What is the significance of Rodolpho in A View from the Bridge?
Rodolpho is a tool used by Miller used to symbolise various aspects and stereotypes of 1950s America. Miller uses Rodolpho in particular to address certain issues surrounding topics such as McCarthyism, which Rodolpho is seen to be a victim of throughout the play, masculinity, which Rodolpho does not fulfill the stereotype of, and the delusion of the American Dream, which for the most part, Rodolpho is an avid follower of. Miller uses this as a social commentator to get his message across to the audience.
Rodolpho strikes the audience as quite different to the other characters in the play, as soon as he is introduced and his various traits are revealed progressively to create a sense of shock. For example, first, through his appearance, we learn that he is ‘light’. Then, through Catherine's remarks, the audience learns that he is ‘practically blond’ and when he begins to sing we learn that he is a ‘high tenor’. As these characteristics are revealed, Rodolpho becomes more and more of a foil of the ‘husky, overweight’ Eddie and the ‘regular slave’ Marco. However, throughout the play, we learn that Rodolpho, although being perceived as ‘ain't right’ by Eddie, is in fact the character who achieve the most romantic and sexual success. Marco and Eddie, being stereotypically masculine characters, are seen as having less successful relationships, whereas the relationship between Rodolpho and Catherine is very intimate, as seen when Rodolpho says he is not hungry ‘for anything to eat’, although he is thought by Eddie to be homeosexual. In this way, Rodolpho breaks masculine stereotypes, and this would have been especially prominent in a society such as 1950s America. Miller showcases Rodolpho in this way to suggest that society needs to advance as times are changing, and not all men should need to conform to such a shallow stereotype.