Examine the Ideas of Manliness, Hostility and Aggression in a View from the Bridge. How Are These Ideas Connected?

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  • Topic: Masculinity, Tragedy, The Bridge: A Tribute to Neil Young
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Examine the ideas of Manliness, Hostility and Aggression in A View from the Bridge. How are these ideas connected?

A View from the Bridge: a tragic drama piece, written by Arthur Miller and first published in 1955. Curtained by the never-ending dramatics of the play, is quite basically a fight for an unconditional love, portrayed by a man of whom perplexes his emotions like no other (Eddie Carbone). The play itself is set in the 1950’s; times when masculinity and dominance we’re vital for a man to obtain, and therefore prove to be key concepts during A View from the Bridge. Due to the constant battle to be the top of the hierarchy, a hostile atmosphere is continuously present within the circle of male characters. To be the more predominant man proves highly important; it gives them authority over the female characters, and status over the other males. The play has been written as a Greek Tragedy: a storyline of where a certain person is destined for disastrous misfortune (the Hero). Linking to this, is the opening narration spoken by Alfieri. Alfieri is a lawyer, and as he quotes “I am a lawyer .. We’re only thought of in connection with disasters”, you are automatically signalled that something bad is bound to happen at some point during A View from the Bridge. Eddie Carbone works as a longshoreman in New York. He lives with his wife Beatrice, and his niece Catherine. Eddie proves to be the protagonist within the first page of A View from the Bridge, of which is chorused by Alfieri (an ageing lawyer). From this, it is rather easy to acknowledge that Eddie is going to play a domineering role, and quite obviously the hero in this Greek Tragedy comparison. As I have previously mentioned, masculinity is highly important, and particularly important to Eddie. Being the utmost respected and powerful man proves rather essential to him during the play, as gives him domination over the household females. An example of this would be in Act Two, just after Eddie rings the immigration bureau. “Get them out the house...Not tomorrow, do it now.”. Here he is giving Catherine orders in a rather authoritative manor, and this is a prime example of the way he speaks to the female characters. Eddie has incestuous desires for his niece, Catherine. This continues to be an ongoing problem throughout the entire play. It is quite clear to recognise Eddie’s feelings toward Catherine from the opening scene. When Catherine enters, Eddie is overly keen to know where she is going due to the way she is dressed (short skirt etc); he questions her before becoming complimentary about her appearance, because he is obviously panicking that she has dressed herself specifically to impress another male. Eddie quite clearly feels that as a man, he has a right to inquire when he feels necessary; possibly using this to conceal the fact he wants nothing more than direct control of Catherine’s life. “Beautiful” he quotes Catherine when observing her new hairstyle. Through the whole of A View from the Bridge, Eddie does not pay Beatrice one single compliment, which seems rather obscure, suggesting he has more admiration for his niece than his wife. Catherine constantly seeks Eddie’s approval, repeatedly asking him “You like it?” about the way she looks. This tells the audience that Eddie has brought Catherine up to believe his opinion is always necessary, relating to the idea of masculinity and the dominance possessed by the household male. The actual reason Catherine dressed herself differently was due to the fact that she has been newly employed as a stenographer: somebody who specializes in the transcription of speech. Yet again, Eddie has something to say about the fact that Catherine has a job. “You can’t take no job. Why didn’t you ask me before you take a job?” are his exact words when telling her rather directly how he sees the situation. He is implying that she should of asked for his permission before taking the job, and has disobeyed him by not doing...
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