Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge

Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge

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Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge
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I have chosen pages 40-42 from the part where Eddie says "You never
seen a fight, did you?" to Marco, in the centre of page 40. This is a
fight scene, in which Eddie "teaches" Rodolfo how to box. He begins by
making fun of Rodolfo's attempt. This then leads to the two lightly
boxing, until Eddie hits Rodolfo hard, so he staggers. At this point
the fight is stopped and Marco uses some intimidation tactics to
frighten Eddie off, away from Rodolfo. Marco does this because he
knows that he is the stronger of the two so if Eddie challenges him to
a fight he will win. He also does this, in a secretive way, to warn
Eddie that if he hurts a member of his family, for instance Rodolfo,
he will have to go through him first. This in a way tells us about his
background because of the strong bond with in a family. This is like
the end of the play, where Marco, protecting Rodolfo's honour and
life, fights with Eddie, to begin with not meaning to, but when Eddie
plunged at him, he had no choice, so killed him in self-defence. This
in itself tells us that he is Italian because of the gangs that he
talks about, earlier on in the play, and the strong bond between him,
his family and Rodolfo.

In this scene the characters have different emotions and feelings
going through their minds.

Eddie, at this point of the play has had enough of Rodolfo's

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femininity. This could be because he is jealous of his range of
talents, such as cooking and singing. At the moment before he comes in
the family has had a little argument. Eddie in a sly way, with out
revealing anything mysterious to the family has come up with a plan to
get back at Rodolfo. He does this by bringing up boxing. He finds this
relates well to the upcoming boxing match not to far away, in a couple
of weeks. But, this could be seen as undeliberate by some viewers
because of the situation, so could just be a coincidence. Up to now in
the play we, as the audience, have begun to realise that Eddie has
secret feelings for Catherine. These feelings for her have helped the
hatred for Rodolfo rise; this is because she has started to date him.
So this hatred is ruled by jealousy.

Beatrice is slightly aware of Eddie's feelings for Catherine although
in this scene she suppresses this. Beatrice during most of the play
loves Eddie dearly, and at the beginning of this scene portrays this
by encouraging Rodolfo to fight with him because she believes that all
Eddie wants to do is teach him, and she knows that he is very good. In
the quotation, by Beatrice; " Go ahead, Rodolfo. He's a good boxer, he
could teach you." But she is actually worried about the two of them
fighting because she knows that Eddie dislikes Rodolfo, and she does
not want either of them to get hurt. Because of` this she is ready to
intervene at any time that is required. Which she does at the point
when she says "That's enough, Eddie; he did pretty good though." while
pulling Eddie down into the rocker.

Rodolfo wary of Eddie and cautious of him as he understands that he
dislikes him. He therefor is not very enthusiastic to fight him, even
though in the end he glumly agrees because he is encouraged to do so
by Beatrice.

Marco is not worried by anyone in terms of looking after himself. But,
when it comes to the conflict between Rodolfo and Eddie he is worried
about Rodolfo's welfare. He will also, if need be use his strength to
protect him, his family and his own honour and well being.

Catherine at this point is the centre of the conflict. This is because
the hatred for Rodolfo began when Eddie noticed him looking at her in
a loving way (flirting with her), and he did not like this because he
had feelings for her too. Catherine has had enough of Eddie's attitude
towards her and Rodolfo. She has noticed that she has feelings for
Rodolfo, we know this because earlier on in the play, on page
twenty-seven, she admits that she likes him, but is still unsure
whether she wants to marry him at that point. These feelings towards
Rodolfo, once noticed by Eddie made things worse because it seems that
he wanted her to like him instead of Rodolfo. So, this means that
Catherine is very cautious of Eddie's behaviour towards Rodolfo, so
when anything bad happens or begins to happen she is immediately
worried.

The play originally was set in the 1940's but I have changed this to
modern day. Also in the original the family were poor. But, I have not
made this an issue because in this scene the poverty of the area does
not effect what I am trying to portray. This is because; it is easier
to portray the modern day with a "better off" family and apartment.
This is because poorer people today would not be able to afford modern
accessories, due to high price ranges. So, to show that it is modern
day I will use a modern apartment in New York and modern clothing for
the actors. The accents of the main family, Catherine, Beatrice, and
Eddie will be New York- American, while Marco and Rodolfo Italian-
American. The set and costumes have been drawn on separate sheets of
paper with descriptions of what they are showing and how they are
useful and effective.

