Tension in Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge

Tension in Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge

Length: 3258 words (9.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Tension in Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge

The whole of this play involves symbolism, on many different levels.
The end scene, in which Eddie takes his own life with his own knife,
is symbolic of the self-destructive nature that led to such an ending.
As Arthur Miller wished to write 'a modern Greek tragedy´ it is likely
that the symbolism of the dagger is Eddie’s sexuality, which drove him
to his drastic actions and eventually death. During the confrontation
earlier in the play Marco raised a chair like a weapon, symbolic of
the fight yet to come. Rudolpho danced with Catherine when she had
previously been attending to Eddie, symbolic of him taking her from
Eddie’s life.

Therefore it seems natural to reason that Miller intended the title of
the play to have some significance other than the geography of the
location. The most obvious interpretation is of the audience sharing
with Alfieri an unbiased overview of the unfolding of events. It is
like being able to see from a bridge over a river, our vision
uncluttered by opinions as it would be by the side of the river, or
perhaps even as part of the river. The spray and swirling of currents
of a river could represent the uncertain nature of life that clouds
our perceptions and the flow of water the rush of emotions that carry
us from birth to death. Though, even Alfieri is not completely removed
from the happenings of the play, he takes an active part in the play
as well as providing the 'chorus´ character of the Greek format that
Miller used. He is part of the American culture, but also part of the
Italian culture, he also knew the family "I had represented his father
in an accident case some years before, and I was acquainted with the
family in a casual way." Perhaps this is why he is able to give a
balanced opinion and to counsel Eddie (though his advice is unheeded).
On the bridge we have time to form opinions, to judge other people, to
'settle for half´. It was his American audience that Miller addressed
through Alfieri:

"Most of the time now we settle for half and I like it better. But the
truth is holy, and even as I know how wrong he was and his death
useless, I tremble for, I confess that something perversely pure calls
to me from his memory--not purely good, but himself, purely, for he
allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love
him more than all my sensible clients."

This dilutes the feeling of superiority and detachment that we are

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Tension in Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge." 123HelpMe.com. 22 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=103938>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Tension in Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge

- Tension in Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge In “A View From the Bridge”, Arthur Miller explores a variety of themes in the relationships between the main characters in order to build tension for the audience. Firstly, through Eddie’s talk with Alfieri, we can see that he is jealous of Rodolfo’s relationship with Catherine, and his eventual loss of authority in his own house leads to anger and a desire to once again become the stereotypical alpha male. This creates tension because the audience knows that he will want his authority back, and as he gets more and more desperate, the audience may think that he would do anything to regain control over his house...   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1773 words (5.1 pages)

How Arthur Miller Creates Tension in A View From The Bridge Essay

- Show how Arthur Miller creates a tense atmosphere at the end of act one of ‘A View From The Bridge’ In the play ‘A View From The Bridge’ there are many ingredients that finish with the final dish at the end. Usually, when you know the ingredients to a dish, you could guess what it would taste like or look like. Basically, there are many pressure points in the play that lead to the final outcome, and that outcome is very obvious. The audience would not be surprised when they get to the end, many would see it coming from far....   [tags: Arthur Miller]

Free Essays
1174 words (3.4 pages)

The Importance of Dramatic Tension in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge

- The Importance of Dramatic Tension in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge Throughout A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller creates and sustains dramatic tension to keep the audience’s attention. He also uses dramatic tension to guide and provoke the audience’s thoughts and responses towards A View from the Bridge. He does this by using different techniques, for example, posing unanswered questions in the audience’s mind and using dramatic pauses. Arthur Miller also controls the amount of tension between the characters to create highs and lows in the plot on stage, but in fact could effectively raise the awareness of the audience of the underlying tension suppre...   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2933 words (8.4 pages)

Tension in Act 1 of A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller Essay

- Tension in Act 1 of A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller This play takes place in 'Red Hook', a dirty place dominated mostly by illegal immigrants from Italy. It is a poor, nefarious place where crime is rife and gangsters and the Mafia are well known. The play is about an Italian family, the Carbones and centres around Eddie Carbone in particular. He lives in a small apartment with his wife Beatrice and her niece Catherine who they both treat as a daughter. Tension in 'A view from the Bridge' is defined as the anticipation and suspense of the audience and the conflict between characters....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
2423 words (6.9 pages)

