The dramatic presentation of the family in A View from the Bridge

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Amy Barton

Explore the dramatic presentation of the family in A View from the Bridge

        ‘The main acting area is the living room-dining room of EDDIE’S apartment. It is a         worker’s flat, clean, sparse, homely’

The opening stage design of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge presents the family home as being a close-knit unit. It suggests that there is nothing extraordinary about the Carbone family’s living arrangement, which gives a sense of order. However in the play, it is the normal order of things that is upset. With the main focus being solely on this set, a claustrophobic atmosphere can arise for the audience, as they are forced to focus on one set all the time. Miller has been able to raise the tension of each scene this way,  magnifying every small event that takes place and highlighting how fragile the family unit is. As it is Eddie’s apartment, it suggests dominance in the home. Later in the scene, Beatrice says to him ‘You’re a angel!’, showing how his family worship him as the alpha male in the house. It is this position of dominance that is lost throughout the play, eventually ending in eddie Carbone’s death. With the presence of ‘There is also a telephone booth. This is not used until the last scenes so it may be covered or left in view’, it shows isolation from the set of the home and can represent the isolation of the Carbone family from the rest of the community. The fact that it is not used until the last scenes, suggests that some event will take place that results in someone from the family making a call to the outside world. The fact that Miller has ‘Ramps, representing the street’, signifies the Italian community as a whole, and again showing the family connection to the rest of the community who live around them.  Miller explores how the flaw in the protagonist affects all around him. In this case, the protagonist is Eddie Carbone and it is his family and community that suffers as a result. In the play, the family roles become confused, as no character correctly fulfills their roles. We are shown how there is great potential for tragedy and the common man, “I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were”, Miller explores how it is not just kings and kingdoms that can be affected by tragedy, there is potential for domestic tragedy within the family home.

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Following Alfieri’s narration, we are introduced to the Carbone family. Eddie arrives home and is greeted with ‘Hi, Eddie!’ from his niece Catherine. At this point, we as the audience assume they are friends, especially after Catherine’s acknowledgement causes Eddie to be ‘pleased and therefore shy about it’. Later we learn they are family members, ‘Oh, if your mother was alive to see you now!’, Eddie adopts a parental role here, heightening the potential for trouble within this family unit, with roles appearing perverted and distorted. Eddie is presented as having a higher status in the family than Catherine, ...

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