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In class, recently we have been reading: "A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller. We have been exploring his magnificent techniques in being able to show the immense tensions between a family and his excellent ways of using this to grab the audience.
After reading "A View From a Bridge", I found it amazing how Miller shows how tense Eddie's world is and how he surrounds the family with this cramped world, creating such immense tension. In my opinion I think that the setting and time is perfect to match the situations and to build up on the dramatic atmosphere.
The book was set after World War II, when many immigrants were coming over to find jobs for money to send back home or for money to build a life in the new country. Mass immigration had already started by then as after the war Italians wanted to broaden their career options and so make as best of a living as they could. The wide range of careers and cooperation's of which the Italians could dominate brought great interest and attracted Italians to move. All Italians had great ambitions for them: to become business owners and managers and to having the options in the USA helped.
The play is set in New York, in the Red Hook neighbourhood in the borough of Brooklyn. Red Hook is a regular Italian community, full of Italian immigrants needing work. Most of which originated from Sicily therefore carrying their code of silence, Omerta', which secrecy is sworn to by oath; this Omerta', of sworn secrecy causes havoc through out the play. Miller's idea of situating the Carbones' flat in the borough of Red Hook raised the tension as, as well as their own tension their whole community surrounding then had bubbling tension and troubles. The Carbone Flat was absolutely tiny; "homely; "clear"; "sparse"; completely claustrophobic, with this everyone was on top of everyone and tensions were getting mixed and rising over the bar. With the house being so claustrophobic there was little privacy space for any of them. The set of the play is merely a skeleton of it. What the play contains is of more importance.
The Carbone family consists of Eddie (the husband and uncle), Catherine (niece of Eddie and Beatrice) and Beatrice (Wife and Auntie). Act one starts with Alfieri (Eddie's lawyer) giving a quick once over on the setting and about how immigration affect people around Eddie.
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At the start of Act 1 we see the tension between Eddie and Catherine: "I think it's too short, ain't it"; "No! Not when I stand up": Eddie obviously can't bear to see Catherine growing up so fast; he's thinks of her as his little girl which I'm sure all parents do: "Listen, you been giving me the willies the way you walk down the street, I mean it": Miller has shown that Eddie is getting jealous of guys looking at his niece because he has had her by his side since she was young and now he might soon have to see his girl standing next to another man.
At this time the tensions are at a high, and then Miller decides to add more by Beatrice talking about Marco and Rodolfo getting into the country. Eddie is obviously getting worried as, when they arrive the word can get around and someone could tell Immigration. Miller has got tensions between Beatrice and Eddie bubbling because of this now, as they both has very strong opinions about it. With Marco and Rodolfo arriving we can clearly see that the tensions are going to blow soon after.
Eddie is very worried about the neighbour hood and how it's full of crime and obscene behaviour. He's scared that if Catherine gets a job she'll be endangered by the neighbourhood and forget about the dangers and risks that it contains and the type of people that are situated inside and outside the neighbourhood. : "I know that neighbour hood B., I don't like it", "listen nothin' happened to her in this neighbour hood it ain't gonna happen no place else". I feel that Miller is trying to deliberately raise the tensions to start an argument: "she is angering", Eddie, "insulted". After everything had cooled down another day had passed.
But yet again a simple conversation had overturned into heavy arguments about Beatrice's cousins staying and how Eddie thinks the neighbour hood is going to get suspicious: "I don't care who sees them goin' in and out as long as you don't see them goin' in and out". Eddie is giving them a lecture about what to do with Marco and Rodolfo but his attitude makes the tension between the characters rise: "This is the United States Government you're playin' with now, this is the immigration Bureau. If you said it you knew it, if you didn't say it you didn't know it": This really shows the tension and worry that Eddie is going through at the moment and he is making sure that they know the risks of what is going to happen. I feel that this shows how caring but still worried Eddie really is. Eddie has his name's reputation to hold up and he doesn't want anything to go wrong with this as his reputation would go downhill.
