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What is the dramatic significance of the last scene of Act 1 of "A view from the Bridge?

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Introduction

Josh Bendon What is the dramatic significance of the last scene of Act 1 of "A view from the Bridge? "A view from the Bridge" was written and set in the mid 1950's. Arthur Miller (the author) in his biography "Time Bends" explains the idea of the play came from a story he had heard about a longshoreman, but until he visited Sicily a few years later, and saw for himself the poverty of the people he did not use this idea. The play was set in Red Hook, Alfieri in his opening speech described Red Hook a slum and he mentions "Al Capone, the greatest Carthaginian of all" and tells us (the audience) that "Frankie Yale was cut precisely in half by a machine gun on the corner of Union street" This is also showing us the type of violence and culture in this place. Work here has very little pay and the people, often newly arrived immigrants looking for better opportunities, are exploited by the bosses. Arthur Miller was very concerned to let his audiences know about the tough lives of these people. Alfieri, in his first speech aimed directly at the audience mentions "And now we are quite civilized, quite American. Now we settle for half, and I like it better. I no longer keep a pistol in my filing cabinet". He says this because in the twenties before this Red Hook was "The slum that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge." It was "The gullet of New York swallowing the tonnage of the world" because people used to take matters into their own hands and forgot the law but now they don't "now we are quite civilized." The word "Gullet" sounds ugly and emphasises the nature of this area. The scene we are studying is significant because we are able to see the antagonism of Eddie towards Rodolfo intensify, and become dramatised in the form of a boxing "Lesson." ...read more.

Middle

Marco responds to Eddies objections and anger by agreeing with Eddie. Marcos agreement with Eddie shuts him up because he wasn't expecting it and Eddie just sits down and says nothing. In this next part of this play there is both humour an growing tension between the characters. In this next section Eddies "Paper" Is a very important prop towards his actions, "He has bent the rolled paper and it suddenly tears in two" This Stage action shows his anger which he needs to unleash. At this point in the scene I think Eddie is reading his newspaper because he doesn't want to be in the conversation with Rodolfo because he despises him, he is also reading his newspaper to hide behind so he doesn't show everyone he is full of anger and jealousy of Rodolfo. Eddie is full of anger because he has just been in an argument with Rodolfo. Eddie has only stopped arguing because Marco is on his side and he agrees with him, which Eddie did not expect so he still has all his anger flaring up inside of him so he sits down and hides behind his newspaper. Catherine putting on a record and asking Rodolfo to dance shows that her attitude towards Eddie is very revengeful and she knows that he doesn't like her being with Rodolfo so she knows this will get him very angry. When Catherine asked Rodolfo to dance he refuses at first, because he knows Eddie doesn't want him to dance with her and having Eddie in the room Rodolfo can feel "Eddie's eyes on his back." Rodolfo doesn't want to antagonise Eddie any more. At this point in the play when Eddie asks if the record "Paper Doll" is a new record, He is implying that Rodolfo is spending a lot of money on records and other American things and not saving it to go back to Italy. ...read more.

Conclusion

"From here" Marco says with a quiet soft voice. Eddie thinking it will be very easy reply's "Sure why not?" He goes to the chair, kneels, grasps the leg, raises the chair one inch, but leans over to the floor. Eddie tries over again and again he fails, although the task is very hard, he tries to tell Marco why its so hard by giving him an excuse for him failing "Its on an angle, that's why, heh?" Marco kneels down and grasps the leg of the chair. He lifts the chair fully off the ground and keeps rising stands up tall with the chair held way above Eddie. Marco is face to face with Eddie, a strained tension in Marcos face as he gripping the chair telling the characters that it is hard but yet he is determined to do it. Marco is doing this in family solidarity, defending his brother as Eddie has just defeated Rodolfo and now, Marco has just defeated Eddie. Eddie was acting like a bully to Rodolfo and now Marco has got Eddie as if to say bullies never win. The end of this act is like the same as the end of act two because Eddie is been defeated by a kind of strength and the characters are very tense and silent. The significance of placing the interval here is that Miller knows the audience needs a break from the tension. Doing this he gives the two acts a symmetrical structure which helps the audience predict the later action. Ending this act in tragedy from Eddie's behaviour prefigures the end of the play. This scene has demonstrated the destructive nature of Eddie's love for Catherine. His love for her has taken over his life and it is as if it is the only thing on his mind in the play. Eddie, Beatrice, Marco and Rodolfo all have to start to consider the importance of family loyalty and honour. 1 of 7 ...read more.

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