Settling for Half in Arthur Miller's Play a View From the Bridge

Settling for Half in Arthur Miller's Play a View From the Bridge

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Settling for Half in Arthur Miller's Play a View From the Bridge


In this essay I will look at the idea of settling for half. In the
play, A View From The Bridge, the idea of settling for half is used
many times. This idea makes the play more tragic especially when a
certain character doesn't settle for half. To understand what settling
for half is we will have to establish what it means. Settling for half
is a sort of compromise. Most people would rather settle half than get
into trouble like the character Eddie Carbone should have done so
therefore people see settling for half as a good thing. But it isn't
always a good thing sometimes you may not get the result you would
want to get from settling for half. That is why in the play Eddie
Carbone didn't want to settle for half because otherwise he would lose
Catherine, whom he wanted to keep.

In this play there are many characters and the roles that the
characters play are similar to nearly every tragedy. One such
character is Alfieri who even though he plays two roles he is one of
the most significant characters. I say this because he plays one part
as a lawyer and another as a narrator/commentator. In his
commentator/narrator role Alfieri is Miller's mouthpiece so anything
that Miller wants to get across he can do by using Alfieri. Also he is
used to prepare us for any upcoming events. In his lawyer role he acts
as a good advice character to the tragic character, which in this play
is a person, called Eddie Carbone. Eddie Carbone is the tragic
character because he doesn't settle for half and as a result he ends
up getting killed at the end.

In the quotation above Alfieri says "…And now we are quite civilized,
quite American …". He says this because the Americans have a law,
which is written down on paper so it is a fixed law that can only be
changed by the government. At the beginning of the play Alfieri says

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that he no longer has to keep a pistol in his filing cabinet this is
because the law makes him fell safer and so he knows that he doesn't
need a gun to keep him safe. But in this case the Sicilians will have
to settle for half because it will be against the American law to take
care of a serious situation by themselves, which is what they would
do. Then because of this there is a culture clash.

The first time settling for half is brought up in the play is by the
character Alfieri in his opening speech. This has been said because in
this situation he is talking about the Sicilian law. The Sicilian law
being that things are taken into their own hands rather than the
government doing something about it, this is why the two men that
Alfieri walks past give him an uneasy nod because he associated with
the law/government. And the law is associated with bad things
happening and is not a friendly idea. Also most if not all the
Sicilian laws aren't written down so if it is broken it is dealt with
the way the person feels fit, since they take the law into their own
hands. But because the Sicilians/Italians are in America they can't go
to the extent that they could back at home in Sicily/Italy, but just
because they are in America it doesn't mean that the Sicilian law
doesn't apply because it still does in the ghettos of America as is
seen in the play at various stages. Because the Sicilians have their
own law they don't settle for half they go to the full extent of
trying to sort things out.

Near the beginning of the play on page 13 Eddie is talking about Vinny
Bolzano and how he was a snitch and he starts talking about him not
wanting a snitch in the household about his cousins, Marco and
Rodolpho. He becomes a snitch at the end when he tells the immigration
bureau about his cousins, it is ironic and this makes the play even
more tragic.

When Catherine starts to like Rodolpho, Eddie doesn't want to settle
for half because the thought of Rodolpho being Catherine's husband
doesn't please him at all. Because of that reason Eddie talks to
Catherine about Rodolpho and keeps giving her reasons not to go with
him. Eddie is giving her all those reasons because he cannot settle
for half and he wants Catherine to himself. Also because Eddie wants
Catherine so much he tries to make up any excuse he can just get to
her. Then at a later stage on about page 32 Eddie goes to Alfieri to
ask for help because he still can't settle for half so he trying to
see if he can get rid of Rodolpho by any means possible.

Even though Eddie has tried many things to try and get rid of Rodolpho
there is a short scene at the end of act one when Eddie sort of
teaches Rodolpho how to box, but this is really to show that Eddie is
superior to Rodolpho, this could possibly scare Rodolpho. Eddie is
even more annoyed because Rodolpho has just come into his house and
taken Catherine away from him, but yet Eddie has brought Catherine up
from when she was a little girl.

Another area where Eddie cannot bear settling for half is at the
beginning of act two on page 47 Eddie is trying to show how woman/girl
like Rodolpho really is because even a man of Eddie's position would
want to kiss him. The reason why Eddie is finding it hard to settle
for half is because he loves Catherine too much. He loves her as much
as he does because he has brought her up since she was a child so he
has become attached to her as Alfieri says on pages 34-35.

On page 50 Eddie informs the immigration bureau because he isn't going
to settle for half so he thinks that the only way out is to get rid of
him for good. In this situation Eddie has obeyed the American law
instead of the Sicilian law.

On page 62 Eddie's love for Catherine is brought out into the open so
you might think that he is going to give up but he sees it, as he has
got nothing to lose.

Near the end of the play Miller has established that Eddie has lost
everything so Eddie thinks that there isn't much point in settling for
half because Catherine and Rodolfo are off to get married so Eddie has
lost Catherine. That is why he keeps urging Marco on to have a fight
with him because Eddie knows that he going to lose the fight.

To enhance the tragedy Eddie is the main tragic protagonist. Eddie's
actions have brought this upon himself that is why he is still holding
the knife in his hand once he has been stabbed. If Eddie had settled
for half then he would still be alive and because he didn't the tragic
consequence of it was that he ended up dying.

In Alfieri's last speech in the play he says that something about
Eddie was perversely pure. The thing about Eddie that was perversely
pure was his love for Catherine. It perverse because Catherine was
Eddie's niece but his love for her was totally pure, and because Eddie
knew that he couldn't have her he thought that there was no point in
living so that was why he had that fight with Marco.
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