Examine the ideas of manliness, hostility and aggression in ‘A View From the Bridge’. How are these ideas connected? Manliness, hostility and aggression are important ideas in ‘A View From the Bridge’. Clearly, in most cases, these ideas are displayed by the play’s protagonist, Eddie. This aggression leads to his eventual downfall. Eddie has a certain view of what he considers to be manly. When Rodolfo does not conform to this view, it results in Eddie mocking him. In contrast, when Marco does conform to Eddie’s view, Eddie becomes paranoid and sees Marco as a threat to his manhood.Order now
Manliness aggression and hostility are all ideas displayed by Eddie. This may be due to the fact that Eddie is not very well educated and this may be a reason why he has difficulty in expressing his feelings. This results in him often resorting to verbal/ physical aggression. This may be reflecting Arthur Miller’s views on masculinity. There are also admirable qualities in Marco, Eddie and Rodolfo. The female characters also have a role to play in the tragedy, as Beatrice states. They are not merely victims of male aggression and hostility. Eddie has a stereotypical view of characteristics a man should have.
Rodolfo is a man who does not fit into Eddie’s stereotypical view of what a man should be in and this is demonstrated when Rodolfo says “I don’t want to hit you Eddie. ” Rodolfo knows that manliness is not simply the ability to use brute force; in fact it takes a bigger man to avoid using violence. Furthermore, when Eddie finds that Rodolfo makes dresses, cooks as well as has blonde hair, he mocks him referring to him as ‘Danish’ and implying he is homosexual by calling him a ‘fruit’, as well as stating that Rodolfo “ain’t right” and that he’s “no good”.
He compares Rodolfo with Marco, with the intention of putting Rodolfo down – “Marco goes around like a man, nobody kids Marco”. This example of aggression/hostility towards Rodolfo may also stem from the fact that he is jealous that Catherine is attracted to Rodolfo. Beatrice appears to realise this when she tells Eddie that he’s “just jealous”. This contrasts with when Marco challenges Eddie to a test of raw strength and Marco is distinctly blunt about the fact that he will not be intimidated by Eddie’s aggression – “Can you lift this chair? ” he asked Eddie.
After Marco wins this ‘contest’, Eddie responds with anger (“Eddie’s grin vanishes”), as opposed to a “gleam and a smile” from Rodolfo when Eddie staggered him (when teaching him to box). It is also apparent that the female characters are also responsible for the tragedy of the play. Beatrice knows this and it is shown when she says “Whatever happened we all done it, and don’t you ever forget it, Catherine. ” Later on Catherine also comes to this realisation just before Eddie’s death when she tells him “I never meant to do nothing bad to you.
” Catherine wanted to be with Rodolfo, against her guardian’s wishes, which ultimately lead to Eddie reporting the two immigrants and hence, his death. As well as this, it was Beatrice who fuelled Catherine with the desire to leave for Rodolfo, shown by the quote “You’re a woman, that’s all, and you got a nice boy, and now the time came when you said good-bye. All right? ” The language used by various characters also helps to reflect the attitudes and emotions of the characters. Eddie uses colloquial sentences, which are generally short.
This reflects that he is uneducated and hence his unwillingness to think through the consequences of his actions as well as going some way to explaining his hostility and willingness to use physical violence. This is epitomised by the statement “I don’t think you listening to me anymore. ” Rodolfo is able to gain people’s attention by making them laugh as well as having the ability to help conversation – “There is one. We push that too. (They laugh. ) Everything in our town, you gotta push! ” Rodolfo also spoke in his second tongue, a reflection upon the fact that he is a cultured and somewhat well-educated individual.
His friendly and caring attitude is reflected by in numerous circumstances, including when Eddie refuses to acknowledge him but he continues his conversation and makes attempts to talk to him. Another occasion was when Eddie punched him (seemingly by accident), Rodolfo simply replies with a smile. Had it been one of the other male characters who had been punched, they would have most likely retaliated or escalated the situation as we saw in the ‘chair’ incident as well as the tragic ending.
Because ‘A View From the Bridge’ was written to be performed, it would not be appropriate if I did not cover the effects of various dramatic features used. In particular the ending in which Marco stabs Eddie with his own knife (which he is still holding) has a sense of irony about it because this reflects how Eddie brought this upon himself. Here, Eddie also ‘falls to his knees before Marco’, which represents how the ‘bigger man won’. It is the final blow to Eddie’s position of authority, which had been gradually diminishing ever since Catherine managed to get a job.
It is also a reflection of how Eddie’s idea of justice which involves aggression and hostility lead to his eventual demise. Aggression, manliness and hostility are also tools that are used by Arthur Miller to create the tragedy. Miller was heavily influenced by Greek tragedies, which all involve tragic heroes with a fatal flaw that leads to their eventual demise. In this case, Eddie was the tragic hero and he had a number of fatal flaws, including his belief of what it means to be a man and, possibly, his love for his niece (Catherine).
In 1950s New York there was much talk of urban warfare between rival American-Italian gangs. The vicious grudges between these gangs may well have been the inspiration for Eddie Carbone’s hostility and aggression. The American-Italian gang mentality may also have been the reason for Marco’s challenging Eddie to lift the chair, because gang members were expected to stand up for each other, similar to what Marco was doing for Rodolfo (after Eddie hit him during the boxing).
People had come from places such as Italy in the belief that American pavements were metaphorically paved with gold, in the belief that people of any background could come to America, make their fortune and live happily ever after. Instead many found themselves hiding away, working in dead end jobs and often getting involved with gang warfare. This mirrors the plight of Marco and Rodolfo who came to make money but instead found themselves working at docks and, ultimately, resorting to murder. In conclusion, Eddie has a certain belief of what he expects a man to be like and Rodolfo does not conform to these, resulting in Eddie’s mocking him.
Marco conformed to this view and it turned out that he was more of a man than Eddie, resulting in Eddie’s demise. However, it is not only down to the male characters for the play’s tragedy, because it was due to Catherine’s attraction to Rodolfo and Beatrice’s encouragement of her that lead to Eddie’s eventual demise. Arthur Miller has used language to reinforce the play’s characters. Moreover, there are dramatic effects to further the key ideas of manliness aggression and hostility. These ideas may also have derived from 1950s American-Italian gang culture.