Themes, Motifs and Symbols

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Themes, Motifs and Symbols

Arthur Miller was called to testify in front of the House Un-American

Activities Committee to name names of communist sympathizers in 1956,

the height of the McCarthy Era. Miller refused to do so and was

heralded by the arts community for his strength of conviction and

loyalty. In 1957, Miller was charged with contempt, a ruling later

reversed by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Miller, like Eddie Carbone, was

faced with the problem of choosing to be American or not, specifically

by naming names of people who were doing (what were considered then)

unlawful acts. Miller's own struggle with this issue is very present

in A View from the Bridge. Unlike Eddie Carbone, Miller chose to be

loyal to his fellow artists, but like Carbone, Miller went against the

cultural consensus at the time. Miller, in the play, has reversed the

scene—rather than the mass culture supporting the extrication of

possible communists, Miller chose to script a community that accepted

and protected unlawful people. The consequences and eventual

repercussions of naming names, for Eddie Carbone, are drastic. Miller

used this play to strongly condemn the McCarthy trials and those who

named the names of innocent artists.

Eddie looses control of his actions in the play. Driven and possessed

by incestuous love for his niece, Eddie resorts to desperate measures

to protect his identity and name in the community. Alfieri's

commentary often remarks on this theme. Alfieri seems constantly

amazed by Eddie's actions and his own reactions to the events of the

play. Alfieri sees his own irrational thinking, just as he recognizes

Eddie's irrational behav...

... middle of paper ...

...int as one looking from the

bridge. After some time passes, he is able to process the events and

see the greater societal and moral implications it has for the

community as a whole.

Italy

The origin of the majority of the people in the Red Hook community,

Italy represents homeland, origin and culture. What the country means

to characters greatly varies. Catherine associates Italy with mystery,

romance and beauty. Rodolpho, on the other hand, is actually from

Italy, and thinks it is a place with little opportunity that he would

like to escape from. All of the characters, as much as love the

benefit of living in the U.S., still strongly hold to Italian

traditions and identify it as home. Italy is the basis of the cultural

traditions in Red Hook and unites the community in common social

practices and religion.
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