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What Dramatic Devices and Structures does the Playwright Employ to Create Tension at the End of Act I? Act I of "A View from the Bridge" ends with Marco standing over Eddie

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Introduction

What Dramatic Devices and Structures does the Playwright Employ to Create Tension at the End of Act I? Act I of "A View from the Bridge" ends with Marco standing over Eddie, holding a chair above his head threateningly. This stage direction, which expresses Marco's physical power and dominance over Eddie, is not very surprising to the audience as through the whole scene Arthur Miller has been building up tension in a variety of ways. In this essay I will be examining and evaluating these methods. The play is a tragedy. In all tragic plays, the ending involves a death. The audience's awareness of this builds up tension because the ending is inevitable. "A View from the Bridge" is set in Red Hook in the 1950's. There is a very important code of honour between the inhabitants of the area, who are primarily immigrants from Italy. ...read more.

Middle

Tension is built up more directly through speech in the scene. One example of this is Eddie's implied hostility towards Rodolpho, illustrated when he says "I know lemons are green, for Christ's sake!" The audience knows this underlying conflict will inevitably lead to a direct confrontation, which creates tension. Eddie's open hostility towards Rodolpho also builds up some tension for example when Eddie "mildly staggers" Rodolpho whilst boxing with him. Open hostility does not generate as much tension as implied hostility, as when it is implied it is not resolved. Tension is built up more subtly through the body language of characters. When Eddie tears the paper in two, the playwright is making a very powerful demonstration of both his physical strength and how angry he is. It is a very effective method of creating tension as it reminds us that a confrontation will happen soon. ...read more.

Conclusion

Another way tension is built up is through the awkward pauses throughout the scene, for example after when Eddie says "He's lucky, believe me", when talking about Rodolpho. The pause is very awkward because no one can think of anything to say, and the atmosphere is already very tense. The pause gives time for the tension to build up before he continues. Beatrice's attempts to change the subject and diffuse the situation (for example when she says "Your wife getting the money alright, Marco?" whilst Eddie and Rodolpho are arguing about lemons) throughout the scene mean that tension is not released, it is sustained. I think that although there are several methods used to create tension, the sense of inevitability throughout the play is by far the most effective. Alfieri and the knowledge this is a tragic play remind us we will not like the ending. The audience is constantly in anticipation of the downfall of Eddie, and this anticipation builds up tension. ?? ?? ?? ?? Chris Turner 1 ...read more.

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