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Write about the dramatic tension felt in the Carbone household by the end of Act 1 'A View from the Bridge' was written in 1955

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Introduction

Siobhan Taylor 10N Write about the dramatic tension felt in the Carbone household by the end of Act 1 'A View from the Bridge' was written in 1955, yet it was Arthur Miller's interest in the work and lives of dockworkers and longshoremen of Brooklyn harbour in the late 1940s that influenced the play. Miller himself had worked there and was aware of the conditions experienced by illegal immigrants who were often exploited by their bosses. His parents came from Italy, and although legal immigrants, he worked alongside many men who had entered the country illegally, and this forms the basis of the play. Miller saw the poverty and desperation of the immigrants but also their determination and loyalty. A lawyer friend of his told him the story of a longshoreman who told the Immigration Bureau about his own relatives who were living in the country illegally and how he was concerned about a relationship with his niece. He adapted this story into a play which gives it a realistic, authentic feel. The Italians, at that time, believed that family must be honoured above everything. As the community in which the family in the play lived in was made up of a lot of Italian immigrants, these values affected the lives of the Americans. They believed in following the law but as the Italian value of justice was mixed with this, the two cultures collided, causing conflict. Act 1 of the play begins with a short speech about the play from a lawyer called Alfieri which hints at the themes of the play. We can already feel the tension in this part of the play from Alfieri's words "bloody course" when describing what is going to happen, letting us know that the play will not be a smooth ride. ...read more.

Middle

He even tells her, "I don't see you no more" and "I don't know how to talk to you". As Eddie's apparent concern grows, Beatrice always tries to make the peace. When Catherine is late home she makes sure that Eddie knows that it was because the film ended late to avoid any conflict in case Eddie thought it was Catherine's fault. When Eddie makes fun of Rodolfo singing, cooking and sewing she sticks up for him by saying, "Well it's good, he could always make a living." Beatrice realises that Eddie has these overprotective instincts towards Catherine and she tries to put his mind at rest. The audience here, though, can see that Eddie's feelings are unnatural and that he is just trying to break up the relationship between Rodolfo and Catherine because he is jealous. Some of the stage directions give hints about Eddie's true feelings like when Catherine is walking towards him Miller has written 'he can't help smiling at the sight of her'. This may not seem obvious but he has just been anxious and worried about where she has been so for him to smile when anyone in the same situation would be angry gives us an indication of his strong feelings for her. Throughout the play, the lawyer Alfieri has been seen regularly and he has several roles in the play. His most obvious role is Eddie's lawyer, offering him advice. His other role is as a sort of subtle narrator. He talks to the audience but instead of telling them what is going to happen, he tells them his feelings about things that will happen. His character is sort of set apart from everyone else in the play. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Marco beats Eddie in the 'chair raising' challenge, it is almost like a come back to Eddie's fight with Rodolfo. Marco has always seemed to be shy and has always done what Eddie tells him to do but he can see that Eddie's fight was symbolic. As Marco is Italian and they always show loyalty to their family, Marco is sticking up for his brother and responding to Eddie's threat with another. He is showing that although Eddie can beat Rodolfo, he would also have to beat Marco, but he cannot do that. The way that the chair is raised over his head is like the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom. Marco smiles, knowing that he has won his brother's right to do what he wants and Eddie realises that he has been beaten. The ending to Act 1 is effective as during the play the tension has been very subtle and we have needed to look beyond the words and stage directions to see everyone's feeling. But in the final scene it is very obvious that there is tension in the room. Everything in this Act has seemed to lead up to who will win in the end and the ending of Act 1 shows us that although Rodolfo cannot, his brother will accept the challenge on his behalf. An audience would be rather alarmed at everyone's sudden changes - Catherine's rebellion, Beatrice's gentleness gone, Rodolfo's nervousness, Marco's sudden strong character and Eddie's realisation that he has been overpowered. Alfieri has increased the build up of tension throughout this Act by telling us beforehand his feelings about what is going to happen, making us on edge through the whole of the play. ...read more.

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