A View from the Bridge
- Catherine and Eddie causing tension.
The play ‘A view from the bridge’ is by Arthur Miller. It is set in 1930s America, in an Italian American neighborhood near the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Miller creates dramatic tension via the use of the characters Eddie and Catherine and their relationship together. Eddie and Beatrice are Catherine's Aunt and Uncle. Catherine is Beatrice's sister's daughter. Her parents have died so she now lives with them. Eddie and Catherine have a very close relationship and sometimes this can be a problem.
In the beginning we see Catherine telling Eddie she has got a job. This does obviously not please Eddie right from the start. The first words of the narrator, Alfieri, make us think and almost expect there to be conflict during and throughout the play. "...heard the same complaint and sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course." Alfieri's words defiantly make the audience think a feeling of expected tension and give us a sense of anxiety.
Eddie is very protective of Catherine and the thought of her going out to work upsets him. I think maybe Eddie is apprehensive of Catherine growing up, and doesn’t want to think she is old enough to look after herself. When Eddie finds out the location of Catherine's new job he is clearly put out. "Near the Navy Yard, plenty can happen in a block and a half..." He seems to not want to let her grow up and move on with her life. At 17 Catherine is not old enough to go out on her own according to Eddie. Eddie also seems to think Catherine's change in appearance is too grown up and at 17 a short skirt and high heels is a big thing. Just in these first few pages we already start to feel an atmosphere of tension and it seems to be mounting.
With the imminent arrival of the illegal immigrants – Marco and Rodolfo – there is defiantly tension building. We can see that Eddie is obviously very territorial about his home and Catherine! I think that Catherine Is only a teenager who needs some room to grow up and Eddie enclosing her won’t help that and is sure to create tension.
In the scene that closes Act one, Miller effectively creates tension. Miller begins the scene begins with a simple conversation about a recent trip to Africa which Marco and Rodolfo had undergone through work. However, tension is still created, regardless of the insignificance of the subject, by Eddie, who, from a simple glance at Catherine, appears to be sceptical about whether the trip actually took place: "They went to Africa once, on a fishing boat. (Eddie glances at her) It's true, Eddie"
The conversation then continues further, though it is clear from Miller's use of stage directions that Eddie is disregarding anything Rodolfo says to him, and talking to Marco exclusively, creating an uneasy atmosphere and increasing the tension further.
Throughout the beginning of the scene, Beatrice is stacking dishes and going in and out of the kitchen. Rodolfo then helps her:
"(Beatrice enters. She and Rodolfo stack the remaining dishes.)"
Beatrice is trying to keep the peace, but Rodolfo's stacking of the dishes exposes his femininity even more and goes against Eddie's views on the role of the male within the household. The audience is very mindful of this, and therefore the tension heightens.
Eddie then undermines Beatrice with a mocking tone, in response to her comment about fishing from the beach:
"Sure. (Laughing) How you gonna catch sardines on a hook?"
Here, Miller successfully increases tension, as, although the subject matter is innocent, Eddie feels the need to mock Beatrice in order to feel a sense of superiority. The conversation continues, and Eddie mentions how he heard they "paint oranges in Italy". He responds to Marco's comments, but when Rodolfo joins in the conversation with a simple comment about Lemon's being green, Eddie is clearly looking for conflict and says:
"I know lemons are green...
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