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A View From The Bridge Arthur Miller

1699 words - 7 pages

A View From the Bridge

'He's like a weird'. This opinion of Rodolfo expressed by Eddie
encapsulates the main theme of the 20th century play, 'A View From the
Bridge', by Arthur Miller. Rodolfo is subject to Eddie's hostile
feelings towards him, emotions like abhorrence, resentment, jealousy
and aggression. Eddie's belief in manliness and masochistic behaviour
is one explanation why he detests Rodolfo with such vehemence. To
Eddie Carbone, Rodolfo is the exact opposite of his ideals. He has
effeminate attributes; he can sing, dance, and make dresses. These all
seem to anger Eddie but ridiculously, it seems that Rodolfo's blond
hair seems to irritate Eddie especially; he seems to think that it
proves that Rodolfo 'ain't right', and is therefore a homosexual. All
these characteristics that Rodolfo possesses are alien to Eddie, who
has been brought up uneducated. He believes in the idea that men
should be strong, masculine, and the 'bread-winners' of a household.

Although Rodolfo does not conform to this description, his older
brother, Marco, does. In the very last scene of Act 1, Marco exposes
his superior strength by questioning Eddie; 'Can you lift this chair?'
Eddie can't; 'Gee, that's hard'. Marco then lifts the chair above his
head with 'a smile of triumph'. This instils wariness into Eddie,
making him feel uncomfortable in realising that he is no longer the
most powerful man in the house. If he aggravates Rodolfo, Marco, as
his older brother, will defend him with whatever means he can. This is
one of the reasons that cause tension in the Carbone household, but
mainly it is the chemistry between Catherine and Rodolfo that gives
rise to strain.

As soon as Beatrice's cousins enter the house, the attraction between
Catherine and Rodolfo is apparent to all, Eddie especially. From the
first moment Catherine lays eyes on Rodolfo she asks wondrously about
his blond hair, 'How come he's so dark and your so light, Rodolfo?'
The second direct question that she asks him is whether he is married
or not. Soon after, Rodolfo begins to sing at Catherine's request, who
remarks that 'He's terrific!', which unnerves Eddie. He stops him
singing by scaring him into thinking he'll draw attention to himself
and get discovered by the authorities; 'They got guys all over the
place.'

Rodolfo's modernity angers Eddie because he is scared of the unknown,
and will only accept that someone is normal if they conform to his
ideas of 'normality'. Rodolfo's effeminacy makes him an easy target
for Eddie; it's not just jealousy that makes Eddie despise him with
such a passion, and Eddie uses this as an excuse to hide his real
reason for refusing to support the union of the two lovers. Also,
Catherine's affection for Rodolfo highlights how she likes things that
Eddie doesn't like, making him realise that he is more out of touch
with her than he realises. This scares him, and makes him recognize
that he cannot control or know...

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