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A View from the Bridge by Miller

Powerful Essays
Miller’s A View from the Bridge, originally written in 1956 as a one act play, has many features of a classic Greek tragedy. It is set in the Italian-American neighbourhood, situated in Red Hook, near Brooklyn Bridge in New York. It is in this community Miller chooses to dramatise themes of conflict, betrayal, love and obsession. The underlying omerta is present throughout the play and is the reason for the conflict as it is defied by Eddie Carbone, the Italian longshoreman, who destroys himself in a clash between his blind passions and primeval ideas of his own people about right living.

In Eddie, Miller creates the classic Italian-American ‘family man’ who strives to be head of the household and goes about with a sense of pride and familial duty. Eddie feels it is his duty to look after his family and keep to his word as he says, ‘Katie I promised your mother on her deathbed. I'm responsible for you’. It is evident that family is very important and he has very strong family values to which he endeavours to keep, a sign of the Italian family where the man feels it is his duty to keep his word and look after the entire family, as he is the head of the household. This accentuates the concept of masculinity which is further enforced by Eddie’s old fashioned views, his inability to understand the younger generation and also the conflict of interest of duty to family between Eddie and Rodolfo. Eddie, the ‘respectable family man’ feels no honour for Rodolfo who buys, with his first money, ‘a snappy new jacket …, records [whilst] his brother’s kids are starvin’ with tuberculosis.’ He feels that as Rodolfo has none of his own family, he should help his brother who is also a family man. This underscores the fact that in Eddie’s mind, ...

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... from out chosen image of what or who we are in this world’ (Miller).

Miller’s choice of an Italian-American community is a very good one. It allows him to successfully convey the concept of masculinity in its true environment where there is an underlying code of society which is broken by the tragic protagonist and their masculinity, which comes into question resulting in the individual struggling to gain his ‘rightful status’ and overcome his flaws, causing disruption to society which is only fixed by the death of this person. It is very similar to that of a Greek tragedy with the chorus, Alfieri, providing a firm link both in terms of being the chorus and the origin of his name, an eighteenth century writer of tragedies. He is essential to elevate the play, from a mediocre tragedy contributed to by masculinity, to the same level as any other classical tragedy.
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