Arthur Miller's Creation of Tension and Conflict at the End of Each Act in A View from a Bridge

- Arthur Miller's Creation of Tension and Conflict at the End of Each Act in A View from a Bridge Arthur Miller creates a lot of tension towards the end of act 1 in a variety of different ways. Firstly and most obviously, he uses the dialogue of the characters to add tension to the play. For example when Rodolfo says 'Lemons are green', a very simple and seemingly meaningless comment, which would generally not provoke an outburst by anyone, however Eddie takes to this as Rodolfo is mocking him, and so Eddie lashes out with anger and frustration, feelings which have been bottling up inside of him throughout the introduction of Rodolfo earlier in Act 1, by shouting '...   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
1269 words (3.6 pages)

Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge Essay

- Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge Manliness, Hostility and Aggression are all important in "A view from the bridge" where Eddie Carbone plays the main character he is a longshoreman working on the Brooklyn docks in New York. He tries to keep his status as "the man" in his household. He is very hostile towards Rodolfo because he thinks he is a homosexual. Marco knows Eddie feels this way about Rodolfo and is unhappy that Eddie feels this way about a member of his family. This creates aggression from Marco throughout the play and results in various conflicts between himself and Eddie in which Marco demonstrates his masculinity over Eddie this makes Eddie feel threatened and insecure....   [tags: Arthur Miller View Bridge Essays]

Research Papers
1166 words (3.3 pages)

Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge Essay

- Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge Today hostility is viewed upon as wrong, when "A View From the Bridge" was written, hostility made up part of the day-to-day running of people in this era. Today women are treated as equals and any discrimination is taken incredibly seriously, in the time the play written, women had very few rights and were constantly stereotyped and abused. Manliness, hostility and aggression play an important role in the play, 'A View From the Bridge'. Each character has a different view on what it means to be manly and what manliness is....   [tags: Arthur Miller View Bridge Essays]

Research Papers
995 words (2.8 pages)

Eddie Carbone in A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller Essay

- Eddie Carbone in A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller The play “A view from the bridge” is set in Red hook area of New York, the play was written by a man called Arthur Miller he wrote this particular play in 1950 at the age of 35. His parents were immigrants in the United States of America, they had lived a wealthy life this all went wrong along with the American economy. Arthur Miller worked as a warehouse man, and in order to save his fees he went to Michigan University in 1934, to study economics and history....   [tags: A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller]

Research Papers
1051 words (3 pages)

Essay on Eddie Carbone in Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge

- In this essay I will discuss how the view’s of Eddie Carbone, the lead role in “A View From The Bridge”, changes among the audience. I plan to go through the script and note any important scenes which I will then analyse in the audience’s perspective. A View From The Bridge is a play written by Arthur Miller in 1955, which was originally arranged in rhymes but later was changed. Miller has written the play in conversational Brooklynese, for example, “nuttin’” and the spelling of many words end with apostrophes....   [tags: A View from the Bridge Arthur Miller]

Research Papers
2463 words (7 pages)

Essay Tension in Miller's A View from the Bridge

- Tension in Miller's A View from the Bridge 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....   [tags: Miller View From Bridge]

Free Essays
1936 words (5.5 pages)

permitted from the beginning of the play. The title 'A View from the
Bridge´ no longer seems to imply the safety of distance from events,
but the need to realise, and perhaps revise, our morals and opinions
in our judgment of others. What qualifies one set of values above
another?

Alternatively the bridge could be viewed as spanning the two cultures
- American and Sicilian. This could be viewed as positive, for example
it could be said that Catherine and Rudolpho´s love seems able to
overcome extreme cultural barriers. Even Eddie’s death could be seen
as the gradual disappearance of such obstacles, though presented
realistically, not in a fairy tale format as the audiences do feel
pity and sorrow at his death. On the other hand, the bridge could be
seen as the merging of these cultures, the stronger American one
dissolving the passions and identities of all its inhabitants. There
could be further symbolism here, the metaphorical bridge between
Catherine’s childhood and adulthood that can only be crossed once and
leads her further into the constraints and limitations of her
surroundings, is comparable to the way that the ardent naivety and
ferocious simplicity of the Italian culture of her origins is absorbed
into the impassionate American bureaucracy.

