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Masculinity, Hostility and Aggression in 'A View from the Bridge'

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Introduction

20th Century Drama: Examine the ideas of Manliness, Hostility and Aggression in A View from the Bridge. How are these ideas connected? In the play 'A View from the Bridge' by Arthur Miller, the play's protagonist, Eddie, has a very particular idea on the qualities that show true masculinity. When other characters in the play do not conform to these ideas, Eddie becomes hostile and in some cases aggressive towards these characters, such as Rodolfo who does not conform to these qualities, and Marco, who does demonstrate these characteristics, but in a way that makes Eddie feel threatened. Eddie feels that all men should show conventionally masculine characteristics. For example, he believes that all men should be the breadwinner for their families. He shows the audience this as no one else in the Carbone family works, and when his niece Catherine gets a job offer to earn lots of money, Eddie says 'I supported you this long' and makes her finish school, as he wants her to get the best possible job. Eddie also believes that it is his duty to protect the women in his family, and he shows the audience this when he criticises Catherine about how she is 'walkin' wavy' as he doesn't want other men looking at her. Although, the playwright has also showed the audience that Eddie believes that getting respect from the women is also an important. ...read more.

Middle

He also proves Eddie's opinion that he is gay wrong, as he clearly shows his love for Catherine, which also shows his masculinity. Although, the audience can see that Eddie is slightly jealous of Rodolfo, as Rodolfo can communicate his ideas to the other characters a lot more effectively than Eddie can and so this causes the conflict between them more than anything else in the play. For example, Eddie 'teaches' Rodolfo how to box just as a excuse to hit him, and the audience get the impression that Rodolfo would not have done this, as he as the skills to communicate properly with other characters, so they could possibly be feeling sorry for him because he is masculine in a different way to the other characters, although he is constantly being bullied by Eddie and the other longshoremen because of it. Although Rodolfo doesn't live up to Eddie's ideas on masculinity, Marco does so more than Eddie, which is why Eddie is hostile, and towards the end of the play aggressive, towards him. Marco is very different to his brother Rodolfo, who is fair haired and pale, as he is dark skinned and has dark hair, so he is a typical Italian immigrant. At first, Eddie likes Marco very much as he is very strong and hard working. Another longshoreman describes Marco as a 'regular bull' and Eddie himself says that 'he's a strong guy'. ...read more.

Conclusion

in frustration that he cannot communicate his ideas effectively, and Miller could have done this purposely to possibly make the audience feel sorry for Eddie towards the end of the play, possibly because he only attacked Marco because he was unable to express his feelings in any other way. Miller has intentionally contrasted Eddie with Marco and Rodolfo, as the audience gets the impression that they are competent of expressing what they think, and so Miller could also have done this purposely as well, as this could make the audience think that both Marco and Rodolfo are more masculine than Eddie because of this quality. Miller may possibly be trying to show the audience that every man shows his masculinity in one way or another, and possibly that the most important quality of all is communication, as the one character who lacks this in the play is Eddie, and the lack of this skill leads to his death. In the play 'A View from the Bridge' the playwright Arthur Miller has shown how masculinity, and how people view it, can lead to hostility and aggression, and he has used Eddie, the protagonist, to help show these ideas to the audience. Overall, Miller has done this very effectively, as Eddie's death at the end of the play shows the audience where a man's opinion and a lack of communication can end. ...read more.

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