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What different types of tension exist within Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge' and how does the playwright create these tensions?

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Introduction

What different types of tension exist within Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge' and how does the playwright create these tensions? In the very title of the play, there is some tension and suspense emerging already. The name 'A View From The Bridge' suggests that it is not a physical view, more a metaphor for Alfieri's (Miller's engaged narrator) role in the play. It suggests to me that he has an overview of what happens and absolutely no control over the events that occur throughout the duration of the play, which creates a kind of tension that has a fairly clear outcome, but the means, pace and devices used to construct the end is unknown. This is very similar to the type of tension used in Greek mythology, whereby many people were aware of the end, but did not have any knowledge of the play's climax. This play, written by Arthur Miller was first performed circa 1956 as a two-act performance. In this production, there are many types of tension; climatic tension, tension of discovery, the inevitable end, the stipulations of the Sicilian Code of Conduct, Eddie as a sympathetic character and the triangular relationship between Eddie, Catherine and Rodolfo, and Beatrice. There is a significant amount of climatic tension in this play with some even in the title, as previously shown. The first notable point in the play comes in Alfieri's introduction of the play: "This ones name was Eddie Carbone..." Here Alfieri speaks in an oracular tone of voice and also refers to Eddie in the past tense suggesting he does not exist anymore. The next notable point is when Alfieri says: "...watched it run its bloody course." Which implies that there is going to be bloodshed somewhere in the play, and to the main character as is usually the case in most tragedies. More tension is inserted into the play about halfway through act-one, after the cousins who enter illegally (Marco & Rodolfo) ...read more.

Middle

The end of their (Alfieri and Eddie's) conversation, brings about some more 'Alfieri Speech' which is crucial to the plot, and point the audience in the direction of the end, has now made the ending fairly obvious, and to a conscious audience, the ending should be within sight. The text that does is the following, all spoken by Alfieri: "I could see every step coming, step after step, take a dark figure walking down a hall to a certain door. I knew where he was heading for, I knew where he was going to end. And I sat here many afternoons asking myself why, being an intelligent man, I was so powerless to stop it. I even went to a certain old lady in the neighbourhood, a very wise old woman, and I told her, and she only nodded, and said, 'Pray for him...' That text suggest that Alfieri is perhaps going to repent for Eddie, knowing that his actions are driven by his emotions, and suggests that Eddie's actions are not going to help him in any way. I think this is because people quite often associate prayer with death, especially since Eddie is most likely Catholic, and so is Alfieri and everyone in Eddie's vicinity, and since it has been known for Catholics to pray in times of need, here it may also be the case. A very significant occurrence is when after the second meeting with Alfieri. Eddie exits the office and is looking suspicious and nervous. The stage directions cause the audience to have their attention focused on the phone, which then begins to glow, suggesting it's imminent use. By this time, it is clear that Eddie is about to use the phone to contact the immigration. The ending has now become very clear, and may also remove the mystery of Eddie's demise, for breaking the Sicilian Code of Conduct. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the end, I think is no one person's fault. I think it is the fault of all three parties. Catherine, because she is to na�ve to know what she is doing, and cannot see through Beatrice's advice, Eddie for being too overprotective and getting too involved, and Beatrice, for wanting Catherine gone for all the wrong reasons. With all this, I think it is all the deceit and selfish motivation that accompanies a dysfunctional family that sees the Carbone family on their knees. In conclusion, Arthur Miller uses many types of tension in his play 'A View From The Bridge': climatic tension, dedicated to keeping the middle unknown; tension of discovery, to keep the play fresh with plenty of plot twists, and to keep the character's personas mysterious, the Sicilian Code of Conduct to keep the play within the same era, and to put his knowledge to good use, Eddie as a sympathetic character to keep the audience engrossed and to exploit one of the most fascinating human traits, and the triangular relationship between Eddie, Catherine and Rodolfo and Beatrice to show how easily a nuclear family can be dissolved by the introduction of a stranger who is welcomed with mixed opinions, much like a specie from a different ecosystem being introduced to a new one. Interestingly, with regard to the opinions, each member of the family represents a different opinion; Eddie represents the negative extremity (by wanting Rodolfo gone), Catherine the positive extremity (wanting to marry Rodolfo), and Beatrice who is neutral (doesn't mind, just wants Catherine gone). All these kinds of tension help to portray what happens when strangers enter a close-knit family which has mixed opinions, and that when pushed hard enough, people will forgo almost anything to protect their loved ones; their beliefs, their life, even if it really is all for the sake of self justified pride and dignity. To summarise it in one sentence, it basically says, "Welcome to the human condition." ...read more.

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