There are other journeys between extremes that could be the 'bridge´
of the play, e.g. Eddie’s transformation into a character like the
Vinnie Bolzano he described previously. Eddie’s unavoidable crossing
from a happy family circumstance into the situation that Alfieri
predicted "You won't have a friend in the world...Put it out of your
mind". As Eddie changes in character and his desperation increases his
view of the events unfolding is warped. He becomes obsessed with
Rudolpho´s sexuality and unsuitability for Catherine and repeatedly
refers to what he regards as proof of this, for example his 'blond
hair´, the laughter of his friends, and his singing. He truly believes
that Rudolpho is gay, and states it almost outright several times,
'that guy ain´t right´ and he’s 'so pretty you could kiss him´!

However, I personally feel that the most likely reason for Arthur
Miller’s naming of the play as "A View from the Bridge" is the obvious
metaphor of the audience’s perspective.

Second Part

“A View from the Bridge” is set just after the Second World War in the
1950s. However, it has its roots in the late 1940s when Arthur Miller
became interested in the work and lives of the communities of the
dockworkers and longshoremen of New York’s Brooklyn harbour, “the slum
that faces the bay on the seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge……… the
gullet of New York,” where Arthur Miller had himself previously
worked. In this play the main characters are Eddie Carbone, Catherine,
Beatrice Carbone, Marco, Rodolfo and Alfieri. In the play, Alfieri is
a lawyer and the narrator of the play and Eddie is the main character,
who was born in America. Beatrice is Eddie’s wife and Catherine is his
niece. Marco and Rodolfo are illegal immigrants from Italy; they are
Beatrice’s cousins. In the play Eddie is a longshoreman, Beatrice is
the housewife and Catherine goes to school and now she wants to work,
while Marco and Rodolfo want to immigrate and work in America to
escape from poverty. The area where Eddie lives and which has welcomed
the immigrants is known for its violence. “Oh, there were many here
who were justly shot by unjust men. Justice is very important here.”
Even Alfieri, the lawyer, was scared. He used to keep pistols in his
cabinets. However, the neighbourhood has become less violent than it
used to be in the past, as is revealed when Alfieri says, “I no longer
keep a pistol in my filing cabinet.”

In this play Eddie desires his niece Catherine. This is not natural;
an uncle should have his own love for a niece but not the love like
loving another girl romantically. Eddie can’t help the way he feels
about Catherine. He doesn’t want anyone to have her; he doesn’t even
let her go out. When Eddie welcomes Marco and Rodolfo with generosity,
he doesn’t think that Catherine will start falling in love with one of
Beatrice’s cousins. However, as the play progresses, Catherine starts
to fall in love with Rodolfo, and Eddie, the uncle, is jealous because
he assumes, or convinces himself that, Rodolfo’s love for Catherine is
counterfeit because he wants to be a legal citizen of America. Eddie
then goes to tell Alfieri, who gives him some wise advice. “We all
love somebody, the wife, the kids – every man’s got somebody that he
loves, heh? But sometimes...there’s too much. You know? There’s too
much, and it goes where it mustn’t.” When Eddie suspects that
Catherine has started to love Rodolfo he becomes really angry and
confused. Marco tries to protect his brother from Eddie because, in
the play, Eddie punches Rodolfo, so Marco then becomes irritated and
shows his protectiveness and sense of outrage by picking up the chair,
a symbolic gesture which conveys to Eddie that if he wants to fight
Marco’s brother, then he will have to fight Marco. “He transforms from
what might appear like a glare of warning into a smile of triumph, and
Eddie’s grin vanished as he absorbs his look.” This is a turning point
in the play where the balance of power dramatically shifts and Eddie
loses his authority in the Carbone household.

Beatrice endeavors to keep the peace between Eddie, Marco and Rodolfo,
but Beatrice does not succeed in maintaining the peace as her
husband’s forbidden desire for Catherine leads to Eddie’s death at the
end of the play. The characters’ opinions of each other change
dramatically throughout the play as at the start Beatrice thinks that
Eddie is in love with her and that he loves Catherine as a niece and
nothing else. However as the drama unfolds Beatrice conjectures that
Eddie does not like Catherine purely as a niece but also secretly as a
girlfriend; he has both emotional and physical feelings for her.
Beatrice indirectly tries to warn her niece about Eddie, and tells
her, “I told you fifty times already, you can’t act the way you act.
You still walk around in front of him in your slip. Or like you sit on
the edge of the bathtub talking to him when he’s shavin’ in his
underwear.” Also she tries to tactfully give her advice about how to
behave when she is around him. She says “If you act like a baby and he
be treatin’ you like a baby. Like when he comes home sometimes you
throw yourself at him like when you was twelve years old.” After this,
however, Eddie oversteps the mark and kisses Catherine passionately as
if she was his girlfriend.

