A View From The Bridge: Love As The Key To The Story
Miller presents many different forms of love in the play. The love in the play has been the key to the story and provides a storyline for the play.
The first type of love is romantic love. This is shown by Eddie and Beatrice. They are a married couple and showed deep romance. At first, Eddie was caring towards Beatrice, as shown in his dialogue with her. “Now wait a minute, Beatrice! I just don’t want you bein’ pushed around, that’s all. You got too big a heart.” They have been married for a long time, and they do not have any children.
In the middle of the play, their love sours, as Eddie was attracted to Catherine. Nonetheless, at the end of the play, their love resumes and they try to talk things out. Although Beatrice wants to attend Catherine’s wedding, she chooses to stay at home to accompany Eddie as her love for him is very strong. Eddie then chooses to go to the wedding if Marco apologises. However, we would never know if the relationship is going to work out, as he was killed at the end.
Another type of love is the relationship between uncle and niece. This is the type of love between Eddie and Catherine. Eddie, undeniably, has an obsession with Catherine. He has said many things to Catherine, including “Listen, you have been givin’ me the willies the way you walk down the street, I mean it”. This clearly shows that Eddie has some sort of infatuation with Catherine.
However, the relationship between them is only familial. Although they live together, they are not very close in the family tree. This type of comment is not something that one would describe their niece. It is also not conventional.
Eddie has also tried very hard to prevent Catherine from marrying Rodolpho. He has visited the lawyer, Alfieri, many times to see whether he could find any way to prevent the relationship between Catherine and Rodolpho. Eddie was told, “there’s nothing illegal about a girl falling in love with an immigrant.” Eddie tried to justify by saying that he was gay, by telling Alfieri “He’s a blond guy. Like… platinum. You know what I mean?” He also says many times that “he ain’t right”, still trying to persuade Alfieri that something is wrong with Rodolpho.
Alfieri asked him one thing, which was the way they entered America. Eddie knows that they entered illegally, but claims that “I wouldn’t do anything about that”. It was probably because most people in their neighbourhood were Italian immigrants as well, and many people probably entered illegally. Calling the immigration authorities to report the immigrants would be very bad in their neighbourhood, and would lead to Eddie being hatred across the area.
However, after he saw Rodolpho and Catherine engaging in physical love, he went to the lawyer again. He tells Eddie that he cannot prevent them from doing whatever Catherine wants to do. But because of his hatred towards Rodolpho has increased significantly, he chose to call the immigration authorities to report Rodolpho. When he sees a phone in sight, he says “Give me the number of the Immigration Bureau. He dials. I want to report something. Illegal immigrants”. The swift and immediate response shows that he wanted to do this all along, but hesitated, eventually, he went for it and called on them.
Beatrice has also told Eddie to stop Catherine from doing whatever she wants, as she is a grown-up already. However, Eddie keeps trying to give excuses to prevent that. One example is “Katie, I promised your mother on her deathbed. I’m responsible for you. You’re a baby, you don’t understand these things”. Eddie is trying his hardest to persuade Catherine to listen to him and prevent her from leaving, or doing the things she likes.
Eddie has shown jealousy towards Rodolpho. In Act 2, before they get married, he says “He gives me the heeby-jeebies the first minute I saw him”. This further reiterates the fact that he dislikes Rodolpho, and is using this as an excuse to prevent her from leaving.
Eddie’s love for Catherine has also taken a toll on his marriage with Beatrice. They had arguments regarding the treatment of Catherine. Eddie has also been neglecting Beatrice, as she asked him “When am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?” It was then revealed that they did not have sex for three months, and Eddie still tried to avoid the question. Their relationship soured.
Another type of love is the brotherly love between Marco and Rodolpho. Marco is older, so he takes care of Rodolpho on the way from Italy to the US. They do many things that symbolise their relationship, from hugging each other as seen in the stage direction “Marco puts an arm around Rodolpho and they laugh.” Marco has a family in Sicily but is willing to give it up for a better future.
Marco did not have a long time in the US. He was eventually deported back to Sicily as he did not fulfil the immigration requirements. Eddie called on the immigration authorities to get him deported. However, Rodolpho remained. Marco was delighted that Rodolpho could fulfil his dreams, and was very happy for him. Marco says “Well – we did something.” The stage direction also wrote, “He lays a palm on Rodolpho’s arm and Rodolpho covers it”. This shows the very strong brotherly love between them, and one would be willing to sacrifice for the other brother.
Beatrice also showed maternal love towards Catherine. Although they are not mother and son, she still cares a lot for her. One example is preventing Eddie from taking advantage of her. She has told Eddie many times that she is old enough to do whatever she wants. “You’re not a baby anymore”, “You still think you’re a little girl” and “Because you think you’re a baby” shows clearly that Beatrice is encouraging Catherine to do whatever she wants.
She is also contradicting Eddie in every way. At the beginning of the play, Eddie tried to prevent Catherine from getting a job. Beatrice always supported her, and always wanted her to pursue whatever she wanted. Eddie also does not want Catherine to get married. As we can see, Beatrice is very supportive, and acts as the mother of Catherine, although she is just an aunt.
The last type of love shown is the early love between Rodolpho and Catherine. The two of them liked each other from the beginning. Catherine showed feelings for him at the start of the play. “you married too? No.” confirms suspicions that Catherine had regarding Rodolpho’s relationship status, and “He’s a real blond” shows that Catherine found him attractive.
Rodolpho also says many things to Catherine. He says “I want to be an American. And then I want to go back to Italy when I am rich, and I will buy a motorcycle”. This gets Catherine excited, and exclaimed “a motorcycle!”. This is an example of Rodolpho flirting with Catherine and shows deep love between the two.
Eventually, Rodolpho and Catherine decide to have sex. Catherine says “Hold me”. Rodolpho replies “Oh my little girl”, meaning that this was their first time, and deepens the relationship that they have.
In the 1950s, young Italian Catholics probably did not have sex before. They would not have sex with anyone unless they are a devoted couple, and are truly dedicated to each other. With this context, it shows clearly that the two of them like each other, and would like to get married in the near future.
Later in the act, Eddie again persuades her to refrain from Rodolpho. However, Catherine reiterates that she has made up her mind, saying “I made up my mind”. Eddie continues to question her claim, but she holds her ground and says again “I don’t want anybody else”. This shows their love has already strengthened, and nothing is going to stop them from getting married.