Arthur Miller's play A View From The Bridge

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At the start of the Play, Alfieri is describing the set in his opening monologue. Throughout the play, he depicts many places outside of the immediate setting. The following quote is during the stage directions before Alfieri’s monologue: “The street and house front of a tenement building, the front is skeletal entirely” This skeletal buildings and tenement flats bring alive the lack of money within this tightly packed community. “A distant foghorn blows” This stage direction illustrates the closeness to the docks, and brings forth the outer world which revolves around the docks.

Creating a world not just within the play, but outside, everywhere. Part way through the play, Arthur Miller makes a point of drawing our attention using this stage direction: “A round dining table at centre, with chairs and a portable phonograph” Often in the Italian and French community, the table is in the middle of a room, because the Mediterranean’s live around the dining table, and always seem to be eating! This draws us back to the typical Mediterranean lifestyle from which this community originates with the table set in the middle of the room.

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Entertainment within the community is very basic:

“Eddie and Mike wait, pitching coins against a wall” This just shows how poor these people are, visiting the cinema is a great evening out! In Red Hook New York, each and every person has respect for one another. Within the American-Sicilian society, this includes many family relationships. This deference underpins the Sicilian family and wider community.

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If this respect is betrayed, serious consequences can result. Eddie: Tell her about Vinnie (To Catherine) You think I’m blowin’ steam here?… Beatrice: No, he was no more than fourteen, … But the family had an uncle that they were hidin’ in the house, and he snitched to the Immigration.

Catherine: The kid snitched? … Catherine: Ts! So what happened to him? Beatrice: I think he went away. (to Eddie) I never see him again… Vinnie was subsequently spat on in the street, which is the worst insult within this community. He was then forced to leave and was no longer a part of his community or family. The area of Red Hook in New York City has its own ‘community laws’, based on the illegal immigration racket. Throughout the play, Eddie Carbone is debating with Alfieri on the differences between government legislation and community laws. Alfieri: Well, they entered the country illegally.

Eddie: Oh, Jesus, I wouldn’t do nothin’ about that I mean – This quote implies that the only law that Eddie feels strongly about is the immigration law, which is the only Government law which penetrates into the minds of the American-Italian community. The community believes that it is an injustice to punish those who are simply economic migrants, all they want is a job. Every immigrant in the American-Italian society is housed until they acquire a passport or become a legal American citizen. This feeling of family and community creates a great sense of a world within the play, and how the Sicilian values are brought to America.

Another way in which Arthur Miller creates a world within the play is with the use of language. Alfieri is the sophisticated lawyer, who has a professional American accent, with no colloquial language. He uses, long intricate sentences. Alfieri: There are times when you want to spread an alarm, but nothing has happened. I knew, I knew then, and there – I could have finished that whole story that afternoon… This quote shows complex structured sentences, with clauses. He uses hyphens too in order to get his point across with a pause. This is all to reflect the seriousness of his role.

Eddie, on the other hand, is slightly more Italian-American. He has certain phrases that were not commonly used by the American community, for instance dock workers are referred to as submarines, and instead of you, or your he would say yiz. Also, Eddie often misses out words that he sees as unnecessary. For example: Eddie: Who? We got nobody up there. We would say; ‘Who? We have got nobody up there. The author often uses this technique in order to save time because Eddie is often trying to prove himself and ‘gain his respect’ as he says many times.

After Alfieri and Eddie, comes the true Sicilian immigrants. Marco and Rodolpho both have very strong Sicilian accents. They are less competent and make the text feel very much like a translation, with a slimmer range of vocabulary and less variety. They use nai?? ve, inexperienced language, and often are switch the verb and noun, for example, Rodolpho:… three arias I sang… Where we would say, ‘I sang three arias’. Also with the Italian-American accent, there is a question of intonation, where normal phrases are turned into questions.

Eddie: They pay alright on them boats? This could so easily be interpreted as a statement, rather than a question, without the punctuation finishing the sentence. The world within this play is a rich and varied canvas, with a detailed and intricate structure, making the play more convincing as a result. Arthur Miller’s depiction of the late 1940′ American-Sicilian community makes it all the more fascinating. Arthur Miller has been able to fashion the perfect world within such a deep, creative play, which has become a huge success as a result.

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Arthur Miller's play A View From The Bridge. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

Arthur Miller's play A View From The Bridge
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