The stage directions show the tension that all of the characters
experience, for example Eddie. He reveals his tension in the play by
“unconsciously twisting the newspaper into a tight roll”, “he has bent
the rolled the paper and it suddenly tears in two.” After that he
changes the subject and quickly talks about boxing. He doesn’t want to
feel this way about his niece, but he can’t help it, so most of the
time he changes the subject. Here he is angry and frustrated that
Rodolpho is trying to take Catherine away, so he changes the subject
to boxing. At this moment Eddie is jealous of Rodolpho and teaches him
basic boxing techniques, but Eddies jealousy goes over the top, and he
punches Rodolpho deliberately, but behaves as if was a accident.

In the play the characters struggle a lot, for example Eddie struggles
when Beatrice finds out that he loves Catherine not just as a niece
but also with desire. At this stage Eddie is struggling desperately,
as he wants to persuade Beatrice that his feelings for Catherine are
innocent and purely paternal. Eddie comes up with all kinds of
justifications but near the end when he sees his opportunity; Eddie
kisses Catherine emotionally when he is drunk. However, at the end,
Eddie still struggles, as he now struggles to persuade Beatrice,
Catherine and Rodolpho. He dodges telling them what they already know
in their hearts by going out to fight Marco to try to reclaim his
reputation. By fighting Marco and dying he doesn’t have to admit to
Beatrice, Catherine and Rodolpho that he loves Catherine emotionally
and not just as a niece. We can see that Eddie is struggling as when
any of the characters raise the topic of Catherine, as Alfieri and
Beatrice do, he stutters a lot and struggles to talk properly. For
Eddie the taboo is that he doesn’t want to admit to loving Catherine
emotionally, and as for Rodolpho he doesn’t want to talk about taking
Catherine back to his home country Italy. In the drama, the main
secret is the relationship connecting Eddie and Catherine. Eddie’s
main secret is that he loves Catherine emotionally and not just as a
niece and also that he is bisexual. This secret is revealed as he
kisses Catherine and then kisses Rodolpho immediately afterwards.

In the play Eddie breaks the community law and Marco breaks the
official national law. Eddie betrays the community law as in that
community one of the laws is not to tell the authorities about any
illegal immigrants in the neighbourhood. Eddie tells the authorities
about Marco and Rodolpho. Conversely Marco breaks the national law, as
one of the national laws is that it is a crime to kill anyone, and
Marco breaks this law by murdering Eddie at the end. I believe that
the community law is morally fair as I believe that in the community
you should not ‘squeal’ and tell the immigration bureau about
immigrants in the community, because if you were an illegal immigrant
you would not like to be betrayed and deported to your home country.
Here Arthur Miller increases our sense of resentment, when Eddie
betrays the brothers by evoking sympathy for Marco and Rodolpho,
especially Marco, by portraying them not a ‘scroungers’ but as
innocent victims of poverty and as likeable and admirable men. I think
here Miller is making a social and political point about the moral
injustice of the official law for example when Marco describes how his
wife and children ‘eat the sunshine’.

The official law and the community law clash a lot in the play, for
example you could be rupturing both of the laws together if you didn’t
know what they were. You could break both the official law and the
community law if you betrayed the immigrants. The community law and
the official law collide when Eddie tells the authorities about
Rodolpho and Marco, and Marco refuses to promise not to kill Eddie.
Alfieri tries to make Marco promise: “to promise not to kill is not
dishonourable”. However Marco doesn’t acquiesce and, as time moves on,
Marco tells Alfieri what he thinks of the official rules and declares
that he doesn’t understand this country and its rules: “He degraded my
brother. My blood. He robbed my children, he mocks my work, there is
no law for that? Where is the law for that? I don’t understand this
country.” The most important law to the characters in the play is the
community law, as the play is set in a neighbourhood of
American-Italians, who welcome immigrants from Italy. So, if anyone
betrays them or tells the authorities they are breaking the community
law, which is more important than the American law, both to the
characters and to me.

