A View From The Bridge: Relationships Between Characters
The play A View From The Bridge, written by Arthur Miller, is about a longshoreman who welcomes his wife’s cousins as illegal immigrants. However, as the play develops, Eddie becomes jealous of his niece and Rodolpho, which causes the relationship between Eddie; a man with a strong sense of decency and Marco; a man with a strong sense of protection, to get worse.
Before the arrival of Marco and Rodolpho, Miller presents an Eddie who is not at all convinced of their arrival; this is shown when Eddie doesn’t want to buy a new tablecloth to welcome them, this suggests they are not at all important, therefore they don’t require spending money making them a manorial reception. “I’ll end up on the floor with you, and they’ll be in our bed.” This reveals Eddie’s preoccupation of losing importance in his family due to the arrival of two immigrants taking his possessions away from him forever because the use of the word “floor” indicates minority due to the level where it is found compared with the “bed.”
When Marco and Rodolpho arrive, Miller shows Eddie behaving like a man; demonstrating his matureness. Eddie welcomes and accommodates Marco, “you’re welcome Marco you have plenty of room here” suggesting respect towards Marco as Marco is Eddie’s relative and he should look after him. Eddie gives an image of a friendly, trustworthy person to his wife’s cousins “ Oh, you guys’ll be all right” giving them confidence by means of using the exclamation “oh” that expresses range of emotions; in this case, unconcern. This makes Marco feel completely safe, therefore he sends 20 dollars back home as he thinks he is in a stable condition where he is going to be able to support his family for a long period of time. The first thing Miller makes Marco say to Eddie, was “when you say go, we will go” this demonstrates how important Eddie is for Marco since the use of the pronoun ”you” clearly addresses Eddie. Marco is also positioning Eddie beyond them as Eddie has enlarged the family in an illegal way for a period of time due to the poor quality of life in Italy. As each member of the family gets to know each other, Catherine and Rodolpho fall in love. From this romance, Miller then creates a jealous feeling in Eddie, which leads to some hurtful words towards Marco.”[…] they count the kids and there’s a couple extra then when they left.” This words used by Miller are aiming to insult Marco, suggesting that his wife is having a sexual relationship with other men whilst he is working abroad through the use of the word “kids” which involves pregnancy and family care. However he is not only trying to hurt Marco, but also make a joke on him as Eddie says this words “laughing.” which is also a way to despice and ridicule someone. By these words, Marco realises that Eddie is not that friendly and therefore a sense of discomfort starts in them. For example, later on in their conversation Miller makes Marco answer “cautiously;” which is an allusion to circumspection but also the fact that he is answering with caution also refers to cunning and subtlety by means of a derision. This allusions of Marco created by Miller generate a sense of rivalry towards Eddie as Marco is trying to challenge him through his natural responses but sharp thoughts.
As the play develops, Miller starts to suggest a power battle between Eddie and Marco. They are trying to demonstrate who is greater than the other. Eddie is cunning and he demonstrates this quality of his on various occasions throughout the play. At the end of Act 1 Eddie teaches Rodolpho how to box however it is all a montage; actually he is humiliating his weakness and lack of masculinity in front of his relatives. Miller shows this when Rodolpho is too “embarrassed” to box with Eddie as he is a man and doesn’t know how a men’s sports works. Also, Eddie “mildly staggers Rodolpho,” hurting him as Rodolpho responds with “a certain gleam” which is a gesture of disguised pain. This embarrassment towards Rodolpho makes Marco’s responsibility intervene in Eddie’s malicious actions, leading to the chair scene. Miller decided to include the chair because it creates a conflict between both character which at the end becomes a symbol of masculinity and destruction. The chair in the play, represents strength as it’s an object which is “hard” to lift, converting the chair in a challenging object for Eddie. The chair belongs to Eddie, who is not able to lift the chair, creating discontent in Eddie as he is not capable of lifting his own chair. The fact that is Eddies own chair, creates a rivalry between Eddie and Marco as this feeling is the foreshadow of Eddie’s awareness about losing importance in his family. Miller decided to place the chair scene at the end of act 1, to create a shocking effect as Eddie and Marco end “face to face” which is an action of confrontation and therefore, leave the audience with suspense for the next scene. Nonetheless, Marco is presented by Miller to be as cunning as Eddie, therefore he makes the same move to him. He asks a simple question “Can you lift that chair?” with only one answer; no as it’s a rhetorical question that Eddie is not meant to answer. Yet Eddie doesn’t want to let himself down, as he is completely confident of himself, answering “yes, why not” but not being strong enough to lift it and giving an image of a man with no masculinity. Marco’s play on Eddie, is shown to prove that not only immigrants have lack of masculinity as Eddie is not an immigrant and has no strength to lift a chair, whilst Marco is completely capable of lifting a chair with no difficulty. This clear image shows the audience equality between both Marco and Eddie.
Towards the end of the play, when the tension reaches its peak, Miller shows how Eddie’s jealousy causes him to report his guests to the Immigration office. When Marco finds out that it was Eddie who called the Immigration office, he realises that Eddie’s actions have “killed my children,” converting the scenario into a complete barbarism as the word “killed” involves a strong hurtful action. Therefore, Marco confronts Eddie in front of the whole neighbourhood – causing Eddie’s loss of respect. Marco does this by spitting Eddie the on face which is a gesture of contempt. With this action, Miller decided to demonstrate to the audience, how a high feeling of honour and reputation grows in their relationship. “Marco strikes Eddie beside the neck”; “Eddie rises the knife” this shows how both characters challenge one another, to see who is more trustworthy as the word “strike” implies a painful action, and the word “rise” suggest high sense of honour as its a victorious action. Marco uses verbal conflict “anima-a-l!” to sustain his reputation, by the use of the word “animal,” Marco is showing his wild side as the word “animal” suggests aggressiveness. Eddie defends his honour in a different way; by demanding and ordering actions, “I want my respect”, “I want my name” both this quotations, imply superiority as Edie is demanding Marco his “name” and “respect” which are both personal belongings. By the way of challenging, Miller shows two furious characters who fight for their honour and reputation.
In conclusion, Eddie’s and Marco’s relationship grows rotten as the play develops; this is due to Eddie’s jealousy and Marco’s high sense of protection. Eddie is always demanding respect and talking about family honour however, his actions result him in losing everything he has always loved. Miller presents both characters with different qualities yet the actions Miller presents in the play transform both characters in powerful men. However power defeats both of them as Eddie dies and Marco gets deported back to Italy. This implies that their relationship was completely unnecessary as neither of them ended with what they dreamed of.