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Why does Arthur Miller call his play 'A view from the Bridge'?

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Introduction

Why does Arthur Miller call his play 'A view from the Bridge'? Many of Arthur Miller's plays examine the position of individual in relation to their responsibilities and position in society and may be seen, as a result, to be political. 'A view from the Bridge' has its roots in the late 1940's when Miller became interested in the work and lives of the communities of dock workers and Longshoremen of New York's Brooklyn Harbor, and where he had himself previously worked. Miller found that the waterfront was the 'Wild West, a desert beyond the law', populated and worked by people who were poorly paid and exploited. The play tells a story of an Italian Longshoreman, Eddie Carbone, working in the New York docks. His wife's cousins, Marco and Rodolfo seek refuge as illegal immigrants from Sicily. Trouble begins when his wife's niece, Catherine becomes attracted to the younger of the two immigrants, Rodolfo. Eddie's baffled jealousy culminates in an unforgivable act against his family and the Sicilian community. The Character of Alfieri is seen as the narrator, yet is involved in the action as well. It is as if he is standing on a metaphorical bridge, looking over the Carbone family, and everyone else involved. He tells us what is happening outside of the house, he speaks in the second person, directing everything at the reader, thus giving the effect of an outsider within the community. ...read more.

Middle

Italian life is depicted to be about respect, life back in Italy is shown to the reader as a state of poverty, this proves to be a reason why many Italians emigrate to America, life is much better, there is work and where there is work there is pay. "They eat the sunshine." This small metaphor seems to be quite a powerful comment to the reader, not only does it make the reader realize the lack of food, but it shows how they cope, as sunshine is a natural source, they could live on it forever, light can also, and often is seen as a metaphor for hope, is this poverty stricken land going to break out of such a mess? The Italian way of life is also depicted to be violent and brutal, "In my country he would be dead by now." This just goes to show how the law in Italy is far cruder, as if it turns a blind eye to anything that should not be happening, somewhat of corruptness. Compare this to the American, civilized and modern way of life. One of the main reasons for people from abroad to emigrate to America is their belief in the American dream; of equality, equal rights and most of all the prospect of work. ...read more.

Conclusion

Eddie seems to make himself believe that Rodolfo is homosexual, in the hope this will some how get rid of him, "He aint right" Even the thought of a homosexual in an Italian community would be considered a crime, and a disobeying of the Italian code of conduct, by Eddie repeatedly telling Rodolfo this; he tries to humiliate him in front of others, especially the Italian community. With no other choice Eddie speaks to his 'contacts' on the 'other side' and by doing this also crosses this metaphorical bridge, and by crossing this bridge he chooses to take the American way, and let the law takes its toll. After seeing the play one can see how different the two cultures are, the Italian traditional, and sometimes brutal way, and the American culture, with equal rites and equal opportunities. It is as if we are looking into the clash of these two cultures from a viewpoint or in this case a bridge. As I mentioned earlier, Arthur Miller refers to Brooklyn Harbor as the 'Wild West, a dessert beyond the law'. After seeing the play, one can understand why he refers to the harbor in such a way, with two completely different cultures clashing and in the end canceling each other out, with such unlawful activities going on the harbor does seem to turn into 'a desert beyond the law'. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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