A View From The Bridge

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  • A View From The Bridge
    • Author
      • Arthur Miller
    • Little facts
      • Written in...
        • America
        • 1950
      • Published in 1955, revised 1957
      • Tense
    • Good Resources
    • Setting
      • 1940–1960
      • Brooklyn, NY
    • Characters
      • Marco
      • Rodolfo
        • full-blooded Italian, and the greatest threat to E
        • Unlike B and C, who we hear talking together about their thoughts and feelings, R reveals little about himself
          • The audience really never even knows if R truly loves C. Their romance is curiously devoid of passion.
            • Unlike M, R does not seek revenge on E for calling Immigration or abusing his fiance in front of him
              • R wants to be an American citizen at all costs and there is a great possibility that he does not love C
      • Beatrice
      • Eddie
        • Tragic protaganist
        • Eddie does not comprehend his feelings for C until B says at the end of the play, "You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her!"
          • E dosen't know his feelings for C because he has constructed an imagined world to suppress his urges.
            • This suppression is what devastates Eddie. Because he has no outlet for his feelings—even in his own conscious mind—Eddie transfers his energy to a hatred of Marco and Rodolpho and causes him to act completely irrationally.
          • This suppression is what devastates Eddie. Because he has no outlet for his feelings—even in his own conscious mind—Eddie transfers his energy to a hatred of Marco and Rodolpho and causes him to act completely irrationally.
        • E dosen't know his feelings for C because he has constructed an imagined world to suppress his urges.
          • Eddie's tragic flaw is the bubble, the constructed world he exists within, but is unable to escape or recognize.
            • This connects to Miller's fascination with Greek Tragedy - usually, the protaganist has a tragic flaw which ultimately ends up in their death.
        • Catherine
        • Alfieri
          • A is the symbolic bridge between American law and italian community laws
            • A, an Italian-American, is true to his ethnic identity
              • He is a well-educated man who studies and respects American law, but is still loyal to Italian customs.
          • He is the narrator of the play - because of this, and his ethnic identity, he is the 'View From The Bridge' that the title speaks of.
          • A admittedly cannot help E, but must powerlessly watch the tragic events unfold before him
            • ‘another lawyer, quite differently dressed, heard the same complaint and sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course.’
              • This is also foreshadowing of the end of the play.
              • This shows that he also has quite a bit of a connection to the past.
      • Plot Summary
        • Eddie and his wife Beatrice house illegal immigrant cousins from Italy. When one of the cousins falls in love with Catherine, whom Eddie has incestuous desires for, Eddie betrays his family and calls Immigration to stop the marriage of his niece and cousin.
        • Rising action
          • E is protective of C, R and C fall in love, E is determined to stop the marriage.
        • Climax
          • The Immigration Bureau comes to arrest M and R
        • Falling action
          • A pays bail for M and R, the day of C and R's marriage M kills E.
        • Foreshadowing
          • Eddie tells the story of Vinny Bolzano, a boy who ratted on his family to Immigration; Alfieri's speeches
      • Key Scenes
        • Cigar scene
          • When C lights E's cigar in the living room, it gives E pleasure. This possibly warm and affectionate act between niece and uncle has phallic suggestions.
      • Important Quotes
        • Just remember, kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a word that you gave away.
          • This quote reveals the irony and madness of Eddie's character
            • E lectures C about how they must tell no one about M and R.
              • However, in the end of the play, E obviously calls Immigration on these cousins, just like Vinny Balzano
                • Miller sets up E so furiously against betrayal that his transition to the betrayer seems illogical. The set-up requires Eddie to undergo a drastic change, if not complete breakdown, within the play to make such a transition.
                  • The force of this transition reveals no only his self-destructive madness, but the deepness of his unspoken love for his niece
          • This quote also reveals that E knows his own fate—he knows what will happen to him, but cannot escape it
            • Much like A, E watches himself make decisions he knows will not only ruin his reputation in the community, but also possibly kill him. E may know the consequence of what he does, but remains powerless or too mad to stop it.
        • His eyes were like tunnels; my first thought was that he had committed a crime, but soon I saw it was only a passion that had moved into his body, like a stranger.
          • A almost seems to fear E as a paranormal beast, a remnant of the great Greek tragedy.
            • The passion that A describes is the passion for C. The passion, unreleased and suppressed in his unconscious was a stranger to E's conscious self that actively denied any thoughts of incest or otherwise.
              • This quote also reveals the style of A. A tells the tale of E as if he is a legend. E is described with dramatic and literary descriptions that are unusual in the dramatic form.
        • Eddie: Then why—Oh, B.! Beatrice: Yes, yes! Eddie: My B.!
          • As Eddie lies dying in Beatrice's arms, the couple finds some sort of reconciliation and repair of their torn and battered relationship. Beatrice, even under such horrible circumstances, is able to forgive Eddie
            • Eddie constantly dominates Beatrice throughout the play, but in this tiny moment Eddie needs Beatrice more than she needs him. It is the first time the audience hears that Eddie needs and it is the first time that he honestly needs Beatrice.
              • She is terribly jealous of her niece, who receives more attention from her husband than she does, but still forgives Eddie in the end
        • You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her!
          • This is the first time that E seems to realize his true feelings for C and recognize his own madness. Until this moment, no one has directly spoken about E's feelings for C.
            • Although they are obviously known by B and A, no one has dared to actually tell E what is wrong with him. But even when E realizes his love for his niece, he is powerless to stop it.
              • E lunges forward and attempts to kill M. In this moment of Sicilian revenge, E cannot pull himself back or regain any sense of reason.
                • Perhaps even the recognition of the sexual taboo makes E even more determined to seek revenge or at least find some sort of success or honour in his death.
                  • E does not even have the power to deny B's claim, but instead follows through his destructive path. This moment may bring E out of his madness enough to lie in B's arms as he dies. Once he has recognized his sinful love for C, E seems to find himself once again—which may explain why he is able to reconcile his relationship with B.
        • Most of the time we settle for half and I like it better. Even as I know how wrong he was, and his death useless, I tremble, for I confess that something perversely pure calls to me from his memory—not purely good, but himself purely And yet, it is better to settle for half, it must be! And so I mourn him—I admit it—with a certain alarm.
          • This quote deals with the central conflict of A View from the Bridge: the self will vs the will of the community. The whole man that A describes in E is the self-interested man. E's actions within the play are completely motivated by his own desires at the expense of others. Thus, humans must act halfway to preserve the rules of the community and lives of others.
            • The idea that A suggests, that E acted as a whole person, unrestrained and uninhibited is true. However, E's wholeness was at the expense of his own family and eventually himself.
              • He only escaped restraint because he escaped consideration of other people or the community at large. E's wholeness is a whole interest in his own life. His tragic flaw is this self-interest—a flaw that seems both admirable and alarming to A.

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