Marco’s relationship with Eddie changes throughout Act one; at the beginning, Marco and Eddie seem to get on with each other well. However, this alters when Marco notices that Eddie is humiliating Rodolfo and, being Rodolfo’s brother, Marco stands up for him and tries to show Eddie up instead. This occurs when Eddie begins his boxing fight with Rodolfo; Marco recognises that Eddie is disparaging Rodolfo and so requests Eddie to pick up a chair from the bottom of the leg. This test will demonstrate whether Eddie really has strength. Fortunately for Marco, Eddie cannot pick up the chair and Marco can.
This is where Eddie’s plan of impressing Catherine and making him look like a ‘real’ man, with strength, stamina and courage, fails due to Marco. After this incident Eddie is warier around Marco and their relationship becomes less friendly and strained. There is also tension between Eddie, and Rodolfo and Marco; this is exciting drama for the audience and so they stay engaged and interested. This reaches its peak when Marco raises the chair threateningly above Eddie’s head. The tension within the scene is palpable, with Marco’s aggressive body language; seen in his stiff neck and eyes and jaw strained with tension. The “face to face” stance accelerates the already intense atmosphere; resulting in an anticipatory reaction from the audience.
Stage directions are vitally important in this play because the characters cannot communicate their true feelings due to several different reasons. Therefore, the audience relies on stage directions to help explain and to reveal how the characters really feel. For example, when Eddie is talking to Rodolfo he is acting pleasantly and civilised to his face, yet at the same time, in the stage directions it shows Eddie is twisting and tearing this newspaper. This indicates that this is what Eddie wishes to do to Rodolfo, signifying that he dislikes him so much that he could strangle him and tear him apart.
The audience would find this especially dramatic as it’s mysterious and suggestive of future events. They would also enjoy the amount of precise and elaborate action used because it would get them thinking and, therefore, become more involved in the play. The stage directions act as a narrator as they explain the plot and what the characters are feeling. They also increase the tension dramatically because everything is left unsaid, but there is still the atmosphere in particular scenes; such as when Marco holds the chair above Eddie’s head “like a weapon” it is because of stage directions that there is conflict in the scene.
Arthur Miller intelligently ends Act One at this exacting point as it reaches the maximum suspense; this is due to the conflict between Eddie, Rodolfo and Marco. Miller uses a cliff hanger leaving the audience wanting to know more and if the situation, that Act One ends with, is linked strongly to the tragedy that was mentioned right at the beginning of the play. It foreshadows what is to become of Eddie and Marco’s relationship because it shows that Marco understands Eddie and sees that he dislikes Rodolfo.
Marco will protect his brother, which is demonstrated when he lifts the chair and has “strained tension gripping his eyes and jaw;” so the audience might think that there will be some drama between the three. Questions that the audience are left thinking are like what is the tragedy? What will become of the conflict between Eddie, Marco and Rodolfo? Will Eddie admit his love to Catherine? If so, how will she react?
Throughout the first act, Miller keeps the audience gripped and intrigued. Many delicate issues are raised, such as incest and illegal immigration, and because the characters are not well-educated they have limitation to their communication which makes it even fuller of suspense. The suspense and interest increase throughout the act and right at the end it is at its optimum, this is due to issues being exposed and then seeing how the characters react to them. Therefore making the act fantastically intriguing.