A View from the Bridge Final Coursework Essay

Topics: Femininity, Masculinity, All My Sons Pages: 5 (1871 words) Published: July 21, 2010
A View From the Bridge Final Coursework Essay
By Salman Ramjaun 10GE...
How does Arthur Miller present the ideas of Manliness, Hostility and Aggression in ‘A View from the Bridge?’

‘A View from the Bridge’, a play written by Arthur Miller was set in Red Hook, Brooklyn in the 1950s; this area consisted of many Italian immigrants who came to Brooklyn to work. The tragic hero of the play named, Eddie Carbone is a 40 year old man, an American of a Sicilian background; He is described as "a husky, slightly overweight longshoreman." He is an ordinary man and is part of the local Italian community. He is the master of the household and both Beatrice and Catherine are undoubtedly used to him laying down the rules; Eddie sees this as a ‘macho’ thing to do and he expects all men to do the same - which is why he cannot accept Rodolfo's gentle talents. Furthermore, conflict is demonstrated when the cousins of Beatrice, Rodolfo and Marco, arrive. As narrator, Alfieri discloses the eventual tragedy, he talks about justice and how sometimes, justice is dealt within outside the law. He says he has a timeless story to tell - one that ran a “bloody course,” he sets the scene and introduces the characters; he is telling the audience the story of the play in flashback. Miller uses several forms of masculinity to show the audience that in different circumstances and cultures different forms of masculinity are possible. This is shown to the audience by comparing both extremes of masculinity and what they both involve. In the longshoreman culture respect is as much a part of a man as is his own image. This leads to those members of the community going to extraordinary lengths to keep their reputation in order to stop them being emasculated in the eyes of the community. In the beginning of the play, Eddie is keen to show that he is very manly, “You call that a spider? You oughta see what comes outa the bananas sometimes.” In the Sicilian culture this is not so true and a form of masculinity that has certain feminine qualities is shown to the audience; and this is shown as Rodolfo does not conform to Eddie’s ideas of manliness; Marco challenges him and he is threatened. ‘A View from the Bridge’ is a modern day tragedy based around the character of Eddie who begins as a good, honest, working class longshoreman with mixed feelings towards his niece, Catherine. However, tensions flare with the arrival of his wife’s cousins, Rodolfo and Marco, both of who are illegal immigrants, brings about jealousy and anger that finally leads to Eddie’s own death. He is constantly self-interested, wanting to promote and protect his innocence. In Eddie's world, he imagines protecting Catherine from marriage or any male relationship and wants her for himself. Eddie constantly looks out for himself at the expense of others and is ruled by personal love and guilt. There are several moments in the text where the audience is given clues that Eddie's love for Catherine may not be normal. For example, when Catherine lights Eddie's cigar in the living room, it is an event that gives Eddie unusual pleasure. This possibly warm and affectionate act between Eddie and Catherine has phallic suggestions. Depending on interpretation by the characters, this moment may have more or less sexual undertones. Eddie's great attention to his attractive niece and impotence in his own marital relationship immediately makes this meaning clear that Eddie has feelings for Catherine. Although Eddie seems unable to understand his feelings for Catherine until the end of the play, other characters are aware. Beatrice is the first to see this possibility in her conversation with Catherine; Alfieri also realizes Eddie's feelings during his first conversation with Eddie; Eddie does not comprehend his feelings until Beatrice clearly expresses his desires in the conclusion of the play, "You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her!" Eddie does not realise his feeling for Catherine...
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