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Tension In Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge

2749 words - 11 pages

Tension in Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge

In “A View From the Bridge”, Arthur Miller explores a variety of
themes in the relationships between the main characters in order to
build tension for the audience. Firstly, through Eddie’s talk with
Alfieri, we can see that he is jealous of Rodolfo’s relationship with
Catherine, and his eventual loss of authority in his own house leads
to anger and a desire to once again become the stereotypical alpha
male. This creates tension because the audience knows that he will
want his authority back, and as he gets more and more desperate, the
audience may think that he would do anything to regain control over
his household. Secondly, although early in the play Eddie appears to
be overprotective of Catherine, the audience grows to see his hidden
love for her, and he becomes either blind of his obsession with her,
or just does not want to admit/see it. This helps to create tension
because the suggestion of incest is highly tabooed in modern society,
and the audience does not know if Eddie will act on his feelings.
Moreover, there is more tension built in Eddie’s relationship with
Marco, as Eddie and the audience both have a moment of realisation at
the very end of the first act that Eddie has met his match, and is
once again fearful of appearing less masculine, and at the same time
it makes him even more angry that his pride has been dented. Lastly,
the love in the relationship between Rodolfo and Catherine creates
immense amounts of tension as Eddie is completely against it, but they
almost seem to taunt him with it regardless, and the audience knows
that this incessant taunting and tragic inevitability will eventually
lead to Eddie’s downfall.

Miller shows that Eddie is desperate to discredit Rodolfo, and may
intend to do this at any cost. In Rodolfo's case, he quickly finds
several "reasons" - Rodolfo is slightly-built, blond, a good singer
and dancer, and he can cook and make dresses. Moreover, Mike and Louis
seem to share this view: "He comes around, everybody's laughing," Mike
is shown to say. The stage directions indicate multiple times that
Mike and Louis laugh, and finally, they "explode in laughter". This
creates tension because if people find out that the person they laugh
at is related to Eddie, then it will lower people’s opinions on
himself too, and the audience knows he does not want this. After this,
is shown to tell Catherine that Rodolfo is a "hit-and-run guy" and
"only bowing to his passport". This creates tension because there is a
sense of him abusing his power and the trust that Catherine has in
him, and the audience does not know if she will realize this or what
course of action she will take if she does. She protests disbelief but
is clearly shaken until Beatrice reassures her. We can tell that she
trusts Beatrice...

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