A View From The BridgeArthur Miller Essay

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A View From The Bridge-Arthur Miller Essay, Research Paper Jo Hawkins Assessment 2 Semester 1 1998 ?A playwright with a social conscience?. Analyse the ways in which Arthur Miller presents Eddie Carboni as a victim of Brooklyn in the 1950?s. In his play, A View From the Bridge ,(1955), Arthur Miller (1915-) portrays the protagonist, Eddie Carboni, an uneducated Italian-American longshoreman, as a victim of American society in the 1950?s. Set in Red Hook, an industrial area of Brooklyn, Eddie lives with his wife, Beatrice and her sister?s child, his niece Catherine, of whom he is unwittingly over protective. Life is hard but even until the arrival of two illegal immigrants, Marco and Rodolpho, who are relatives of Beatrice. When Rodolpho forms a relationship with Catherine,

Eddie is threatened in a way he can neither articulate nor even acknowledge. He does his best to destroy this relationship in order to preserve his unchanging lifestyle and when his attempts fail, he calls the immigration department and turns informer. When challenged by Marco, Eddie fights to uphold his honour and is killed. Through this conflict, Miller explores the issues of gender roles and justice within American Society. This is achieved by the skilful use of theatrical conventions including character and setting. As Miller?s succeeds in presenting Eddie Carboni as a victim of society he proves himself to be ?a playwright with a social conscience? Miller explores the changing gender roles in Brooklyn of the 1950?s, detailing the demise of patriarchy and Eddie?s reactions to

this dramatic social change. This confusion, accentuated by the arrival of two submarines, Marco and Rodolpho, serves to highlight the underlying sexual tension between Eddie, Catherine and Beatrice. This tension is present from the beginning of the play as Eddie laments, ?you?re walking? wavy? to Catherine , acknowledging her sexuality , his jealousy apparent as he voices his disapproval. The admission of Catherine into the work force is hard for Eddie to accept as her maturity becomes harder for him to ignore. His pride also begins to faulter as he learns that Catherine earns more money in her first year as a stenographer, than he does as an experienced longshoreman. Beatrice recognises Eddies hidden desires before he or Catherine are aware of it, this becoming apparent in the

first act as she snaps at Eddie ?I?m not mad, you?re the one is mad?. With the arrival of Marco and Rodolpho, Eddie struggles to uphold his position as head of the family. Rodolpho possesses an unconscious femininity that patriarchal Eddie does not understand and his developing relationship with Catherine causes much jealousy and resentment. As Eddie struggles with his own gender identity and strong feelings for Catherine he turns to the law in an attempt to find justice. The differences between justice and American law is explored by Miller through Eddie?s moral and social conflict as he tries desperately to stop Catherine from marrying Rodolpho. The play begins with an exposition from Alferi, a middle class lawyer who acts as an impartial commentator for most of the play.

Alferi connotes that the American-Italian population has a disrespect for written law with roots that spread deep into their Italian ancestry. Consequently, he acknowledges their own system of family law and it?s Mafia parallels. Miller recognises the strength and validity of family law, the nature of which remained incomprehensible to American society. The differences between the two cultures are highlighted and criticised as Alferi reminisces, ?Oh, there were many here who were justly shot by unjust men.? Eddie, blinded by a passion for Catherine he cannot understand, does not recognise the differences between these cultures and alienates himself from both of them by refusing to compromise between both. Informing the immigration bureau of Rodolpho and Marco was not an illegal