play in which the protagonist is overcome by a combination of social and psychological circumstances". The review and the dictionary definition do therefore, encapsulate the very essence of this play - indeed a modern tragedy. "A View from the Bridge" is a demonstration of tragedy as Eddie Carbone, the protagonist does indeed die as a result of his feelings and the affect it has on society around him. The idea of immigrants at this time is also a good way to display tragedy. The immigrants had no money and had to fight to stay in America where they were underpaid. Eddie Carbone has a job, but it is a job that only just supports him and his family and has to work hard to maintain his job. This idea of cruelness to humanity in terms of the immigrants receiving harsh treatment is in itself tragic. During 1950's America is would have been every Italian working mans dream to come to America and earn more money that they could send back to their family. ...read more.

Middle

He realises what he has done and knows the only way out is death. Eddie Carbone is in love with his niece by marriage, Catherine or Katie as he affectionately calls her. He has bought up the orphaned child as his own, loved her unconditionally. However, on the cusp of womanhood he has fallen in love with her, something he cannot admit to himself, as it is too terrible to acknowledge. The first clue to this unlawful love is his obsessive concern for her appearance "Katie, you are walkin' wavy! I don't like the looks they're givin' you in the candy store. And with them new high heels on the sidewalk - clack, clack, clack. The heads are turnin' like windmills". Without realising quite why he has done it, he has delayed her oncoming womanhood by keeping her at school and secretarial college. This way he can protect her from external influences keeping her 'wings clipped'. This is why he is so keen to dissuade her from taking a job offered to her. "I know she'll be in the office but that ain't what I had in mind" We are afforded here a confirmation of the tragedy that is likely to unfold by the way Eddie's wife; Beatrice reacts to Eddie's dismay at Katie's first steps to freedom. We feel her sense of urgency in her attempting to put distance between Katie and Eddie, she remonstrates with Eddie "I don't understand you; she's seventeen years old you gonna keep her in the house all her life?" ...read more.

Conclusion

He feels if this can be sorted out so will his life. "He's gonna take that back, he's gonna take that back of I'll kill him! You hear me? I'll kill him! I'll kill him". This point is further emphasised by Eddies point blank refusal to accept Rodolpho's apology which would help to sort things out. Eddie knows that if he and Rodolpho were seen to have made up that things between Marco and Eddie may possibly be patched up. Eddies near hysterical response is "I want my name! He didn't take my name; he's only a punk. Marco's got my name" By refusing the option that would have diffused the situation, the way is cleared for the inevitable outcome, his sense of self - righteousness over Marco taking his 'name' obscures his vision as to the real villainy of the piece - his wrongful love for Catherine. The audience now knows that he truly would rather die than admit his true feelings showed in his horrified utterance of 'Beatrice' in response to her accusation of "you want somethin' else Eddie, and you can never have her!" The outcome of this disaster is one man killed, one facing deportation and therefore financial ruin for his family. Two families are ruined. All this has come about from the combination of one mans psychological make up and the circumstances ensuing from his social background. A truly modern tragedy. ...read more.

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