A View From the Bridge - Arthur Miller

A View From the Bridge - Arthur Miller

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A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE

We have been studying 'A view from the Bridge' which has been written
by Arthur Miller. This is the story of Eddie Carbone who is an Italian
American who lives with his wife Beatrice and niece Catherine,

When Beatrice's cousins Marco and Rodolpho, seek refuge as illegal
immigrants from Sicily, Eddie agrees to give them shelter. Catherine
falls in love with Rodolpho, which creates trouble. Eddie's jealousy
culminates in an unforgivable crime against his family and the Italian
community.

In this scene I will analyse how Eddie tries to complain to Marco
about Rodolpho going out and coming home late at night with Catherine.
Eddie is jealous and he thinks that Rodolpho is trying to make a move
on his beloved niece Catherine.

While Beatrice was trying to stand up for Catherine, Eddie tries to
make a point to Marco about not letting Rodolpho to go out a lot,
especially with Catherine.

While Eddie is reading his paper, Catherine gets up, puts the record
on the phonograph and asks Rodolpho to dance. As Catherine, asks
Rodolpho to dance, Eddie freezes and with respect towards Eddie
Rodolpho does not accept the dance. Beatrice persuades Rodolpho to go
a head. Rodolpho rises stiffely, feeling Eddie's eyes on his back and
they dance. Marco then tells everyone that, that Rodolpho can cook.
Eddie gets surprised. Then Eddie asks Marco and Rodolpho if they want
to go and see a real fight. Catherine goes to make coffee. Eddie then
insists Rodolpho to learn a boxing move from him. But then Eddie
crosses the limit by punching Rodolpho on the face. Marco gets up and
Catherine rushes in to see what had happen. Marco gets angry and then
performs the chair lifting towards Eddie.

We learn a lot about the characters in this scene. In this scene they
show a lot of tension. We learn a lot about Immigrants, how they have
to stay out of sight, the difference between legal and illegal
immigrants, we also learn about Eddie's jealousy, Catherine and
Rodolpho's relationship, Beatrice's support and Marco's chair lifting
scene.

Eddie shows us that he is a family man about when he is always
supporting the family by earning the money, selfish about Catherine
and Rodolpho's relationship as if he wanted to be the only man in
Catherine's life and over protective for Catherine. Catherine is a
kind, young and modern girl of her generation. Beatrice is a kind,
caring and supportive person towards Catherine and Eddie, Marco is a
family man, sensible and determined to earn a living in America and to
earn money for his family back in Sicily and as for Rodolpho, he is

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care free, romantic towards Catherine, young and an ambitious person
to live in America with Catherine. This is as he is too good to be
true. Also with everyone living in a small apartment and with all of
them being very different from each other there will be a lot of
tension in the household and especially with the illegal immigrants
staying there.

At the end of the boxing scene Marco shows us the chair lifting
situation when Eddie has crossed the limit. So this is where the
tension starts between Marco and Eddie. They used to get along with
each other until this point. Marco makes this point by lifting the
chair because Marco is a family man and he has the right to protect
his brother Rodolpho. Eddie performs his little act with Rodolpho
because he wants to release all of his frustration, anger and
disappointment because he is to obsessed with Catherine's and
Rodolpho's relationship.

The story has been based in the mid 50s or 60s in New York city, where
Eddie and his family live. They live in a neighbour hood which is
tough, poor and very rough (including that it is dangerous too.) The
director has shown the scene brilliantly. The set on stage is very
cramped to reflect that tension between the characters can grow. This
would then show feelings of claustrophobia. The set is so cramped and
small, it is as if everyone is living in top of each other. Every one
is also feeling the tension because of the two illegal immigrants. In
fact, if anyone has an illegal immigrant living in their home, they
would feel scared and tense.

They have to be careful about when the immigrants are on the street.
There is also no guaranteed job situation. There is a massive
difference between legal and illegal immigrants. If you are a citizen,
then it will be easier for you to be qualified for a well paid job.
But for illegal citizens then you are left with the worst jobs
available such as working at the docks and unpacking loads. Rodolpho
spends his time going out with Catherine, which is dangerous. This
creates tension between Eddie and Rodolpho even more. Eddie wants
Rodolpho to be more like Marco. Eddie doesn't want Rodolpho to spend
all the money he receives all on himself. Rodolpho is a new kind of
man who he is not familiar with. It is as if he is homosexual. "he can
make dresses, cook and sing!" Rodolpho has different talents to Eddie.
He thinks that America is ' the land of opportunity, anyone can be
successful on America and money is the key to success'.