We know that the community law is the most important law because
before the immigrants come to America, Beatrice tells Catherine about
their next-door neighbour, a boy who grassed up his uncle. As a
cautionary tale, she tells Catherine what the boy’s family did to him
in revenge. “He had five brothers and an old father. And they grabbed
him in the kitchen and pulled him down the stairs- three flights his
head was bouncing like a coconut. And they spit on him in the street,
his own father and his brothers. The whole neighbourhood was cryin’.”
Eddie advises Catherine never to behave like the boy and warns her
never to tell the immigration office about her aunt’s cousins. “Remember,
kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a
word that you gave away.” In the play Eddie is breaks the community
law by his treacherous action to the two brothers from Italy, Marco
and Rodolfo. Marco killing him at the end of the play later punishes
Eddie. The clash between these laws causes the tension to increase as
now each of the characters has broken a law. Eddie breaks the
community law by being disloyal to the brothers and Marco has broken
the official law by killing Eddie in revenge.

In the play, most of the characters have set themselves aims so that
they can survive in America and so their families can survive in other
countries. For example, Marco’s dream was to find a job and send money
home to his wife in Italy, so that she could obtain medicine and food
for the children and herself, and so that they could feel secure that
he could support them. Conversely, Catherine’s intention was to find a
job and work, so that she could achieve her independence, and acquaint
herself with different kinds of people. On the other hand, Rodolfo’s
endeavour was to become an American citizen, so that he would have no
fear of being caught by the authorities. In the play we know that
these dreams don’t come true as most of them are destroyed. Marco’s
dream is destroyed when Eddie tells the immigration bureau about him
being an illegal immigrant. Marco is furious and knows who the culprit
was so he confronts Eddie and says that by telling the immigration
police, Eddie has killed his children as now he can’t send money back
to Italy for their medicine and food. “That one! He killed my
children! That one stole food from my children!” After this incident
Marco’s dreams are shattered. He is now frustrated by what Eddie has
done as now he is going to be deported to Italy and therefore can no
longer give money to his children and his wife. In the play Marco
seems a character in a no-win situation as now he has to go back to
Italy, while Rodolfo is allowed to stay in the U.S.A as after marrying
Catherine he can be a legal citizen of America.

The unsaid truth, about Eddie loving Catherine emotionally, gradually
comes out into the open when Eddie and Beatrice argue on Catherine’s
wedding day and Beatrice tells Eddie that he can’t have Catherine.
“(Crying out, weeping) the truth is not as bad as blood, Eddie tells
her goodbye forever!” If the scene had continued then we could’ve seen
what would have happened, but Marco comes and Eddie goes after him.

Eddie is responsible for the tension in the play as he becomes
over-protective of Catherine and starts to manipulate her and try to
ruin her life. I don’t think that the characters can help the way they
feel as in life you see and get to know people, which then leads you
to love them in the end. However, I think that when Eddie kisses
Catherine it is reprehensible. I think Catherine could have changed
what she did and how she did things. When she falls in love with
Rodolfo she should have followed her instincts and gone for whatever
she thought was suitable for her, as now she is old enough to do what
she wants and not let Eddie control her life. I believe that there is
justice at the end when Eddie dies, as now Beatrice can know the truth
that Eddie doesn’t love her and that he loves Catherine instead. Also
now Catherine can be free to control her own life and marry Rodolfo
without listening to Eddie and knowing that now Eddie is gone he won’t
try to hurt or victimize her or Rodolfo for loving and marrying each
other. I think that Eddie deserves to die as he has been rude,
uncooperative and mean to the rest of the characters in the play, and
that therefore by dying he has given them peace in their lives. I
think that Eddie was the only person responsible as he tried to ruin
Catherine’s life by telling the authorities and he also ruined other
characters’ lives, like the morally innocent Marco and Beatrice. This
leads to his death, which gives them more air to breathe. However,
overall I think that no one is to blame for Eddie’s death because it
is Eddie’s feelings for Catherine that lead to his tragic death, and
these feelings of desire are out of his control.
Return to 123HelpMe.com