How does Miller succeed in making Eddie someone with whom the audience can sympathise?

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4. How does Miller succeed in making Eddie someone with whom the audience can sympathise?

Arthur Miller wrote ‘A View from the Bridge’ as a modern version of a Greek tragedy, therefore, Eddie’s death at the end of Act Two should be tragic. The audience have to feel pity, or pathos, towards Eddie when he dies to make the play a successful tragedy. According to 1.Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, the hero should be noble and of high status; he should have a flaw, or hamartia, which should lead to his tragic ending; his punishment should seem to be harsher than his crime; and he should realise that his flaw has led to his tragedy. By making his play a modern version of a Greek tragedy, Miller uses the character of Alfieri, his description of Eddie as a likeable and respected man and an extreme and violent death in the arms of his wife to make the audience sympathise with him and to make him a tragic hero.

Throughout the play, Miller gives his audience many reasons to respect and admire Eddie. Although there is “too much love” (p. 48) for his niece, it is also obvious that he is very protective over Catherine and genuinely cares about her. Eddie and his wife have taken Catherine in and have given her a loving and caring home to live in. Also, Eddie seems popular within his community, is liked by Louis and Mike and is described by Alfieri as “good a man as he had to be in a life that was hard and even.” (p. 26) Eddie is respected both in the house, because he is head of the household, and in the community. This shows that he is actually a noble person, with high status in the Italian-American community. He is the only person in the family who works; he is the provider for the family. Miller shows how hardworking Eddie is because he has to earn a living for his whole family and despite the mistakes he makes, both Catherine and Beatrice love him until he dies at the end of the play.

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Many may feel sorry for Eddie even without the chorus, Alfieri, being there to lead the audience though the play. In the beginning of the play, when Beatrice tells Eddie, “She’s got a job.” (p. 18), Eddie seems shocked and says to Catherine “It’s not wonderful…You can’t take no job. Why didn’t you ask me before you take a job?” (p. 18). This quote shows the audience that Eddie disapproves of this and does not want his niece to leave him, even though Beatrice and Catherine had wanted Eddie to be happy about this. When Beatrice tells Eddie that Catherine will ...

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Quality of Writing The candidate's essay is of a high standard, with excellent quality of written communication. Quotations are integrated into sentences well, making for a much better flowing essay, for example "Beatrice tries to make him face this truth by saying “You want somethin’ else..."". However, providing page references is not necessary, as examiners are unlikely to check the quotations used (but do not use this as an excuse to misquote!) and depending on the edition of the text, the page numbers for the quotes used may be different. The referencing of Aristotle's definition of tragedy is a good technique, showing a strong candidate and learning to reference properly will stand students in good stead for further and higher education.

Level of Analysis The candidate's analysis of the text is excellent. The candidate uses a lot of quotations to support their arguments with between 2-6 quotes per paragraph, showing a solid knowledge of the text. The use of the Point, Evidence, Analysis formula also demonstrates a higher level candidate, and an example of the analytical part of the PEA formula is "This quote shows the audience that Eddie disapproves of this..." In this, the candidate is explaining the effect that the line has on the audience, marking them out as an A or A* student.

Response to Question In this question, it is very important candidates read the question carefully, and focus on the ways in which Miller makes Eddie a sympathetic character, and not if this is the case or not. This candidate succeeds in this, examining the techniques used by Miller to characterise Eddie in a very extensive and developed way. The inclusion of Aristotle's definition of tragedy also shows depth and further research, signalling to examiners that this is a very strong candidate.