Miller creates tension in Act 1 of A View from the Bridge using several techniques. A View from the Bridge is set in Red Hook, in Brooklyn, which was a poverty-stricken slum. Also, Eddie Carbone is a longshoreman, and longshoremen were not well paid. The fact that poverty in this area is so large creates tension and from the beginning of the play we feel this tension. Alfieri is the first character we are introduced to in this play. Alfieri’s speech at the very beginning of the play sets the scene and actually foreshadows what happens in the play. ‘There were many here who were justly shot by unjust men.
This quote is an example of how foreshadowing occurs in his speech. This foreshadows that someone is going to be killed and we can tell this even though we don’t know it yet. The effect of this foreshadowing is the creation of tension and as we see the play unfold, we begin to realise what Alfieri said in his opening speech is actually true. Perhaps the biggest creators of tension are the characters and the relationships between them. It was obvious from the moment the brothers walked into the house that Eddie and Rodolpho were not going to get on well.
Minutes after the brothers arrive and have settled in, conversation gets quite awkward, especially when Eddie tries to divert conversations. For example, as soon as Rodolpho and Catherine start talking, Eddie demands for the coffee. All throughout Act 1, Eddie describes Rodolpho as being “not right” because he is not as masculine as Eddie would like him to be. This is the excuse he uses but the audience have their suspicions that in fact, Eddie is jealous of Rodolpho and that he is actually in love with Catherine.
We get this idea when Beatrice says to Eddie, “You’re just jealous. ” The effect of this creates tension all throughout Act 1. Following on from this, Catherine is the next character to fall out with Eddie. Eddie is not actually Catherine’s father but he is the only father figure in her life. She respects him hugely. However, as soon as Rodolpho turns up, all of her attention soon turns to him as opposed to Eddie and Eddie begins to get quite angry. At this point, all the other characters slowly begin to fall out with him.
Beatrice falls out with him over Catherine and Rodolpho’s relationship and the fact that Eddie is not treating Beatrice as a proper wife. Then, at the end of Act 1, we can see the tension between Marco and Eddie during the chair lifting competition. This competition becomes a symbol of power and masculinity and Eddie does not like being defeated. The gradual progression of all the characters falling out with Eddie creates lots of tension as it leads us into Act 2 knowing that Eddie is not a liked man.
In conclusion, the use of foreshadowing at the beginning of the play is a creator of tension because it reveals the bad things that are going to happen in this play. Then, the main creator of tension is the gradual dislike of Eddie by all of the characters. The effect of this happening all of the way through Act 1 is that to the audience, it seems as though Eddie is always falling out with people, all throughout Act 1. This leaves the audience knowing that nobody particularly likes Eddie and with a suspicion that something will happen to him in Act 2.