Arthur Miller was born on October 17th, 1915, in New York City. His parents were both immigrants into the United States. The family lived in prosperity due to the success of his father”s clothing manufacturing business, but this soon collapsed along with the American economy as a whole. Miller worked as a warehouse man in order to save up fees so that he was able to attend Michigan University in 1934 to study Economics and History alongside a course of play writing. Miller wrote in the style of Greek tragedy. Miller chose to follow the Greek myths as in his play he had two acts.
In the first act the finding of the problem is viewed and in the second act the possible outcomes are predicted. In Greek tragedy there is always a “chorus”, a voice which fills in what does not happen on stage; Alfieri was the chorus as he narrated the play. Miller chose Eddie to die as all along in the play Alfieri gave speeches about tragic events about to happen. Alfieri had predicted eddies destiny to be hurtful and eddies ending was death. In Greek tragedy the hero is usually responsible for their own downfall.
Eddie chose to ignore Alfieri”s advice and Eddie chose to fight with Marco. Eddie causes his own downfall by preventing Rodolfo and Catherine”s marriage. The play is set in the shadow of Brooklyn Bridge and is about a whole community not only the Carbone family. Miller”s personal and political views are revealed with great clarity and considering the background to “A View from the Bridge” all his thoughts unravel into sharp focus. In this play tragedy is conveyed in several different forms. Many of them disrupting and deceiving.
The sense of tragedy conveyed in this play:- envy, love, death, tension, frustration, folk lore, guilt, law,guilt, trust, tradition, culture, betrayal, denial, jealousy, hatred and protectiveness. A view, two links, Alfieri the lawyer has an overview of the whole play. He is aware of the wrongs and rights involved. As he narrates and takes us through the play, he reveals the life of illegal immigrants as they take a new step of life into America. Coming from a Sicilian background they have crossed many bridges i. e. culture, tradition, relationships, folk lore and love. Already Miller has showed us that his parents have crossed these bridges.
The question is where to? Reading the play I felt that the main character on the bridge and not knowing which way to turn was Beatrice. She knew that her husband Eddie was in love with her niece Catherine, and Catherine was in love with Rodolpho one of the illegal immigrants. She is on this bridge as there are two endings possible in this huge clichÃ©. Rodolpho a young attractive man with light blond hair or Catherine has a choice of Eddie an old overweight weak man. All along Catherine is has dealt with Edie being overprotective naÃ¯ve and unfair. The bridge also represents old life and new life.
Eddie”s life ends in death as he chose the wrong path. All along he feels that he has the right over Catherine where according to her and the law he does not. His wise and fair lawyer and friend advices him on adapting to the American law and Italian culture; that Catherine has the choice who she will marry and as a husband already even thinking like this was going towards the opposite side of the bridge. Catherine has the choice and chooses to cross the bridge to a brighter future with someone she loves trusts and with whom she can have a wider variety of opportunities and chances.
When Alfieri has a personalized conversation with Eddie, he is not only advising him as a friend but through the legal system as well. Eddie was very angry and devastated when he realized that Catherine loved Rodolpho and not him. The hidden love he had for Catherine soon turned into obsessivenes and anger over her freedom. Alfieri states that Eddie “was a good man”. It shows that Alfieri understood how Eddie was feeling; his emotions and that Eddie”s thoughts were not functioning in a responsible way. Alfieri introduces himself by saying “to meet a lawyer or a priest on the street is unlucky”.
This comment came across as negative to me because the use of the word “unlucky”. Usually a priest or lawyers are looked up at as means of purity and help. In this case it is bad and negative because the society prefers to run their lives in the way they were brought up, not changing to the American and modern way of life. â€¢ “This ones name was Eddie Carbone, a long shore man working at the dock from Brooklyn bridgeâ€¦â€¦â€¦” â€¢ “he was a good man as he had to be in a life that was hard and even” These two comments both have the word “was” in them.
They caught my attention as it presumed that the man Alfieri is talking about was alive and is no more in the present or about the past. He knows that Eddie has very little time until a big and major tragedy occurs. He knows that Eddie”s struggles and hard working will end in tragedy. From the beginning Alfieri has a situation and an ending in his head, almost as if he knew all along. Intelligently he tries to warn Eddie through his job and as a close friend. He is aware of the trouble Eddie has and is willing to help him but Eddie”s emotions are uncontrollable,” This is my last word, take it or not, that’s your business.
