A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller is a dramatically tense
tragedy that presents the story of the downfall of an ordinary man.
The play examines the tragic consequences of Eddie Carbone's inability
to understand himself and his actions. This predominantly takes the
form of his prejudice towards his cousin and his inappropriate
attraction to his niece. It is set in the 1950s and was written while
Miller had become interested in the lives and work of Brooklyn's
dockworkers and longshoremen.
Miller uses the character of Eddie to express his viewpoint that the
tragedy of the ruined life of an ordinary workingman is just as
significant a subject for tragedy as that of any ancient king, God or
"Caesar from Syracuse or Calabria". He presents Eddie as an equally
valid antihero. Antiheroes, or Tragic heroes, are as Aristotle wrote
neither wholly good nor wholly evil but a mixture of both. Eddie is
not an evil man, but he acts selfishly, inappropriately and
recklessly. Antiheros, unlike heroes, have fatal flaws. These enable a
contemporary audience to empathise and identify with his fatally
flawed relationships and disastrous choices. Being able to relate to
Eddie will let the audience feel the dramatic tension of the
situations he is placed in.
According to Aristotle a traditional tragic hero is a person who finds
himself in a situation where he seems deprived of all outward help and
is forced to rely entirely on himself. A View from the Bridge is
recognisable as a tragedy because Eddie is a tragic hero even though
he is a stereotypical 1950s ordinary American. He is tragic because he
refuses to take the help and advice offered by his lawyer, Alf...
... middle of paper ...
...f instead of trying to gain control of the
other characters, he would have perhaps succeeded rather than causing
By the end of the play, Eddie cannot see any view from the bridges of
Brooklyn; he only has eyes for Catherine. Unfortunately, Catherine,
like Rodolpho, sees all number of possibilities and dreams that lie
ahead of her. Although bridges connect things, they are also a symbol
of the way things are divided. Catherine needs to move across these
bridges, but Eddie dies fighting to hold onto her.
Eddies story is a tragedy because it is about how he handles his
hubristic character, the result of his disastrous choices and his
drastic change in fortune. It takes the audience on a roller coaster
of dramatic tension, ending up with his unfortunate and unnecessary
death, leaving the audience in mourning for such a tragic hero.
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