The Importance Of Dramatic Tension In Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge

4436 words - 18 pages

The Importance of Dramatic Tension in Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge

Throughout A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller creates and sustains
dramatic tension to keep the audience’s attention. He also uses
dramatic tension to guide and provoke the audience’s thoughts and
responses towards A View from the Bridge. He does this by using
different techniques, for example, posing unanswered questions in the
audience’s mind and using dramatic pauses. Arthur Miller also controls
the amount of tension between the characters to create highs and lows
in the plot on stage, but in fact could effectively raise the
awareness of the audience of the underlying tension suppressed between
the characters.

A View from the Bridge in told a series of flashback in the point of
view of Alfieri, the lawyer and the narrator of the play. In the
beginning of the play, he already mentions that the course of events
are not pleasant in his opening speech:

“…as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course.”

This prepares the audience for the opening of the play, in which we
immediately the primary cause of tension in the play, Eddie’s
over-protection of Catherine when they discuss a job opportunity as he
says:

“You’re a baby, you don’t understand these things.”

This clearly shows his underestimation of Catherine and the whole
conversation shows his affection and self-inflicted responsibility for
Catherine.

This continues throughout Act I despite Catherine’s growth in
character, as there are many accounts of conflict between Eddie and
Beatrice and between Eddie and Rodolfo over Rodolfo and Catherine’s
relationship. Eddie shows his contempt for Rodolfo by saying:

“He don’t respect you…he’s only bowin’ to his passport.”

Eddie is against Catherine and Rodolfo’s relationship, and ends up
arguing with everyone over it, including his much-loved niece. He
tries at every chance to criticise Rodolfo, who he doesn’t trust to be
able to love Catherine like he does.

By Act II, all the problems of the play have been set out and it
reaches a climax, and different characters take different actions to
solve their personal problems. For example, Eddie reports to the
Immigration Bureau. He only did this on account that Alfieri had told
him no law would protect Catherine against Rodolfo, so he reports
Rodolfo in order to “regain” Catherine. However, the audience knows
this would just result in more conflict as Catherine and Rodolfo
announce their plans to marry. The audience can tell Eddie’s regret of
reporting Marco and Rodolfo when he says:

“Go up the fire escape, get them out over the back fence,”

This shows Eddie is feeling guilty as he says this before anybody
knows the immigration officers are arriving and also shows his desire
for Marco and Rodolfo to escape. However, his...

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