That is the reason for Rodolpho and Marco to come to America. Marco
came to America to earn good money for his family who are living back
in Sicily but Rodolpho is earning and spending money on himself. He
has bought himself a phonograph, records good clothes and on going
out. The reason is that Rodolpho has no family to save his money for
and that he wants to enjoy his life in America. But as for Marco, he
has family back in Sicily who he has to send it too. This is because
they don't have any proper jobs, as America as known as the land of
opportunity and success; Marco thought that it would be easier to make
money in America than Sicily. Marco and Rodolpho will feel work
related stress. This is because there is no guarantee in getting a
good job if you are an illegal immigrant. There would also be problems
with language and communication between them and the legal immigrants.

Rodolpho buying things for himself represents to Eddie that Rodolpho
does not really care if he gets caught or not. It is as if he is a
carefree person which upsets Eddie and probably this is the reason why
Eddie does not want Catherine to go out with Rodolpho. Marco and
Rodolpho have a dream to live in America as citizens with good jobs
and with their family besides them. But what they are really supposed
to be careful about is the community, which surrounds them.

The philosophy of the community is that it is a tough area and that it
can be quite dangerous too. No one informs the authority about illegal
immigrants. Earlier in the book as Eddie tells Catherine about their
neighbour. That tells us that whoever informs the authority would be
publicly humiliated. He told Catherine that a neighbour of Beatrice's
had told people in the neighbourhood about an illegal immigrant who
was living in his home, his father and brothers had abused and kicked
him out of their home. So this tells us that according to their
community illegal immigrants must be protected from the custom people
and to never inform authority about illegal immigrants. It is the
authority against the people on the street. Those who do inform the
authority will suffer bad consequences such as rejection from their
family and public humiliation.

Eddie makes this point very strongly and he would also suffer from
this point towards the end of the book.

There are three major scenes, which I really think had an influence
what would happen in the end. The three major scenes that I have
chosen are firstly Catherine dancing with Rodolpho, secondly the
boxing scene and finally Marco lifting the chair. After Eddie has a
talk with Marco about Rodolpho not being careful in the open,
Catherine is revolted and then reckons that she can make Eddie upset
by asking Rodolpho to dance with her and by playing Rodolpho's new
phonograph, she approaches Rodolpho in a way by letting Eddie know
that she likes Rodolpho and there is nothing that could stop them from
being together. So when she asks Rodolpho to dance, Eddie freezes. It
is like he is shocked with Catherine's action. Rodolpho responses to
Catherine in a non familiar way by answering " no, I'm tired ", to
Catherine because he has respect for Eddie and if he does anything to
make Eddie angry he will feel bad about himself and he is also scared
because he can feel Eddie's eyes on him. Beatrice, who is always
supportive towards Catherine, persuades Rodolpho to dance. " Go ahead
dance Rodolpho ". Her voice sounds very encouraging because she wants
Catherine to take charge of her on life and she is supporting
Catherine for that reason. Rodolpho dances with Catherine
uncomfortably because he can feel eddie watching him, Catherine is
holding him very tightly and Rodolpho is holding Catherine stiffly.
While Catherine and Rodolpho dance, we would see Eddie is sitting
still watching Catherine and Rodolpho dance with Marco and Beatrice.
Beatrice, who tries to distract Eddie from watching Catherine and
Rodolpho dancing, turns to Eddie and talks to him. "Must be nice to go
all over in one of them fishing' boats. I would like that my self, see
all of them countries?" She is trying to give Eddie an idea that she
and him can do that together one day but Eddie says "yeah" in a bit if
a sarcastic way. Beatrice would now be suspicious of whether Eddie is
more interested about Catherine and Rodolpho's relationship and his
feelings towards them or whether he is just tired from a hard days
work.