This scene is dramatically effective because it contains conflict,
contrast, emotion, surprises and a little humour and tension.

The conflict is the initial trouble between Rodolfo and Eddie, mixed
with embarrassment that helps to produce the anger during the boxing
match/fight between them. The fight itself began, as a lesson but,
towards the end we can tell along with, it seems the actors that it
became more serious. This I find dramatically effective because any
sign of a fight will immediately catch your eye, so you become
interested. This I hope will be the same reaction the audience will
have with this fight scene. Also in this scene there are conflicting
emotions between Eddie and Rodolfo and the tension expressed between
the two will hopefully be found gripping by the audience.

The contrast involves all the characters at one main section of this
scene. This is during the middle of the fight when Catherine returns
to the kitchen, while just before this, the other characters are
laughing. When Catherine returns she is shocked, angry, afraid and
upset because of what she is witnessing. These are all portrayed in
her line "what are they doing?"

Even though this scene is very short, (two pages long) there are many
emotions. These include anger, (between Eddie and Rodolfo) shock,
(mainly by Catherine during the end and after the fight) fright, (this
is only in a small dose as Eddie challenges Rodolfo) smugness, while
Eddie is developing his plan at the beginning of the scene and
Embarrassment. This occurs in about three places, the first when
Rodolfo has to admit that he doesn't know how to fight. The second
when he staggers after Eddie has hit him hard and lastly at the end
when Marco proves to the smug and pleased Eddie that he is weak. This
is because he can't lift the heavy chair above his head like Marco.
There is also worry that is projected towards Rodolfo after he has
staggered during the fight.

The only humour is at the part that they find Rodolfo's triumph and
pleasure in doing well and being congratulated, amusing. At this point
the whole group laugh. This occurs at the beginning of number seven,
with the stage directions as follows "(Rodolfo jabs at him, laughing.
The others join)"

The surprises in this scene are mainly the fight itself but specific
parts of it are more so. For instance when Eddie hits Rodolfo hard it
surprises the characters so will most likely surprise the audience as
well. Also some audience members might be shocked at the way Eddie
tricked the whole family into believing that he was only going to
teach Rodolfo and not actually fight him.

There is also tension. This occurs while Eddie is persuading Rodolfo
to let him teach him how to fight. It also happens at the end of the
scene between Marco and Eddie. You (as the audience) can see that
their facial expressions towards each other, for instance the smug
grin and worried look, that there is tension growing between them.

To help the actors portray their characters, I have written some
director's notes. I have numbered different areas in the scene, which
link to the next sheet, which describes what I want the actors to be
doing.

1 Eddie: You never seen a fight did you?

Marco: (uneasy) Only in the moving pictures.

2 Eddie: (goes to Rodolfo) I'll treat yiz. What do you say, Danish?
You wanna come along? I'll buy the tickets.

Rodolfo: Sure, I like to go.

3 Catherine: (going to Eddie; nervously happy now) I'll make some
coffee, all right?

Eddie: Go ahead, make some! Make it nice and strong. (Mystified, she
smiles and exits to the kitchen. He is weirdly elated, rubbing his
fists with his palms. He strides to Marco) You wait, Marco, you see
some real fights here. You ever do any boxing?

Marco: No, I never.

4. Eddie (to Rodolfo) Betcha you have done some, heh?

Rodolfo: No

Eddie: Well, come on, I'll teach you.

Beatrice: What's he got to learn that for?

5 Eddie: Ya can't tell, one of these days somebody's liable to step on
his foot or sump'm. Come on Rodolfo, I show you a couple a passes (He
stands below table).

Beatrice Go ahead, Rodolfo. He's a good boxer, he could teach you.

Rodolfo: (embarrassed) Well I don't know how to - (he moves down to
Eddie)

6 Eddie: Just put your hands up. Like this, see? That's right. That's
very good, keep your left up, because you lead with the left, see,
like this. (He gently moves his left into Rodolfo's face) See? Now
what you gotta do is you gotta block me, so when I come in like that
you - (Rodolfo parries his left) Hey that's very god! (Rodolfo laughs)
All right now come into me. Come on.

Rodolfo I don't want to hit you, Eddie

7 Eddie: Don't pity me, come on. Throw it, I'll show you how to block
it. (Rodolfo jabs at him, laughing. The others join) 'At's it. Come on
again. For the jaw right here. (Rodolfo jabs with more assurance.)
Very good!

