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Manliness, Hostility and Aggression - In 'A View From The Bridge'.

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Introduction

Manliness, Hostility and Aggression In 'A View From The Bridge' A View From The Bridge' is a dramatic play by Arthur Miller, set in Red Hook, a poor district of Brooklyn, U.S, during the 1950's. The play centres around a poor Italian family, and how their lives are affected by the arrival of two cousins. The plays main theme is the conventional idea manliness at this time in history, and the way the plays protagonist, Eddie Carbone, is influenced by it. In the play, Eddie Carbone is your average family man of the period, with a wife and 'daughter', (Beatrice and Catherine) and head of the household. He brings home the money, his wife cooks and cleans and he takes care of them. His appearance and personality also conform to the preconceived idea of an Italian man, with dark hair and 'sensible' clothes e.g. shirt and trousers with a belt and black shoes. He enjoys bowling and playing cards, and has a physical job. He has built himself around his own concept of a man, and feels threatened or appalled by men who do not match what he thinks is right, or who appear more of a man than him. This is evident in the play as soon as the two 'submarines' (illegal immigrants) Marco and Rodolfo arrive. The two are brothers, and Beatrice's cousins. ...read more.

Middle

Marco is a strong, hardworking man, with a poor family back in Sicily whom he is working to provide for. He is dark with smart clothes and a honourable manner. When Rodolfo and Catherine dance after Eddie has warned Rodolfo to stay away from her, Eddie makes a poorly disguised attack on Rodolfo by 'teaching him to box'. Eddie punches Rodolfo in the face, and as Marco realises that Eddie is picking on Rodolfo, he makes an attempt to put Eddie in his place by demonstrating his strength lifting a chair awkwardly with one hand. As Eddie repeatedly fails, Marco slowly lifts the chair until it is above his head, as if it were a weapon. Eddie sees this, and suddenly his attention shifts and he perceives Marco as the greater threat. With his own manliness damaged, Eddie goes out and gets drunk. When Eddies returns he finds Rodolfo and Catherine packing to leave. As a last futile gesture, he first forcefully kisses Catherine, then Rodolfo in an attempt to prove his homosexuality. Eddie releases him but threatens that if he does not leave he will kill him. After this he goes to see the lawyer Alfieri. Alfieri acts as the narrator to the tale, and it is his view from the bridge by which the play is named. An educated man, he can see something bad is going to happen, and as Eddie leaves his office, he calls 'don't do it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eddie, distant and withdrawn, yet still harbouring his anger, still will not accept. Marco appears outside and shouts for Eddie to face him. The two square up, and as they fight Eddie produces a knife. He has lost everything and he feels is important, and his blind following of the unspoken code of manliness makes him lunge for Marco. Marco's superior strength defeats him, and the blade finds Eddies chest. He collapses and dies. The ideas of manliness, hostility and aggression and to an extent honour are linked to the play deeply. Arthur Miller portrays the pursuit of these things as futile, obviously his view, with such dated ideals leading to the gradual falling apart and eventual end of one mans life. Yet there are things to admire in each of the male characters. Eddie, despite being uneducated, has worked hard to get a job and provide for Catherine and Beatrice, and is willing to house men he doesn't know, albeit with dire consequences. Marco is very hard working and is willing to risk his life to give his family food and shelter, and the same to defend his honour. Rodolfo also has admirable qualities. He is ambitious and caring, and not so stuck on tradition, has the courage to apologise, as he demonstrates. For him, honour is less important than life and death. So, with A View From The Bridge, Miller demonstrates the good and bad side of manliness, and the resulting text is dramatic. ...read more.

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