Morally and legally you have no rights, you cannot stop it; she is a free agent”. As Alfieri makes his speeches through the play he gives the reader a deeper insight of what is going on. He explores by going deeper into the story and looks from above on the whole community like his ‘view is from a bridge’. Living in Brooklyn and being from a different cultural background and trying to carry on traditions were normal for illegal and legal migrants. In America they could find jobs and homes that would allow them to lead a successful life. The Carbone family was focused on and one thing that was highly present was the concept of respect.
In the play Catherine a young girl is provoked by her uncle Eddie who has constantly overlooked her. “you ain”t goin” nowheres” “Eddie, I”m not gonna be a baby any more! You-” Eddie as usual feels that he has the right to stop Catherine from leaving the house. For the first time she stands up to him and he feels a big shock and he is astonished. As it around Christmas time he has had a few drinks and feels tipsy. Miller uses the Christmas theme as it fits in well with the situation. Eddie as the head of the house and family is highly respected.
When him and his wife agree to bring in two men from their homeland, a new beginning and end are foreseen here. Catherine”s relationship develops with Rodolfo one of the immigrants, and leads to them wanting to marry. Eddie is distraught and completely disagrees with it. Tunnels are dark and gloomy. When Eddie went to Alfieri, Alfieri sensed his pain and anger, “But I will never forget how dark the room became when he looked at me; his eyes were like tunnels”. Being in a tunnel is dark , cold , wet and not sure what you will find , it also leaves you with a sense of not knowing were the tunnel will end.
Alfieri was aware of Eddie”s love for Catherine. Alfieri compares Eddie”s eyes with a tunnel as he saw a certain dull and gloomy ending. When Eddie is in trouble he visits Alfieri. Here the conversation proceeds to Alfieri furiously advising Eddie “You have no recourse in the law, Eddie”, “There is nothing you can do Eddie, believe me” . Alfieri wants to assist Eddie but as far as the law goes there”s nothing he can do. He can tries to make Eddie believe him. Eddie feels that Catherine is being stolen away from him; he has not realized that Catherine is now a woman.
Alfieri sums up his advice by simply telling Eddie “let her go”. He complies this in such a way that Eddie knows Alfieri is right but his emotions once again overcome his thinking. “His eyes were like tunnels, my first thought was that he had committed a crime “, stating his thoughts carefully Alfieri shows us the readers that eddies image was pain full. Alfieri felt that he could help, he could see through him, he knew Eddie was going to do wrong he just wanted to help. Further on in the play Alfieri speaks of a mans routine, “a man works, raises his family, goes bowling, eats, gets old and then dies”.
This sounds tragic, but reading the play I realized that Miller”s use of language is toning and descriptive. Eddie Carbone spent his days, in this manor. Through out the play Alfieri conveys his thoughts which lead to predictions which are precisely accurate. Destiny plays a huge part in this play. At the beginning and end Alfieri makes powerful speeches. He focus”s on the Carbone Family, and through his speeches predicts what will happen in the future. He predicts that Eddies destiny is death an unhappy, dangerous and cruel death. Marco the brother of Rodolpho feels that Eddie has stole from his family and mocked his world.
Miller chooses to make Marco angry as Marco was usually the quite one and never complained even when he saw the way Rodolpho was being treated. “He degraded my brother. My blood. He robbed my children, he mocks my work. I work to come here mister! ” The tragedy in this is that Marco is heart broken over the disappointment brought to his blood and family. At the opening of the play Alfieri talks about the odds of being a lawyer in America, in a community of Sicilians “behind that suspicious little nod of theirs lie three thousand years of distrust .
A lawyer means law, and in Sicily, from where their fathers came, the law has not been a friendly ideaâ€¦. ” This point of his speech suggested that Sicilian culture and tradition plays a major part in the community. Its shows that what the parents did not and said had an effect on the upbringing of the child, it stays with the person as an honor and discipline. The last t paragraph hit my thoughts with a huge impact. “Now we settle for half”. Half is the midpoint of a whole. Eddie could not gain what he wanted to happen fully but he thought by doing what he did he would have achieved something.
Alfieri knew that Eddie”s feelings were immense and had warned Eddie to keep them in control. “His death useless” His death had no moral meaning behind it. It was an accident waiting to happen. “He allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I will love him” Alfieri living and working in the community new that Eddie was an open man with everyone. The only thing he hid was his feelings. Miller chooses to let Alfieri give this speech as he as a narrator and lawyer knew both his problems lawfully and morally.