Beatrice (to Marco) He's very good!

Eddie crosses directly upstage of Rodolfo

Eddie Sure, he's great! Come on, kid, put sump'm behind it, you can't
hurt me. (Rodolfo, more seriously jabs at Eddie's jaw and grazes it.)
Attaboy.

Catherine comes from the kitchen, watches.

Now I'm gonna hit you, so block me, see?

8 Catherine: (with beginning alarm) What are they doin?

They are lightly boxing now.

Beatrice (she senses only the comradeship in it now) He's teachin'
him; he's very good!

Eddie Sure, he's terrific! Look at him go (Rodolfo lands a blow.)
"At's it! Now, watch out, here I come, Danish! (He feints with his
left hand and lands with his right. It mildly staggers Rodolfo. Marco
rises).

9 Catherine: (rushing to Rodolfo) Eddie!

Eddie: Why? I didn't hurt him. Did I hurt you, kid? (He rubs the back
of his hand across his mouth)

Rodolfo No, no, he didn't hurt me. (To Eddie with a certain gleam and
a smile) I was only surprised.

Beatrice (pulling Eddie down into the rocker) That's enough, Eddie; he
did pretty good though.

10 Eddie: Yeah. (Rubbing his fists together) He could be very good,
Marco. I'll teach him again.

Marco nods at him dubiously.

Rodolfo Dance, Catherine. Come (He takes her hand' they go to
phonograph and start it. It plays 'Paper Doll').

Rodolfo takes her in his arms. They dance, Eddie in thought sits in
his chair, and Marco takes a char, places it in front of Eddie and
looks down at it. Beatrice and Eddie watch him.

11 Marco: Can you lift this chair?

Eddie What do you mean?

Marco From here (He gets on one knee with one hand behind his back,
and grasps the bottom of one of the chair legs but does not raise it).

Eddie Sure, why not? (He comes to the chair, keels, grasps the leg,
raises the chair one inch, but it leans ver to the floor.) Gee that's
hard, I never knew that. (He tries again, and again fails) It's on an
angle, that why, heh?

12. Marco Here. (He kneels, grasps and with strain slowly raises the
chair higher and higher, getting to his feet now. Rodolfo and
Catherine have stopped dancing as Marco raises the chair over his
head.)

13. Marco is face to face with Eddie, a strained tension, gripping his
eyes and jaw, his neck stiff, the chair raised like a weapon over
Eddie's head - and he transforms what might appear like a glare of
warning into a smile of triumph and Eddie's grin vanishes as he
absorbs his look.

1. Eddie, you begin your line with a smirky and questioning look. To
help with this you can imagine that you have just come up with a plan
to get back at Rodolfo. (Think of it as someone you dislike.) I want
you to do this because it seems appropriate to the situation and your
character. Marco, when you reply you need to look at him as if you are
looking for answers - to the unusual question, in his face. This is
because you are uneasy about the question and the way he asked it.

2. Eddie walk up to Rodolfo saying to point of "What do you say," then
with an enthusiastic grin, pause and say "Danish" along with a nudge.
This is because you are calling him a name, and because you dislike
him you grin meanly. Then Rodolfo reply as if you are proving to Eddie
that his intimidation is not working, but afterwards you do give a
slight uneasy grin. This is because he has worried you because he
isn't usually nice.

3. Catherine is pleased that Eddie is trying to be nice to Rodolfo but
is unsure why. So on this line you are happy and at the end smile. But
as you turn towards the kitchen door you frown as you begin to think,
why? Eddie you say your first part of the paragraph while looking at
Rodolfo who is sitting uneasily in his chair, and follow the original,
stage directions. Then you say the next sentences while boxing the air
little. While he is doing this, all the other characters need to look
at him strangely, this is because you find what he is doing weird.
Apart from Beatrice. You need to look at him admiringly, this shows
that you still love and support him. Eddie, you, while continuing to
box the air, look at the others, their stares make you embarrassed and
you begin to feel ridiculous, so you stop. This is to show that you
are good and know what you are doing and also you ask a question end
with rising intonation. Marco you then answer naturally "No, I never"
with no inquisitive nature.

