Arthur Miller - Sample Essay
In the very title of the play, there is some tension and suspense emerging already. The name ‘A View From The Bridge’ suggests that it is not a physical view, more a metaphor for Alfieri’s (Miller’s engaged narrator) role in the play. It suggests to me that he has an overview of what happens and absolutely no control over the events that occur throughout the duration of the play, which creates a kind of tension that has a fairly clear outcome, but the means, pace and devices used to construct the end is unknown.
This is very similar to the type of tension used in Greek mythology, whereby many people were aware of the end, but did not have any knowledge of the play’s climax. This play, written by Arthur Miller was first performed circa 1956 as a two-act performance. In this production, there are many types of tension; climatic tension, tension of discovery, the inevitable end, the stipulations of the Sicilian Code of Conduct, Eddie as a sympathetic character and the triangular relationship between Eddie, Catherine and Rodolfo, and Beatrice.
There is a significant amount of climatic tension in this play with some even in the title, as previously shown. The first notable point in the play comes in Alfieri’s introduction of the play: “This ones name was Eddie Carbone… ” Here Alfieri speaks in an oracular tone of voice and also refers to Eddie in the past tense suggesting he does not exist anymore. The next notable point is when Alfieri says: “… watched it run its bloody course. ” Which implies that there is going to be bloodshed somewhere in the play, and to the main character as is usually the case in most tragedies.
More tension is inserted into the play about halfway through act-one, after the cousins who enter illegally (Marco & Rodolfo) have finished speaking, and Alfieri speaks, especially when he says: “Now, as the weeks passed away, there was a future, there was a trouble that wouldn’t go away. ” This makes the element of tragedy in the play blatantly obvious, but the means to reach the end unknown except for the involvement of Eddie and the cousins. With regard to the method of the cousins’ arrival, the reason why they entered illegally was because in the 1950s, the US tightened immigration laws.
This meant that people from countries like Italy, Romania and other countries in Eastern Europe found it harder to emigrate and settle there. The US made it difficult for Jewish, Italian, Irish and Gypsy peoples to enter but people from countries like Britain, France and Germany found it easier, as the INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) favoured those who came from a wealthier country, with a higher standard of education and more practical skills, which could lead to a more prosperous America.
With regard as to how Italian immigrants made it across, the relatives of those concerned, would ask the Mafioso in New York to bring them across. This would be made possible as the Mafia would bribe the captains of ships headed from Italy to New York to allow those concerned to stow away, hence they earned the nickname ‘submarines’. Upon arrival, they would stay with relatives and the Mafia would provide them with menial jobs so that they could repay their debt. Once the debt was repaid, they were out of a job ‘Tension of Discovery’ also features in the play.
It is quite frequently used in the play, and is perhaps the most important feature that helps to sculpt the ending. This is because when the characters uncover something, their opinion changes. This often happens to Eddie, and either his opinion changes of other people, or other people’s opinions change of him. The first notable incident is where Eddie confronts Catherine when she returns late from the theatre and he informs her of why he thinks Rodolfo wants to marry her solely for citizenship: Catherine: …. he almost bows to me!..
Eddie:………. Katie, he’s only bowing to his passport Eddie can justify this statement because he believes that Rodolfo could perhaps be homosexual and he thinks that Catherine is nai?? ve, but he has no evidence to support his statement, and Catherine’s opinion of him starts to change. I think she considers him to be overprotective, but I think it is because he feels displaced because Catherine used to bestow all her affection on Eddie, but since the arrival of Rodolfo, that has changed, and I think that Eddie is subconsciously jealous of him.