Creating Tension And Presenting The Themes In A View From The Bridge

3441 words - 14 pages

Creating Tension and Presenting the Themes in A View from the Bridge

Miller uses the climax of act 1 to create tension for the audience
through the acting and the situation the characters are in, and to
present the key themes of the play to the audience. Firstly, he uses
dramatic irony to give the audience an insight into how the story is
going to end, which creates frustration and tension for them, as
although they can see how the story is developing, the characters
can’t, this ties in with the theme of a Greek tragedy where there is a
predestined conclusion. He uses the fact that in the 1950’s and
especially in dockside and urban households, masculinity and being the
‘man of the house’ was a huge part of family life. He combines this
with Eddies desire to control and obsession with authority, to put the
audience on a knife-edge, as to when one of the characters will lose
control and lash out. Miller also expands on the situation of
relationships in the play, both within the family, and outside. This
ties in with Eddie’s apparently incestuous feelings for Catherine, and
this creates suspense and tension throughout the audience, as they
don’t know what is going to happen about it. Stage Directions, play a
large part of ‘A View From The Bridge’, as they give it the final
touches which create tension for both the characters and the audience,
they help show what a character is feeling, which allows the audience
to empathize with the character, making it all the more believable and
therefore creating more tension as they want to know what will happen.
Alfieri’s monologue is also a main contributing factor to the tension,
which slowly builds throughout the entire scene. The audience share
Alfieri’s perspective, which creates tension as they feel more
sympathy for the characters as they are watching the play in what
surmounts to a series of flashbacks, with a predetermined conclusion,
so they know the ending, while the characters do not, causing a
feeling of frustration.

The use of Alferi’s Monologue right at the beginning of the scene we
are studying helps to create tension right from the very start. The
line, “I could have finished the whole story that afternoon. It wasn’t
as though there was a mystery to solve” shows that he knows what is
going to happen and that he does not think that there is any mystery
in it and that it is a very definite ending. The fact that he “could
have finished the story that afternoon” may mean that it is quite
direct and that Eddie will finally snap. The entire speech by Alferi
is moving the story along and is creating anticipation for the
audience by showing them a sense of tragic inevitability, although
they do not know exactly what the out come will be. This has
connotations of a Greek tragedy, whereby the main character is brought
down by misfortune caused by a mistake made by them. At the beginning
of his talk with Alferi, Eddie is said to have “eyes like tunnels,”

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