• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To what extent is 'A View from the Bridge' a play about a clash of cultures?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To what extent is 'A View from the Bridge' a play about a clash of cultures? Culture is the most significant factor in any society; it defines who and what we are. It is an all-pervasive influence on our actions and the way we live our lives. It is a key feature in Arthur Miller's 'A View from the Bridge', and a dominant theme throughout, if not the most dominant theme throughout. The period that 'A View from the Bridge' is set in is one where America, especially New York was seeing immigration from Italy and the Mediterranean when it had always previously received immigrants from Western Europe. They formed pockets of cultures, in which was a mix of aspirations to the American culture, but still the very strong foundations of the culture from whence they came. Two generations since the 1920s saw the height of immigration into America, with the Italian/American culture still receiving illegal immigrants from relatives and friends in the Mediterranean. 'A View from the Bridge' is a play about a personal tragedy, set under the conditions of a cultural clash, which defines the plot and prefigures the ending. Although we are made very clear from the offset that all the characters work in low pay American jobs and aspire to Americanism, the Sicilian culture is the most prominent feature of the play. ...read more.

Middle

The most obvious example of Sicilian ideas is the way that it seems right to help and protect relatives to get into the country, despite it being both illegal and expensive. By far the most prominent illustration of Sicilian justice, and relating directly to the plot, is the story of Vinny Bolzano. Upon hearing the story of Vinny Bolzano in the first scene of the play, we are immediately introduced to the aggression of Sicilian justice, and are given a glimpse of events that are to unfold. After Beatrice has told Catherine the story of Vinny Bolzano, Eddie exclaims 'On his own Uncle!', expressing disgust that anyone could possibly do such a thing to a relative under any circumstances. At this point in time it is totally out of Eddie's character to go to the immigration authorities, at this time in the play he would not even think about it, but he is later driven to it by what he feels to be a personal tragedy on an epic scale. This tells us that when Eddie informs the authorities he knows exactly what effect this will have on him; he knows of his inevitable fate after word gets out. The Sicilian values of justice are totally separate and exempt from American law. In some ways it is more lenient; it does not condemn Marco for killing Eddie because of two things; firstly, Eddie reported him to the authorities, and secondly, he won in a fair duel. ...read more.

Conclusion

The plot of the play itself is more about the personal tragedy between a parent's incestuous love for his daughter, and a girl who is growing up to become a young woman and wants to behave in accordance with her womanhood. This is the subject of the play, rather than the clash of the cultures, this is not to say that the culture difference is not relevant, on the contrary, it is a main theme of the play, but it only aggravates the personal problem. It confuses Eddie's situation, as he is obviously more in favour of Sicilian values, but finds his personal situation with regard to Catherine threatened by Sicilians, and therefore has to resort to using American culture to neutralise the situation. It makes the divide that Catherine has to cross into womanhood much greater, making it necessary not only to become a woman from her childhood under Sicilian ideas, but also to become a fully, modernised, Americanised, independent woman. In addition, it supplies Eddie with a method of solving his personal problem, if in a rather extreme manner. It makes the consequences of doing so much more dramatic. The personal tragedy suffered is fuelled by great love, which leads to insanity, giving the play the qualities of a Greek tragedy, if not a somewhat contemporary Greek tragedy. Matt King Page 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Miller section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Arthur Miller essays

  1. Examine the theme of justice in the play "A View from the bridge"

    his wife" and "Eddie turns and starts crossing down right to Louis and Mike" " Louis barely turns, then walks off and exits down right with Mike. Only Beatrice is left on the stoop. Catherine now returns blank eyed, from offstage and the car. Eddie calls after Louis and Mike.

  2. Explore the role of Alfieri in Miller's 'A View from the Bridge.'

    death and prison sentences. This is why the majority of the audience feel that if people always abide by the law then they will have to "settle for half" (Act II, page 63.) Miller here seems to be saying that the law is incapable to satisfying everyone therefore different cultures and societies must compromise

  1. A View from the Bridge - Alfieri's role as the symbolic bridge between the ...

    of the protagonist will always run the same and no matter what decisions or courses of action Eddie took the outcome would always be the same and he would die. Alfieri, as the role of the Chorus, summarizes events that take place offstage and comments on the actions of the

  2. 'A View from the Bridge' - review

    Eddie seems to be the only person secluded trying to what he thinks, protect Catherine from Rodolfo. Audience anticipate this extremity to be deciphered possibly by Beatrice. Throughout the whole play Beatrice has been impersonated by Miller as the most consequential person on Eddie Carbone, she has also actively tried

  1. A View From The Bridge.

    He needs to understand that she has fallen in love with Rodolpho and he can't stop this love it is unbreakable. Eddie is now so concerned about losing his niece that he decides to visit the lawyer Alfieri. This is the first time we meet Alfieri as a character of the play rather than the narrator.

  2. Examine the effects of the Sicilian Code of Honour which dominates the philosophy of ...

    Rodolfo not wanting to look weak accepts. When Eddie lands a particularly good blow Marco steps in for his brother. He offers Eddie the challenge of trying to lift a chair. As can be seen this is a challenge to Eddies authority "Marco is face to face with Eddie...the chair

  1. A view from the Bridge

    This partly stems from his patriarchal Sicilian culture where the man of the house is the most important figure in the family and is never questioned. There was a strong belief in the importance of honour and the need to respond to any sleight upon it, as is very evident throughout the play.

  2. A View From the Bridge

    Rodolpho is an illegal immigrant who the Carbone's are hiding along with his brother Marco, Rodolpho has come to America because he wants to become an American citizen as he wants the wealth and fame that comes with a Western society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work