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Analyse the dramatic importance of the end of Act One of “A View from the Bridge” (from the bottom of page 35: As the lights go out on Alfieri, they rise in the apartment…, to the end of Act One.) The play ‘A View from the Bridge’, is set in the late 1940’s in New York. The play is about longshoreman on the docks in Brooklyn and -immigrants- Italian Americans; who wanted the American dream. The American dream was to be wealthy, to live in luxury and to have better lives.
At that time in Europe a war had started in 1945. The main characters in the play are the Carbone family; they are catholic and have an ‘Italian family code’-trust, honour, love, belief, protection, respect. This play was written by the playwright Arthur Miller; he wrote it in 1955. Miller wrote the play because he was a longshoreman for a while. What inspired him to write the play was a story he heard while working on the docks.
In this essay I will be analysing Act One of the play ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Arthur Miller. Miller’s use of stage directions and characterisation; are important techniques in the development of tension, suspense and curiosity in Act One. The end of Act One is so dramatically important; for the characters’ feelings and relationships between each other have changed. Feelings have changed: Eddie dislikes Rodolfo.
Catherine and Rodolfo are in a relationship and are getting really close. Marco threatens Eddie through actions not words. Catherine rebels against Eddie’s wishes. Beatrice is concerned about Catherine’s relationship with Eddie (her “uncle”). Towards the end of Act One tension is building and the climax happens; Eddie is no longer in control of the situation. The audience can sense that tension; and when the climax happens the audience are filled with suspense and are curious about what will happen next, to Eddie and/or the other characters.
One of the other characters in the play is Alfieri and he is a lawyer. Although Alfieri is a character in the play you find out he is narrating it. From Alfieri’s speech, we can tell something tragic is about to happen. The language used in his speech suggests something terrible, awful, unpleasant and shocking, “I could have finished the story there and then.” You can tell that Alfieri knows what is going to happen, “I could see every step coming, step after step, like a dark figure walking down a hall towards a certain door.” The use of ‘Dark Figure’ suggests something ‘ungodly’. Alfieri’s speech gradually builds tension; the audience are curious to find out what is going to happen in the rest of the play.
Marco and Rodolfo left Italy to earn money for their family, because at that time there was famine in Italy. So they decided to immigrate to America where they now work on the docks. Soon after Alfieri’s speech; in the apartment, Marco tells everyone about how he and Rodolfo sailed to Africa, on a fishing boat. Eddie feels jealous of Marco and Rodolfo and this causes his anger. With sarcasm Eddie says, “They pay all right on them boats?” This suggests that Eddie is trying to remain calm. Catherine complains about travelling to other places, “They went to Africa once. On fishing boat… and I was never even in Staten island.”
From this you can tell that Catherine envies Marco and Rodolfo, because they have travelled to many countries. When Rodolfo tries to join in the conversation, Eddie ignores him deliberately. Rodolfo says, “Once we went to Yugoslavia.” Eddie says (to Marco), “They pay alright on them boats?” This shows Eddie’s jealousy, from him trying to change the subject. Eddie also says, “They pay alright on them boats”, because he wants to embarrass them- he thinks he earns a lot more than them and is trying to compare the amount of money that he makes with the amount of money they make. When Eddie talks about oranges and lemons he seems annoyed that Rodolfo said something to him.
Eddie says (to Marco), “I heard that they paint the oranges to make them look orange… yeah I heard they grow like green.” Rodolfo says, “Lemons are green.” Eddie says, “I know lemons are green, for Christ’s sake…” from this you can tell he is irritated when Rodolfo comments on something he is talking about. At this point in the play; Eddie dislikes Rodolfo. The audience feel the tension in the atmosphere as Eddie has a slight outburst.
Beatrice is Eddie’s wife and with Eddie they raised Catherine. After Eddie’s outburst Beatrice tries to diffuse the tension in the atmosphere. Beatrice talks to Marco, about his family back home in Italy. Beatrice says (sitting; diverting their attention), “your wife is gettin’ the money all right, Marco?” From this you can see how tension is released, by Beatrice starting a conversation about Marco’s family. As they are talking you can tell Marco feels lonely and misses his family in Italy. Beatrice says, “That’s wonderful. You feel better, heh?” Marco says, “Oh yes! But I’m lonesome.” The stage directions show us he doesn’t always talk about his family; Marco says, “Oh, no, she saves. I send everything. My wife is very lonesome.” (He smiles shyly)
From the way he is shy you can tell he doesn’t often talk about his family. While the conversation is still going on, Eddie shows no respect towards Marco and is being insensitive towards him. Saying, “I betcha there’s plenty of surprises sometimes when those guys get back, heh?” From this you can see how disrespectful Eddie is being; and how Marco must be feeling towards his comment. At this point in the play, the audience are on the edge of their seats as the atmosphere is filled with suspense; because the audience don’t know how Marco will react to Eddie.