4. Eddie, you begin "Betcha" with a nod towards Rodolfo and end "heh"
with a nudge because you cannot believe that he would not have been in
any fights. You are having a bit of fun with him because he looks and
acts feminine so you are mocking him. Rodolfo, you then answer him
with a little embarrassment, but some shock as if you are saying, "No,
why would I get in a fight". This is because you aren't very strong
and masculine, you prefer to sing and cook. This is going against the
natural, social, attitude of a man. Making it seem that he is no man,
but a woman, because his hobbies are not thought of as masculine, from
where Eddie comes from. So this makes Eddie feel unsure about fighting
him, because, he is very feminine. This originates from the families
Italian, poor background, where in that kind of society women are not
equal to men. Instead they do not do hard labour jobs, they cook and
sing for the amusement and comfort of their husbands and male
relatives. Like in the line on page 33 when he is speaking to Alfieri,
saying "… He sings, see. Which is - I mean it's all right, but
sometimes he hits a note, see. I turn around. I mean - high. You know
what I mean?" From this you can tell that Eddie is unsure about
Rodolfo, and does not like his feminine side. So all of this relates
to how Eddie feels about Rodolfo singing and cooking. Eddie you then
say with encouragement your line while jumping around and boxing the
air. This is because you are trying to get back at him and embarrass
him. Beatrice you then cut in and with a small amount of alarm say
your line. This is because you don't understand why he must learn, as
it is much better not to fight.

5. Eddie, on "sump'm" snigger a little and make a joke about this is
because it is a silly example. On "Come on Rodolfo" you beckon him
with your hand; this is because Rodolfo still hasn't stood up. Then on
a "couple of passes" bounce on the balls of your feet and box the air
again. Beatrice you now change your mind about not fighting, so
encourage Rodolfo. This is because you know that Eddie is good at
boxing. Rodolfo while you reply, rub the back of your neck with your
hand and look away, this because you are embarrassed.

6. Eddie, take his hands and while saying the line put them into a
boxing position, and smile mockingly then bring your hands away and
show him some moves while saying the end of your line. Rodolfo say the
line, while looking worried and shaking your head.

7. Eddie, say the first two sentences and try and look triumphant as
if nothing he does will actually hurt you. Then push at him and at the
part where you say "for the jaw right here" point to your jaw and
grin. Once he has jabbed at you reply with a grin and a laugh.
Beatrice you then look at Marco. Grin and nod with your response.
Eddie you goad at Rodolfo with your next line "you can't hurt me".
Rodolfo put on a serious face and seem angry with Eddie for making a
joke about you. Eddie, you rub your chin with a fist give a little
laugh and say the line encouragingly. Catherine come in through the
kitchen door, make your eyes wide and be shocked as you have just seen
the fight in progress. Eddie say up to the first comma of the line,
with a growing anger and frown, then on "see?" nod.

8. Catherine, say the line with beginning alarm, almost shouting and
bring your hands up to your face, worriedly. (All of the facial
expressions and tone of voice will emphasise what she is feeling and
how worried and how shocked she actually is about the fight, and the
health of Rodolfo.) Eddie and Rodolfo you are lightly boxing so jab at
each other, sometimes blocking, sometimes not, sometimes harder than
others, for instance knocking their head back further. Beatrice say
your line while smiling and looking at Marco, then just before "he's
very good" begin looking up at the two fighting proudly. Then on that
line, turn to the worried Catherine and put your hand on her shoulder
to comfort her. Eddie you begin to breathe more quickly with a slight
laugh and smile and say "look at him go!" with a sarcastic tone. Say
"now, watch out, here I come," warningly. Just after that you feint
with your left hand and on "Danish" land with your right. Rodolfo you
stagger backwards and rub your head where Eddie hit you, because it
hurts. Marco, you stand up quickly with a large warning frown at
Eddie.

9. Catherine rush to Rodolfo, remove his hand from his head and check
it with a frightened, worried look. Then look at the slightly grinning
and out breath Eddie, and with a scowl and angry voice say the line.
(All of the facial expressions and tone of voice will increase the
anger she is projecting towards Eddie.) Eddie you say the fist half of
the line as a bit of a joke, with a small chuckle at the end. Then say
the rest the rest of the line sounding apologetic, (while you are
actually being sarcastic). Rodolfo you then say your line while
looking at Eddie and beam as if you are challenging him. Then while
looking at Catherine say the last section. Beatrice you then take
Eddie's arm and talk quietly into his ear so as not to embarrass him.
You do this up to "Eddie;" then the last part normally so that every
one can hear.

