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A View From A Bridge Dramatic Techniques

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How does Arthur Miller successfully engage an audience with

"A play with no surprise"?

A view from a bridge is a play written by Arthur Miller in the 1950's. Miller wrote the play as a modern day Greek tragedy in New York Brooklyn. Arthur Miller captures the audience with a true story twisted in his own words from which emerge the controversial ideas of incest, cultural obligation and masculinity. The part in the play where Alfieri mentions 'it is not what but how' means that even though we know the end result its how the end result happens in such an unexpected but inevitable way that it grips us and leaves us in shock even after the end.

The play is set in a ghetto community of Sicilian Italians. Most Italians at that time lived in poorer areas rather than regular Americans who lived in richer areas. During the 1950's the Italians that lived in America had working class jobs. Miller was studying the lives of dockworkers and longshoremen in Brooklyn's harbour. The characters in Millers play also work as dockworkers. In the play women stayed at home cooked, cleaned and raised the children the men where breadwinners they would work take lead of the family. This idea of men being the lead and women being a mediocre compared to men, was part of Italian culture. This idea is quite controversial in Act 2, as it is Beatrice who recognises Eddie's feelings for Catherine, and it is also Beatrice who stops him from going any further.

Most of the Italians in A view from a bridge are immigrants who had come to seek the American dream. The American dream in their mind was a good job that had a high income. Many of the immigrants lived illegally. Every Italian with or without any relation (to the immigrant) was to remain silent about the matter. This was another aspect about Sicilian code of honour. Italians would come to America to find work, to live a good life, to earn a decent living. A quotation to show why immigrants come to America 'Me, yes forever me I want to be an American and then I want to go back to Italy and buy a motorcycle' this statement by Rodolfo shows that he thinks that America is a land of opportunities and can earn enough money for himself.

A view from the Bridge is written in the style of a Geek Tragedy. Greek tragedies are made up of a main character who suffers a downfall because of a fault in themselves. The protagonist Eddie suffers a downfall because of a fault in him. Eddie is unable to recognise his growing feelings for Catherine. Eddie is a longshoreman with a normal life; another aspect of a Greek tragedy is that the protagonist is often an ordinary character. A Greek tragedy would usually have a chorus or narrator to introduce and take the audience through the play. Alfieri is the chorus at the beginning; he observes the characters and narrates the play throughout. The theme of betrayal is strong in Greeks tragedies; Eddie betrays the Italian culture by giving Rodolfo and Marco's names to the immigration Bureau.

Alfieri is chorus he narrates the play. He is also a character in the play. Alfieri immediately starts the play and creates the atmosphere. Alfieri starts the play with the opening speech. 'You see how uneasily they nod to me, that's because I'm a lawyer', Alfieri has now established he is a lawyer.' We're only thought of in connection with disasters' this quote shows us that people in the play have a very set way of thinking also that the play holds tragedies. 'I often think that behind that suspicious little nod of theirs lies three thousand years of distrust' the way Arthur Millers uses the word suspicious and distrust adds tension to the atmosphere. This statement also tells us that the play is going to be about ordinary people and their lives. 'Justice is very important here' Arthur Miller mentions this after law, to show us that law and justice are too different things. This creates tension because he has mentioned Italians having their own Idea of fairness. Alfieri is pretty much the source of Dramatic irony 'and watched its bloody course' Miller uses the word bloody to indicate death, and that it is a tragic story.

Alfieri acts as a cultural link, on one side he is familiar with American Law and on the other he recognizes Italian Justice. Alfieri represents law; he explains law within the Italian community. Even though he is a lawyer he recognises that law and justice are two different ideas. 'Who were justly shot by unjust men' he knows there is a rule for equality. His main objective is too observe the characters and to act as a guide to them. The title A view from the bridge is supposed to be the view of what Alfieri examines. Alfieri places the events of the play in order so that the audience can understand it. 'Now we settle for half' Alfieri realises that law cannot solve everything, that it is better to settle for half because the search for absolute justice leads to deplorable consequences. It is Alfieri who makes Eddie a hero, he admires Eddie 'he allowed himself to be wholly known'. 'And his death useless' it is here that Alfieri points out Eddie's innocence and how his death solved nothing.

Eddie is the protagonist and a classic tragic hero. It was common for the tragic hero to be someone ordinary and not of high birth. Eddie is a longshoreman his character is generally decent, loving and responsible. Throughout the play he is protective towards Catherine 'I'm responsible for you', 'she's gonna finish school'. During the play we see Eddies character obsessing with Catherine. He soon becomes sexually attracted to her, and is unable to recognise it. Eddie is a tragic hero because he could not comprehend his feelings nor try to stop them. Rodolfo's behaviour unsettles Eddie; he does not understand why Rodolfo is so feminine. 'One two three he makes a new dress I mean he looked so sweet there-like an angel-you could kiss him he was so sweet'. Eddie says this almost incoherently. It shows the audience that he fails to recognise what he really feels. Eddie could not admit that he is jealous of Rodolfo and sees him as a sexual rival. When Eddie is confused he fails to accept anything other than his own simple measure of masculinity.

Eddie fits the role of a tragic hero because he is a good man at heart. He is ignorant of his feelings and lacks the decency to let go of what he wants. He makes an error of judgment about Rodolfo. He does not realise his mistake until the end, and it is too late to change what he has done. Alfieri's speech draws the audience to pity. 'For he allowed himself to be wholly known



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