After all the pressure and stress kept inside Eddie while he watches
Rodolpho dancing with Catherine, he releases all of his tension by
tearing a rolled up newspaper in half. This shows how angry he is
about Rodolpho dancing with his beloved niece. After ripping the
newspaper in half, suddenly an idea appears in his mind, he gets up
and asks Marco and Rodolpho " you ever do any Boxing?" The audience
would then have an idea of what he is up to or what he is going to do.
Eddie would have a happy voice but with a slight hint of a cunning
voice in it. This will show us that he has a plan to warn Rodolpho
not to interfere with Eddie's relationship with Catherine otherwise
Rodolpho would suffer from Eddie's anger. Eddie's facial expression
would be polite but his voice would give the audience a clue that he
is going to do something. Catherine then tells everyone " I'll make
some coffee, alright?" this tells the audience that she is not going
to be around when Eddie plays his little game on Rodolpho. Eddie then
tells Roolpho "I'll teach you" to box. Rodolpho refuses this. Beatrice
supports Eddie and encourages Rodolpho to box. When Eddie is teaching
Rodolpho, he punches Rodolpho on the face by pretending that he was
trying to teach him a move. The audience would be shocked by Eddie's
action. This would have a great impact on the audience. All the characters
are also shocked with this action. Eddie pretends that he did it by a
mistake but in fact he was happy.

Rodolpho now knows what Eddie's game is and he tells everyone " no,
no, he didn't hurt me " he said the sentence with a certain gleam and
a smile. This would show the audience if Eddie wants to play tough
then Rodolpho will also play tough. Rodolpho makes his first move by
asking Catherine to dance " dance ". He says this in a more confident
way as if he knows what he is doing. These movements would give a
dramatic effort on the audience.

In support towards his brother, Marco takes a chair, places it in
front of Eddie and looks down at it while the audience watch. This has
also captured Beatrice's and Eddie's attention. Marco asks Eddie in a
sly way, " Can you lift this chair?" The audience must be thinking,
why has Marco asked Eddie to lift a chair? Eddie, who is confused,
asks Marco, "What do you mean." Marco demonstrates what he means. As
the audience watch, Marco gets on his knees with one hand behind his
back, he grasps the bottom of one of the chair legs but does not lift
it. The audience will now think that this is the test of strength.
Eddie looks at Marco in a relaxed way, thinking that Marco is just
playing.

So Eddie then gets on his knees, grabs the chairs leg, raises the
chair one inch but it leans over on to the floor. Eddie then tells
Marco, "Gee, that's hard, I never knew that ". Eddie would then use a
happy face with a bit of embarrassment. Eddie tries to cover it u by
saying, "it's on an angle, that's why, heh?" Some of the audience
would then get an idea about what Marco is up to. Marco then gets into
position, grasps the chair leg and lifts the chair above his head.

The audience will know what Marco is trying to tell Eddie. He is
telling Eddie not to play games with his younger brother Rodolpho and
not to over step his place other wise Eddie will have to deal with
Marco. The audience would be in a shocked status, while Marco is face
to face with Eddie. We can see Marco's face as tense and angry while
looking at the chair above his head as if the chair is like a weapon
being ready to be used at Eddie.

Marco's tense face then changes into a cunning smile. Eddie's smile
has now disappeared while he stares at Marco. As that is happening,
the red curtain is drawn. The audience will now be thinking how Eddie
and Marco use to get along and now Marco is standing up for his
brother and he is warning Eddie not to mess with Family.

In this essay, firstly we have summarised what we have learnt about
each of the characters in the boxing scene. We have summarised the
problems illegal immigrants would face in America, that they are not
guaranteed of a well paid job, they will face problems with language,
the threat of being deported and the community Eddie's neighbourhood
about not reporting illegal immigrants to the officers.

Secondly, we looked at why Marco and Rodolpho are in America, what
they are doing with their money and on what Eddie thinks of their
different attitudes.

Finally, we describe how the actors have used their voice, facial
expression and movements to help the audience to understand the
characters.

The most important thing we have learnt about the characters is that
they all are in a lot of tension by firstly, living with two illegal
immigrants, secondly, they live in a small, cramped apartment with
small furniture, with all the washing hanging all over the place and
everyone bumping into each other and finally, about Rodolpho, who is
one of the illegal immigrants, had started going out with Catherine
with stresses Eddie that Rodolpho is just after a green card.

The playwright wants the audience to think that something is going to
go terribly wrong at the end of the play. The audience will get a clue
at the end of act one when Marco performs the chair-lifting scene. The
playwright also wants the audience to remain entertained so that is
the reason why he made Marco performs the chair-lifting scene with
Eddie. This would help to shape what will happen in the end. Which is
when Eddie informs the authority and Marco is disgusted with him and
spits on Eddie's face.
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