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What biographical details about Miller are relevant to our understanding of the play? A view from the bridge.

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Introduction

A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE: THE PLAY IN CONTEXT What biographical details about Miller are relevant to our understanding of the play? Arthur Miller, the son of illegal immigrants to America from Poland, was born in 1915 in New York City. Like many people, his father lost his business in the Depression and the family was forced to move to a smaller home in Brooklyn. After graduating from high school Miller began writing plays as a student at the University of Michigan, joining the Federal Theatre Project in New York City after he received his degree. He therefore understood the social status of illegal immigrants and the proletarian area of Brooklyn. He spent some years working in the Brooklyn Naval shipyard as a longshoreman, which gave him direct sources for his play. The majority of the shipyard workers were underpaid immigrants to America, many of them from Italy and Sicily in particular, where the Mafia dominated society. This experience enabled Miller to describe realistically the society, politics and culture of the Italian immigrant community. ...read more.

Middle

This was because of the power invested in the Mafia at the time. What is the political context of the play? The immigrants travelled to America to escape the extreme circumstances in their home countries. They went in search of the American Dream, which was denied them because of the discrimination they suffered under the right wing Government established in America at the time. The policies of the American Government forced the immigrants to live in densely populated slums on the outskirts of the cities. They were wage slaves and were forced to seek day labour, especially in the docks, as is shown in A View from the Bridge. Anyone who became known as a left-wing political activist - usually within a trade union - was blacked and denied work. What is the social context of the play? The play A View from the Bridge was set in the proletarian slums of Brooklyn harbour, New York during the nineteen-fifties. At this point in time, life for immigrants and other people of the working class was very tough as men received the minimum wage for hard labour in the Brooklyn docks. ...read more.

Conclusion

Rodolfo and Catherine start to live the American dream, whilst Eddie and Marco cling to their Italian roots. Rodolfo buys American records and clothes as he prepares to settle in America, whilst Marco sends his money home to his family in Italy as is expected of a good Italian father. When Marco wants a traditionally Sicilian blood revenge against Eddie, Rodolfo argues with him for the first time and wants him to compromise so that he can have a future in America: "MARCO - In my country he would be dead now. He would not live this long. ALFIERI - All right, Rodolfo - you come with me now RODOLFO - ...Marco - promise the man. Please, I want you to watch the wedding. How can I be married and you're in here? Please, you're not going to do anything; you know you're not." (page 58) This last speech by Rodolfo shows how powerless the immigrants are in a society where they are forced to compromise with a culture that is alien to them and to live by rules that go against their concept of justice and honour. Alex Kearns 1 2 ...read more.

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