Arthur Miller intended ‘The View from the Bridge’ to be a Modern Greek tragedy. It explores many characteristics throughout the play; Justice, jealousy, distrust, insecurity and betrayal. The main figure is Eddie Carbone. He works at the docks in down town New York. The play is based around him, his possessive actions and his family. When Eddie allows his wifes’ (Beatrice) cousins, Marco and Rodolfo, to illegally stay at their home things in the Carbone household dramatically change for the worst.
When Catherine (Eddies’ niece) falls in love with Rodolfo he immediately regrets his decision which creates a sudden shift in Eddies personality, thus causing friction between him and the rest of his family. My chosen scene, which I shall be concentrating on during this essay, is where Eddies attacks Catherine and Rodolfo. This scene is very important to the play because it shows Eddies bottled up feelings towards Catherine and Rodolfo. This strikes a lot of the main themes to come about later on in the play and causes a lot of complications in Eddies’ life.
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This may be one of the main factors for Eddies’ death. In the beginning of Act Two Alfieri sets the next scene by telling the audience why Rodolfo hasn’t been hired for this particular day. Alfieri explains that, “a case of Scotch whiskey slipped from a net while being unloaded” and that “the boy hadn’t been hired today”. I think Alfieri calls Rodolfo a boy instead of a man because he is dating Catherine. He probably thinks of Catherine as a child, like Eddie does, because Eddie is always talking about her as if she is younger than her years. Therefore, Rodolfo gets ‘tarred with the same brush’.
When the light rises on Catherine, Arthur Miller’s stage directions state that Rodolfo is watching Catherine “as she arranges a paper pattern on cloth spread on the table”. This indicates that Catherine is really trying to impress Rodolfo that she is really making an effort to show him her maturity by making her own clothes, to show she is capable. Rodolfo is perhaps reflecting on the situation with him and Catherine. When the dialogue begins it is clear things are quite uneasy (presumably because they are alone for the first time in the house together) with the conversation being fairly tense and formal.
“Catherine ~ You hungry? Rodolfo ~ Not for anything to eat I have nearly three hundred dollars. Catherine? Catherine ~ I heard you. ” This subtly suggests to the audience that there may be an argument between the couple by the way there is a pause and Catherine’s surprised yet moody reaction to his bold, unflattering statement. The way he openly suggests money when he is referring to sex makes it sound as if he is using her, which Eddie has been telling her all along.
Rodolfo is pressurising Catherine with so many frank questions and forces her to ask Rodolfo a question that has been on her mind. “Catherine ~ I been wantin’ to ask you about something. Could I? Catherine ~ Suppose I wanted to live in Italy. ” Rodolfo is trying to get Catherine to open up to him but she keeps quiet. As the scene begins to unravel, Rodolfo thinks Catherine is joking about her wanting to live in Italy. When he realises that Catherine is being serious the humour swiftly turns to a sombre mood. When Catherine brings up marriage and wanting to live in Italy with him.
Rodolfo asks a series of questions because he can’t quite believe she is being serious, “You want to be an Italian? “, “Forever? ” and “Where did you get such an idea? ” Catherine confirms all the uncertain questions by telling him she “means it”. Rodolfo tells Catherine she is fooling him and tries hard to put her off the whole concept of moving to Italy. He tells her the plain truth of what it is really like over in Italy and that it isn’t what she thinks it is. RodoIfo seems to question Catherine after every sentence and obviously tries to change her mind.
I think Catherine is getting irritated at this point because he isn’t taking her seriously, treating her like a child. This could be linked to Eddies’ idea of Rodolfo using Catherine to get an American passport. Rodolfo evidently trying to put Catherine off can support this but we never find out at the end. It is a theory left with the audience so they can decide. Yet she still is acting on being nai?? ve. Examples of this are; “I know, but I think we will be happier there. ” and, “Maybe you could be a singer, like in Rome or-“.
I think by this point her idea has been completely smashed to pieces, because Rodolfo has justified each of her immature notions by telling her ‘how it is’. This goes on until Rodolfo has had enough. He still tries to be polite. The audience might take sides as to who is right in this dispute and feel very sympathetic towards Catherine because she is so ‘innocent’ yet might support Rodolfo because it is a bad idea to live in Italy at this time. She has no other option but to tell him the honest truth about how she is feeling.