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Play A View From a Bridge by Miller

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 5 (1191 words)
Categories: Behavior, Conflict, Interpersonal relationship, Plays, Writer
Downloads: 10
Views: 65

In terms of the historical and cultural background, Arthur Miller was born in 1915 in Harlem, New York. His parents were both Italian immigrants. He grew up in a moderately wealthy society because his father ran a fairly profitable business. He has a very great understanding of poverty however because he experienced this after his father’s business went bust after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. His parents were then in no position to finance his place at University which he had to delay for two years, so he worked as a warehouseman in Brooklyn Navy Yard along with a large number of Italian immigrant workers, largely from Sicily.

This firsthand experience of Italian culture, along with his own Italian background gave him a great understanding of Italian attitudes to family bonds, and honour which is the major theme in the play. He has therefore used situations and language that he has experienced to make his play believable to an audience.

In fact the outline of the play is almost identical to a story that he was told by a lawyer friend who represented Italian dock workers, a fact which also adds to the realism. While he was at university he studied Journalism and English.

He also wrote his first play while he was there. He went on to write many more plays, including “Death of a Salesman”, which won the Pulitzer Prize and “The Crucible”. Many of his plays focus on the individual and their position in relation to their responsibilities and position in society. This may make his plays seem political. In fact he was accused of acting against the interests of the Unites States but not charged. He died in 2005 having married twice (including Marilyn Monroe) and having been considered one of the world’s most influential playwrights.

The staging of this play is very specific. It focuses mainly in the living room and dining room of Eddie Carbone which is in the centre of the stage. However, we can also see the outside world because to one side of the stage is a simple lawyer’s office and to the other side is a simple street scene. This choice of staging represents very clearly Millers intention to relate private life to public life. This is very important for Italians as the most important thing is family and personal honour.

The play describes the family and life of Eddie Carbone. He is married to Beatrice and has informally adopted his niece, Catherine, a teenager. Two cousins of Beatrice, Marco and Rodolfo, come to live with them. Marco is hard-working, sending money back to his own wife and children, but Rodolfo is younger and Eddie does not consider him either hard-working or responsible. Rodolfo and Catherine become attracted to each other and Eddie’s disapproval of Rodolfo drives Eddie to try and prevent the friendship developing.

His attempts become more and more desperate, as his own feelings for Catherine become confused, ending in Eddie referring Marco and Rodolfo to the Immigration Service. Marco is incensed, as he is jailed and prevented from supporting his family. He confronts Eddie and stabs him. In Alfieri’s opening speech the audience is left in absolutely no doubt that the outcome of the play is inevitable and that nothing could change it. When comparing the feelings of a lawyer describing a case in Italy, to the story he is relating in New York, he says that he was “… powerless as I and watched it run its bloody course” When Eddie appears on stage, Alfieri refers to him in the past tense, “This one’s name was Eddie Carbone”, which tells us not only that Eddie is to die but because he previously said that the end would be “bloody”, that Eddie will die violently. He also introduces the fact that the events of the play take place with a very Italian background – He talks about “in Calabria perhaps or on the cliff at Syracuse, another lawyer, quite differently dressed, heard the same complaint…

” He says this because this case is so Italian, that he almost feels that he could be back in Italy. This Italian perspective also explains why the outcome is inevitable because Italians and especially Sicilian Italians with their mafia overtones are particularly passionate about honour, to the extent that they will kill for it. In terms of the play’s characters, Marco is an illegal immigrant who came over from Sicily with his brother Rodolfo. He is the stronger of the two brothers, both mentally and physically.

On the night of his arrival, Marco explains his worries for his family, saying “… if I stay there they will never grow up. They eat the sunshine. ” The only reason he has come to America is to be able to send money back to his family. This good sense of responsibility also gives the impression that he thinks before he acts. He also has a good sense of morality and of justice. Marco is also protective of Rodolfo which is shown when Eddie is teaching Rodolfo how to box and hits him. Marco is quick to show that he is the stronger man, and will defend Rodolfo if necessary.

He shows his physical strength when he asks Eddie to lift a chair by one hand from the bottom of the leg. Eddie is unable to but Marco can. This proves that Marco is the strongest of the three men. He is aware of the things that he must do for Eddie and is careful not to annoy him. He also advises Rodolfo to do the same, although Eddie is constantly critical of him. It is only when Eddie informs of Marco’s and Rodolfo’s presence to the Immigration Service that Marco finally loses his temper with Eddie, saying to Alfieri, “He degraded my brother. My blood. He robbed my children, he mocks my work. I work to come here, mister! “. Marco then swears that he will kill Eddie, which sets up the events in the final scene. All of this, I think, contributes to the audience understanding Marcos behaviour in the final scenes. Rodolfo, being Marco’s brother is also an illegal immigrant. When he enters the play his presence is immediate, especially with Catherine. He is very pleased to be in the USA. We get this impression when he says “this will be the first house I ever walked into in America! ” Miller makes him popular to the audience by giving him a lively sense of humour.

Beatrice is a very kind and a very caring woman. She is Eddie’s wife and often the third party when Eddie has an argument with someone, trying to make peace. An example of this is when Rodolfo comes to apologise to Eddie for not asking his permission to marry Catherine. Beatrice is pleading with Eddie to accept the apology. She says, “Eddie, he’s apologising! “. She continues pleading with Eddie even urging him to stay in the house when Marco is coming. She knows that something awful is about to happen and she tries to stop it, but again, it is inevitable and she fails.

Cite this essay

Play A View From a Bridge by Miller. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/play-a-view-from-a-bridge-by-miller-essay

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