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Arthur Miller clearly uses different aspects of his play “A view from
the bridge” to create dramatic tension. His central character Eddie is
the person around who has a great deal of conflict revolving around
him. He creates a lot of tensions and each scene of conflict becomes
stronger than one before.
He lives with his wife and her niece Catherine. Eddie is very
protective of Catherine and wants her to get a good education. He also
seems to be in love with Catherine but refuses to face this fact at
any stage in the play even when Beatrice, his wife, points it out to
We also witness Eddie’s verbal conflict with all the characters at
some point throughout the play. Other aspect is how the other
characters feel concerned about him. There is a scene of unease as we
see how Catherine and Beatrice are unsure about how he will react when
he is told about Catherine’s job. As we understand Catherine is deeply
influenced by Eddie and does everything he wants and Beatrice warns
her not to act like a child in front of Eddie.
The introduction of two foreign characters from Italy( Marco and
Rodolpho) to this working class environment of New York creates a
good deal of the conflict and tension in the play.
Rodolpho is not married, good looking, lively and able to gain
interest easily, in fact Catherine seems to have been immediately
attracted to him. He dreams of being rich and returning to Italy with
a monocycle. So Catherine falls in love with him and as soon as they
begin to date Eddie gets very annoyed, as he is very possessive. He
objects to the relationships between Catherine and Rodolpho because he
is secretly but very jealous.
Tension increases in Act One as Catherine boasts to Eddie that
Rodolpho has been to Africa. Eddie and Marco describe their travels on
fishing boats and Beatrice asks why they have to go out on boats to
fish so Marco tells her that the only fish she will catch from the
beach are sardines. Audience see that Catherine and Beatrice
contemplate about the thought of sardines in the ocean. Catherine
thinks the idea of sardines in the ocean is as strange as oranges on a
tree. Eddie agrees with Catherine and makes weird announcement saying
that he heard about painting oranges to make them look orange because
they grew green on the tree. It sounds understandable for us that
Rodolpho disagrees with Eddie's thoughts about the oranges and
Beatrice feeling some kind of conflict coming up quickly diverts it by
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Marco responds that his children are well, but he is getting lonesome.
Eddie intentionally arguments as he questions the honesty of the wives
of Italian immigrants, " I betcha there's plenty of surprises
sometimes when those guys get back there heh?" His jokes are taunting
and bitter. Eddie jokingly suggests that there might be a few extra
children when Marco returns to Italy, but Marco convinces him that he
can trust his wife.
Tension continues when Rodolpho tells Eddie that it is stricter in
their town and the people are not so free. Rodolpho's remark winds up
Eddie, who rises and paces about the room. Eddie informs Rodolpho that
the women might be freer in America, but they are not less strict.
Eddie is obviously angry because he thinks Rodolpho is taking
advantage of Catherine and is offended that Eddie did not ask
permission to take Catherine out on a date. The audience is also aware
of the tension Eddie feels as he deals with his love for Catherine
now. Marco immediately tells Rodolfo to come home early, but Eddie is
not satisfied. Eddie wants Rodolpho to work and not be out so much.
Masking his real jealousy, Eddie tells Rodolpho that the police will
catch him if he is out too much on the streets.
Pressure increases as Catherine asks Rodolpho to dance and he
hesitantly joins her. While dancing, Catherine asks how the men eat on
the boats and Rodolpho's reveals his cooking skills . As we see Eddie,
amazed by this new information, tells Beatrice that the waterfront is
no place for Rodolpho and Rodolpho turns off the stereo straight away
and listens to Eddie. He has risen from his seat already. Eddie’s mood
changes rapidly which adds interest to the episode. He stands tearing
a newspaper into half. This is like animated part of the play.
The audience follow the tense journey down to Eddie, as he cheerfully
asks Rodolfo if he would like to learn how to do some boxing. Rodolpho
unenthusiastically agrees and the men begin to lightly box. We are
aware of the tension through the reactions of other characters.
Beatrice sees only friendly competition. Catherine is concerned about
Rodolpho's safety, but Eddie encourages Rodolpho, and he tells Rodolfo
he is doing well. After reassurance from Catherine and Beatrice, Eddie
and Rodolpho stop boxing.
This scene is in much greater detail than the previous parts of the
play. There are a number of ways that the writer underlines the
tensions between persons in different situations. He does this by
going in to detail about the stage directions. He really describes
what is going on while they are saying important parts. He also really
emphasises what they say so that things become more and more tense
until the high point when there is an explosion of emotion.
Marco sees Eddie's action as aggressive so he moves toward Eddie and
challenges him to a chair lifting competition. Eddie attempts to lift
the chair, but is unsuccessful. Marco slowly raises the chair above
his head and the audience is aware of the tension between them. As
Eddie realises that Marco is warning him.
Arthur Miller creates a lot of tension between all of the characters,
this has made the audience wonder again what will happen in the end.
Much of the tension in this play cuts off from Eddie’s passionate
disagreement to the marriage between Rodolpho and Catherine. He
doesn’t like the fact that his feelings are one way only, because
Catherine loves Rodolpho. Tension is built up by the inability of
characters to communicate. And author sumps up these feelings when he
says “we all love somebody, the wife, the kids-every mans got somebody
they love, heh? But sometimes …there’s too much…and it goes where it