Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge: Play Analysis

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“A View From The Bridge” Coursework Assignment.“A View from the Bridge” is a play by American playwright Arthur Miller, first staged on 29 September 1955 as a one-act verse drama at the Coronet Theatre on Broadway. Is set in 1950s America, in an Italian American neighbourhood under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Here live the Carbone family. The area the Carbone family live in is a tightly knit community where neighbours are almost like family and everyone knows everything about each other. The polis is a poor area where all the families are in the same situation; men work at the dock and the women stay at home cooking, cleaning and caring for the children. Owing to a lack of money nobody can afford to leave or travel so over time family rules and morals have become law in the community. Immigration laws rendered approaches to the police futile, since many of the inhabitants were illegal immigrants. This built up a distinct mistrust for the law with an underlying Sicilian feeling of justice being the guide to how people of the polis lived their lives. The main character, Eddie, Carbone, is a hard working, longshoreman who keeps to his beliefs. Miller’s original conception was to make Eddie an objective character and he didn’t want people to relate to Eddie, but it was not successful. When it was first shown, people began to become very critical, therefore he re-wrote the play, and made the audience identify with Eddie and feel sympathy with him.

Some people believe that the play was related to Arthur Miller and his relationship with Marilyn Monroe. Eddie and Catherine’s loving relation ship symbolises Miller and Monroe’s for it relates to it very well. Marilyn Monroe was the sex symbol of her time and Arthur Miller was older than her and only and a playwright, so some people thought they were an unlikely match and that Miller was obsessively in love with his wife, as is Eddie with Catherine.The play is based on a true story once told to Miller by an old woman who lived on the waterfront by Brooklyn. Miller chose the title ‘A View From The Bridge’ because it is set in the shadow of Brooklyn and if someone looks down from the bridge, they have a detached view of what is happening. Alfieri, the narrator, stands on the bridge observing people’s lives below, as metaphorically speaking, in the play, he is the bridge from which the play is seen.

The play is set in Red-Hook, a slum area of Brooklyn where Sicilians live who have come illegally or legally from Italy and Sicily. Their houses are by the waterfront and the men of the family are all mostly longshoremen who scramble to make a living. Miller used to work on the docks himself and felt sorry for the immigrants who worked alongside him. The lawyer, Alfieri, introduces the play, and as well as being a character in the play, he takes the role as a chorus figure. He says the people in the area have had to learn to settle for half ’Now we settle for half, and I like it better. I no longer keep a pistol in my filing cabinet.’ And by this he means even though justice is very important they have had to compromise and now they are no longer allowed to use guns. Throughout the play the scene is set in the Carbone household which consists of a lounge and dining room. At the front of the stage is Alfieri’s office and a telephone box which is always there in the shadows. It lights up further on in the play when Eddie uses it to phone the Immigration Bureau. The main character is Eddie Carbone, a dock worker who lives with his wife Beatrice and niece Catherine. Miller presents Eddie as being very over protective towards Catherine. When he comes home, he objects to her wearing high heals, short skirts and having a new hairstyle ‘I think it‘s too short, ain’t it?’. He does not like men looking at her and being attracted to her, and warns her of men. He states ‘you’re walking wavy’ which means he thinks she is moving her hips and drawing attention to herself as she is...
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