How the Structure of A View From The Bridge Helps us Understand the Tragedy of Eddie Carbone
Arthur Miller in recent years has become one of the world's most
important and influential playwrights. The plays he produces give a
deep understanding of how the characters think. Especially when they
find themselves in awkward or bad situations, such as, misplaced love.
The play, which this essay is going to investigate, is 'A View From
The Bridge'. This is one of many which Miller has written. However it
is very different. Miller had set himself a task, to write a Modern
Greek tragedy. Greek tragedies feature around a hero who has a fatal
flaw, which leads to his or her death.
Throughout 'A View From The Bridge' there are several elements that
resemble Greek drama. Eddie is the tragic, mad character who is
helpless in the face of his own terrible fate. Alfieri acts as the
chorus in the play. He provides commentary on the action of the drama.
Eddie Carbone is an epic character; he makes bold moves and does
things that are completely out of the ordinary.
It is evident from the beginning of 'A View From The Bridge' that it
will end in a tragedy.
Alfieri is a lawyer in his fifties who works for the Sicilian
community in Brooklyn. He opens the play with a concise but full
account of what life used to be like and is like in that particular
community. The audience knows from that speech everything about
Alfieri and about the community in Red Hook. He launches into graphic
detail about past gangsters and murders and about how justice is very
important to the Italians. The community is the 'Gullet of New York',
which is swallowing the tonnage of the world. Alfieri speaks as though
Red Hook has swallowed up all the complication of the world, and is
now reduced to a slum. This creates a vivid mental picture and
therefore invents the ideal environment for tragic goings on. Alfieri
also utters an intriguing statement, 'Now we settle for half'. This
claim gives the impression that in this Italian community pride and
justice is fierce and that no one will settle for half of what they
believe is right. He also wonders if there is another unfortunate
lawyer sitting back, unable to do anything as the events, 'Run their
bloody course'. The reference to blood creates another question,
whether blood will be shed. Alfieri is essential to the structure of
the play, as he opens and closes the play.
The structure of the play is very important to the content of the
play. The story is set out in two very definite acts. This is
important to the audience, and our understanding of the play.
The title of the play can have two possible meanings. 'Bridge' may
mean that Alfieri is providing us with a view from on top of 'Brooklyn
Bridge'. However 'Bridge' can also mean the bridge between the