A view from the bridge by Arthur Miller
Explore the dramatic effectiveness of the last part of act one.
A View from the Bridge is a modern day tragedy based around the character of Eddie who begins as a good, honest, working class long shore man with mixed feelings towards his niece, Catherine.
However, tensions flare with the arrival of his wifes cousins, Rodolpho and Marco, both of whom are illegal immigrants, brings about jealousy and anger that finally leads to Eddies own death. When Eddie finally realises and accepts what it he feels, disaster strikes and inevitable tragedy occurs.
We understand that Eddie is a caring man as he only wants the best for Catherine. Please do me a favour will ya? I want you to be in a nice office. Maybe a lawyers office someplace in New York in one of them nice buildings. I mean if gonna get outa here; dont go practically in the same neighbourhood. Eddie is trying to tell Catherine that he wants her to work in a better place rather then to go and work in a similar neighbourhood. From this it shows that Eddie cares for Catherine and wants the best for her wherever she goes.
This play is just an example of how someone's life can be instantly changed simply by the arrival of another human being. From a caring, loving, protective uncle, the character of Eddie Carbone morphs into a monster of incestuous lust and violent anger.
When we are first introduced to the characters of Eddie and Catherine, we are shown how intimate and secure their relationship seems on the surface. Although Catherine acts like a child, pretending that she has no idea about how the world around her works, Eddie knows that she is much more than that.
Tracing the development of dramatic tension in this scene from the apparently awkward conversation around the meal table to the closing scene of the chair lifting episode which concludes the act.
This scene is the last in act one and is an important scene for building up drama and tension between the characters. Even the positioning of the scene helps the drama, by putting it at the end of
act 1, where in the theatre there would be an interval, it leaves the audience with a cliff hanger, not knowing whats going to happen next, dreading the outcome for the characters. It leaves them with an idea that the events following in act 2 will not be good. This informs the audience of the area in which they live isnt very safe as he is mortified when he finds out that she is working at a plumbing company which means that she will be surrounded by young men. Eddie does not like the thought of that.
Marco and Rodolpho arrive at the house and have a brief reunion. They are both very gracious for the hospitality. Marco tells the Carbone's that he has three children and a wife back home that he will be sending money to. Rodolpho, the young blonde brother, has no family and intends to stay in the country as long as possible. Rodolpho entertains everyone with his version of the jazz tune, "Paper Doll."
In the coming weeks, Rodolpho and Catherine spend a great deal of time together, which worries Eddie. Eddie thinks that Rodolpho is untrustworthy and Eddie becomes jealous of the time he spends with Catherine. Eddie tells Catherine that Rodolpho just wants to marry her to become a citizen, but she does not listen. Rodolpho develops a reputation at the docks for being quite a joker, which further embarrasses Eddie. Beatrice, more aware than ever of the attention Eddie is giving Catherine, talks to Catherine about being a woman and tells her she must grown up and make her own decisions. Beatrice encourages Catherine to get married to Rodolpho if that is what she wants to do. Catherine agrees to try. Eddie, still frustrated with Rodolpho and Catherine, even visits Alfieri and asks if there is any way he can get rid of Rodolpho by law, but Alfieri assures him there is not. Alfieri tells Eddie that he needs to let Catherine go.
The situation escalates and Eddie becomes increasingly jealous of Rodolpho. Eddie resents the fact that Rodolpho thinks Catherine is looser than Italian girls. Eddie threatens Rodolpho in a pretend boxing match held in the living room of the house, stopped by Catherine and Beatrice.