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A view from the bridge, one of Arthur Miller’s first comings when he became interested in the work and lives of large communities of long shore men. Arthur Miller himself worked as a long shore man on New York Brooklyn harbour. This certainly invigorated him into something ‘dangerous and mysterious. ‘ A View from the Bridge originated from a simple story Miller’s friend had told him about. At the time Arthur was active with numerous other projects he hand entitled to do, so he didn’t act upon this piece immediately.
His travels along with many potential ideas combined with his clever knowledge and imaginative understanding would give way to something that would later on become controversial. This play was written in 1955, set in Red Hook in a slum area in New York, its exactly as it sounds, dull, dark and full of unwinding drama behind closed doors. Based in 1940s immigration had been illegal at the time when America had banned it due to heavy immigrant incomings, this made coming into America difficult but not impossible.
A View from the Bridge at first boasts upon a second generation Italian family, consisting of Eddie, his wife Beatrice and her niece Catherine, these three characters living together pleasantly. These characters play an essential role in dialectical amusement. This Italian family would follow the nature of the stereotypical Italian virtues, valuing loyalty, fixated trust, respect and honour. Respect and loyalty are things an Italian family should contain and retain. A clear feature in this play is immigration, which right from the beginning intertwines through to the end.
Starting of with such a young fun loving warm hearted family filled with an easy atmosphere then merged towards difficult and stiff tension between additional characters like Redolfo and Marco who come over to stay from Italy, the family go through hoops of dispute leading to argumentative circles and to a most glum ending. When Beatrice’s cousin’s Marco and Redolfo move into in with the family welcomed by Eddie, things start to submerge. Eddie notices Catherine’s fondness for Redolfo, causing Eddie to become over protective, but not because its his niece but more so because of unmentionable deeper feelings he has for his niece.
This family gets torn apart by jealousy, loss of trust and violence. At the end of the play after psychological and verbal threats from Eddie to Redolpho, Marco at the end of Act one/two lifts a chair above Eddie declaring power, urgency and alarms start to go off. At the end of the play the immigration officers come in and arrest Marco and Redolfo. Tempers start to run up high as Marco swears at Eddie which sets him off. Eddie at the end attempted to kill Marco with a knife which goes by all his morals, but Marco turns Eddies weapon into his nemesis and kills him instead.
Beatrice and Catherine were deeply upset about Eddies death recollecting what they lost forgetting all the trouble he’d brought upon himself. Eddie’s death was appropriate it wasn’t about why he would die more about how he would die. Although Eddie died, in a sense he became successful because he was killed on Catherine’s and Redolfo’s wedding day, so each day they would remember his death and why he died. My first key dramatic moment is when Beatrice says to Eddie ‘you want something else Eddie and you can never have her!
‘ and when she also adds, ‘the truth is not as bad as blood’ indicating that if he doesn’t acknowledge the truth their will be a bloody outcome. When Beatrice says all this its as if she had brought everything that has been hidden for so long out into the wide open. She brings up the hidden agenda that has stayed taboo to her for so long, she’s telling him that she knows that he wants something else and makes it clear she knows its Catherine by concluding ‘and Eddie you can’t have her!
‘ This is a key dramatic moment because this is when Miller lets Beatrice take control and helps the other characters understand why Eddie is doing what he is. Also because it comes as unexpected and to Catherine it would be a shock and would fill her with disgust, she had no idea what Beatrice was saying it hadn’t sunk in to her, she couldn’t believe what she was hearing. This moment delays what’s happening and it starts to focus on Eddie, Beatrice and Catherine.
This horrifies the other characters around and certainly makes the audience reacts with gasp, for the characters had no idea about Eddies feelings but the audience had an idea of it but didn’t expect Beatrice to say what she did and they way she did. This caused dramatic irony because they knew something that the characters didn’t and they were witnessing the build up. This left Eddie in a state uneasiness he swiftly went into denial knowing that inside that Beatrice was speaking the truth. Miller showed us the effects when both Catherine and Eddie both exclaimed ‘B’ and diverted their attention and eyes on her.
Miller created this effect cleverly because just as Eddie was going to confront Marco, Beatrice used this as a last attempt to stop Eddie’s frenzy. Miller showed us a wife telling her husband that she knows that her partner wants someone else, the biggest effect this would have is on Eddie. Also the way he showed us they horror in the raised voices. The audience and characters didn’t suspect Beatrice to confront Eddie like this, since she was torn apart by these 2 sides. Miller runs the tension higher than it already was and straight back down to the confrontation of Eddie and Marco.