Soon after that the tension of Omerta joins in: "oh it was terrible: he had five brothers and the old father and they grabbed him in the kitchen ..his own father and his brothers. The whole neighbourhood was cryin'": Miller has really shown how the tension of Omerta is affecting everyone; I think that Miller is putting across the consequences of what could happen if the Omerta of sworn secrecy was broken. This puts terrible stress on everyone to be careful in what they say and do from now on and to make sure they don't tell a soul.
There are millions of tiny tensions adding to the pile already as well as Eddie and Beatrice's (intimacy) problems). When Marco and Rodolfo arrive they give everyone warm welcomes and are extremely polite: "I want to tell you now Eddie- when you say go, we will go". As the scene goes on Rodolfo becomes more at home and begins to tell everyone what he can do. With this I can see that Catherine is getting more and more interested: "(enthralled) let him finish, it's beautiful! He's terrific! It's terrific, Rodolfo!"
Everyone has there own view on Rodolfo, both negative and positive. Eddie had a negative view on Rodolfo; he hasn't liked him since the minute he stepped through the door. All the hatred of the relationship built by Miller, between Eddie and Rodolfo, causes a large mass of tension to arise: "What's the matter with you? He's a nice kid, what do you want from him?", "That's a nice kid? He gives me the heeby-jeebies". In my opinion I think that Miller creates this mini scene between Beatrice and Eddie to engage us fully through Tension, made by a relationship that hasn't bonded.
In Act 1 we can see that Beatrice's and Eddies' relationship has been on the rocks. All through the scene so far we have been able to see that Eddie hasn't been treating Beatrice as the wife in which Beatrice wishes: " When am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?"...................... "It's alright B.; just lay off me will ya? I'm worried about her". Miller creates a conversation between Beatrice and Eddie building it up level by level with tension. In my opinion relationships are the biggest contentions to emotions; emotion is the course of tension.
At the end of Act 1 the tension reaches it peak. "He has been unconsciously twisting the newspaper into a tight roll", we can see by this the tension in which is contained by Eddie. Eddie is getting told everything Rodolfo is good at and he is full of anger as he's good at all but not good at hardworking things. He's more of a ladies man than hardworking then, in my opinion I think Eddie is just full of rage that someone could possibly give her so much love and take her away with himself giving her years of love and it not making a difference.
Eddie starts talking about boxing to Marco and Rodolfo, cleverly planning in his head what was going to happen next. He loses his lid and starts to push them over the bar and get a reaction so they could fight; the tension rises slowly as every small comment is made: "I don't want to play Eddie", "Don't pity me, come on, throw it". This shows how Rodolfo isn't quite sure about Eddies plans for the fight, but Rodolfo doesn't want to fight and is reluctant to punch Eddie. The tension is rising as Eddies emotions hit a peak as he's bursting with anger and wants to hit him. All the family start to get worried as the fight carries on and gets worse. Everyone cheers Rodolfo on including Eddie. Eddie lands Rodolfo a big blow and everyone sees the side of Eddie that has been hidden. Marcos emotions of what he has been reluctant to see burst.
Marco decides that there is only one option and that is to show Eddie who is boss around there and that if anything happens he'll have Marco to answer to: "Can you lift this chair", "what do you mean?", "from here", "sure why not?" Eddie thinks on himself as a bigger man than Marco and thinks that he can do anything. Miller creates immense tension as everyone is on the edge of their seats wanting to know what happens next, as I was when I reading this part. "It's on an angle, that's why, heh?": Eddie feels cheated and starts to realise that he might get put down from his stool of vain pride. Miller has the brilliant idea of Marco being able to lift the chair and that just rocks my boat of tension.
At this point in the story Miller uses another dramatic technique, which is character levels; the characters are all sitting down apart from Eddie and Marco, all the tension is placed on those two characters, from this we can clearly see what the argument is upon and clearly see the circumstances. Marco lifts the chair above Eddie as almost of a threat. We are left with a cliff hanger for the scene, and we are left on the side of our seats. With this I can that Miller has been successful in engaging us to the story through immense tension throughout the scene. Miller uses many of dramatic techniques very well and I can say that at the end of the scene I was fully engages and bursting with excitement for more.