10.Eddie say "yeah" while rubbing your fists, say the second part
towards Marco then the last to Rodolfo who is trying to get Catherine
to let him be, but do this while still talking to Marco. Marco you
then move a chair the centre of the room. Beatrice and Eddie you are
distracted by his movement from your only just started cups of coffee,
lift your heads and watch while Rodolfo and Catherine dance in the
background.

11.Marco you then ask your question, with a superior and challenging
tone. Eddie you then reply to Marco, while both of you place your
coffee cups onto the table. Marco you begin to get down onto one knee
look at him and say the line; "From here."

Eddie you then reply as if he were joking - "sure" then give a little
snigger (this- a snigger, will emphasise Eddie's smugness.) and say
the next part of the line up to "I never knew that." You then take a
break, and try to lift it and while breathing out put it down and say
the ending. (Marco you are throughout his attempts smiling in the
background).

12.Marco you then "strut" and walk triumphantly towards the chair, get
down, grasp it say "here" then take a deep breath and lift (while
straining and breathing in and out). Every one then stops what they
are doing; Catherine and Eddie stop dancing, and stare admiringly and
shockingly at Marco, frozen in the same position.

13.You then follow the original stage directions.

I have added some visual help for my costume and set designs, to add
to this explanation. The apartment itself is modern, with two
bedrooms, a main, living room, come dinning room a kitchen and
bathroom. But, as the scene only contains the living room, and a view
into the kitchen, these are the only two rooms on set, along with the
door to the apartment. During the whole scene the kitchen door is left
open, so you do see some of it. This means that there is a backboard,
screen with kitchen decorating on it. This means that there is nothing
three-dimensional in the kitchen. But this acts as an opening to bring
cups of coffee into the living room via backstage. The living room it
self, from the audiences left to right, has a large, 3 seated, modern
sofa, a large pot in the background with thin branches and large, but
thin twigs in it. Then moving round you come to the entrance of the
flat, which remains closed during the whole scene, so is just painted
on. There is also a wall lamp in-between this door and the kitchen,
this to remains on throughout the scene. Then, more on central stage,
there are three table chairs, a table, and a one seated lounge chair.
Lastly, behind this last chair, in the background, is a large, very
modern standing lamp.

There were to begin with many different ideas for costumes, but I have
narrowed this down to one costume design each. Catherine's costume is
all tight clothing, showing off her womanly body. She is wearing a
long-sleeved top, covering her neck also. This shows that it must be
cool in New York, to wear that type of top. She is also wearing tight,
long hipster jeans, and a belt. These show off her smooth skin and
flat tummy, which therefor attract Rodolfo more.

Beatrice however is wearing loose clothing. Including, a long skirt,
clinging at the hips, a loose, low cut, long sleeved top, and a
necklace. These feminine clothes could be seen as something to attract
Eddie, whom she loves, especially the low cut top. This showing that
she still loves him and is trying to keep his interest. This shows
that her confidence in his love for her might be dropping, so that she
has to try harder to please him. This is shown in the scene on page
twenty four, at the point (mainly) when Beatrice says; "When am I
gonna be a wife again, Eddie?" in which the two have a row about there
marriage and sex life, also Beatrice says "you don't like me, heh?"
This explains why she is trying to impress because she doesn't believe
that he likes her anymore.

Marco and Eddie in this scene are wearing similar things. Including a
baggy, stained top, showing their hard days work, and old, dirty,
baggy trousers, so as not to get any nice ones ruined. But, they are
still modern, men's casual clothes, but they have just been worn
quickly. Rodolfo, in this scene is wearing, modern baggy jeans, with a
purpose tear, a chain, a long, tight top, with a covering baggy
t-shirt. These looks making him look like, in modern terms, a
"skater".

I chose this scene because it is a vital step, in the steps towards
his final fate. This is because he is trying to be nice to Rodolfo,
but when he beckons him to fight, things become worse. As, the fight
continues, it becomes more serious. Then at the point when Eddie hits
Rodolfo hard, Marco feels that it is his duty to protect him, because
he is feminine and not very strong. So this leads to Marco proving to
Eddie that he is the stronger and that if Rodolfo does not want to
fight him, he will and he will win. He does this, by proving that he
can lift a heavy lounge chair. I also chose this scene because of the
range of emotions it makes the scene more interesting, and this alone
will catch the audiences attention.
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