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Having written other renowned plays in the tragedy and drama genre, Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge is one of many stage plays written. Similarly to other notable works such as Death of a Salesman, A View from the Bridge is set in America. Through the use of setting, community code, juxtaposition, capricious relationships and by assuming the manner of the Greek tragedy, Miller creates an environment of amplified tension and volatile fluctuations in mood throughout. Common in Miller's works, the protagonist is an ordinary man; Miller deviates from Aristotle's depiction of the 'tragic hero' in this manner. While Eddie undoubtedly has 'hamartia', Miller's use of dialogue, stage direction and development of character contravene the audience's acknowledgment of antipathy and alienation, thus creating the tragic hero.
Miller uses Eddie as a character to convey his view that the downfall of the ordinary working class man is equally significant, if not greater than that of a great King. From the very start of the play, it is evident that Eddie is hard working man, being "husky, slightly overweight longshoreman" from the extensive labour. Aristotle defines the tragic hero as initially noble, though this value is degraded progressively. While Eddie is a working class man, he is in an elevated position within his community. It is evident that Eddie is well respected in both his community and family. Miller has emphasized Eddie's dominance in the household through the unquestioning obedience shown by Catherine and Beatrice. When Eddie disapproves of Catherine's newly found opportunity to work, Miller conveys the unease in the family by the foreboding and overwrought atmosphere, due to the utilisation of stage direction, dialogue and language. Beatrice "hurries Catherine out" when Eddie disapproves of the job; Miller implies a sense of evacuation, due to the fear due to knowing Eddie's highly critical and cynical attitude. This is evident from the very opening of the play when he criticises Catherine's dress, telling her "I can tell you things about Louis which you wouldn't wave to him no more." He treats his entire neighbourhood as dangerous and malicious in an excessive manner. Eddie tends to see the dire characteristics of people except his close family. This seemingly minor flaw at the start of the play contributes to his downfall. Furthermore, Eddie is quick to judge, partly due to his incapability to listen. While not fully informed, he retorts starkly "It's not wonderfulâ€¦Why didn't you ask me before you take a job?" Eddie's inability to listen is evident here; he demands that Catherine "ask me before you take a job", despite Catherine requesting his permission to take job at the very juncture. However, while Eddie may seem punitive and contemptuous Miller emphasizes that while he may seem overly protective and overtly pessimistic, his intentions are upright nevertheless. Eddie is evidently seen as a hard-working, honest man. Beatrice is grateful towards Eddie's generosity, telling him that "You're anÂ angel! God'll bless youâ€¦you'll see, you'll get a blessing for this!" Miller portrays Eddie sympathetically initially, a common trait of the tragic hero.
Furthermore, Eddie tries to alter Catherine and Beatrice's attitude to see the community though his "tunnel vision". His behaviour is obsessive, telling Beatrice that she has "too big a heart" and advises Catherine against it. His abrasive, cynical attitude is evident throughout the start. At the dinner table, he tells her that she should "Just remember, kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a word that you gave away." Miller has used irony which the audience come to realise later in the play. At the start of the play, Eddie tells the story of the boy who called immigration on his relatives and almost forcefully advises Beatrice and Catherine never to speak of Marco and Rodolpho. While he lectures his own family extensively on the 'community law' and criticising Vinny Bolzane saying "a guy do a thing like that? How's he gonna show his face?", Eddie makes a transition to reveal various suppressed feelings and his approach to insanity. Initially, Eddie is well respected in his community; Eddie is true to the community law and despite teaching the lesson to others, he betrays himself and his community ultimately, ruining his reputation. These words of Eddie subtly indicate that he knows that will happen to him, yet cannot evade his pre-determined fate; typical of the tragic hero.
Additionally, Miller's use of Alfieri as the chorus enhances the sense of Eddie as the tragic hero. The chorus, typical of the Greek tragedy, constantly reminds the audience of the tragedy to come. Alfieri set the scene, setting and provides background information, thus developing characters as the narrator of the tragedy. Not only does Alfieri enhance the audience's understanding, he also divides the play into various stages of Eddie's downfall. Alfieri plays a key role in A View from the Bridge"; he allows the play to move swiftly through exposition. Miller utilises the character of Alfieri to enhance the sense of pace and time. Furthermore, while Alfieri creates a bridge between the play and the audience, Miller's use of Alfieri somewhat retains certain grandeur for Eddie. Professionally detached as the lawyer, he is a trustworthy source to the audience. Alfieri has a professional connection with Eddie, having "had represented his father in an accident case some years before, and [Alfieri] was acquainted with the family in a casual way. Alfieri is evidently a good judge of character and a decent source of advice, telling to Eddie that "You won't have a friend in the world...Put it out of your mind", "and bless her". Alfieri evidently knows Eddie's potential for self-destruction, predicting his judgments and attempting to advise him against his precarious thoughts. Alfieri is 'the view from the bridge', while Eddie is the 'water front'. While the audience is prone to forget that Alfieri is narrating in scenes of high tension, such as the part when Eddie kisses Rodolpho or when Marco lifts the chair. However, Alfieri appears as the focus of the stage when the lights dim, prompting the audience to make their individual judgements at the end of each scene.
Furthermore, Miller establishes Eddie as the tragic hero through use of both cultural and domestic position. The play, being set in Brooklyn, a main area of illegal immigration, there were certain unspoken 'community laws'. Without the support of 'legal' services, such as the Police or courts to protect them, they were exceedingly interdependent, relying on one another. Forming an insular, detached, close community Miller has reversed his previous experience with the McCarthy trials, creating a community which welcomes the outlaws. The 'immigrant town' thus developed its own subculture, economy and laws. Due to their reliance on interdependency, betray was punishable by death; the greatest breach of the community code. Likewise, the sense of betrayal in community, emphasized through the story of Vinny Bolzane, is akin to Miller's attitude towards the trials. Traditionally, the tragic hero attempts to upset the 'Grand design', defying their destiny, god or code. Replacing the gods and destinies, Miller uses the community code as a substitute. Holding family values dear, initially it seems unlikely that Eddie would betray his community, having held strict rules in his house, obeying the law and respecting the community code. However, Miller utilizes his sympathetic opening of Eddie's character to create a tragic hero which the audience can sympathise with.
Additionally, Eddie's domestic standing is utilised to create possible tensions which are exploited throughout A View from the Bridge to create Eddie's downfall. These tensions are evident throughout the play. Miller's creation of the Italian characters' overtly fervent temperaments and traditional gender roles lend themselves aptly to the tragedy. Similar to the 'rival' character in the traditional tragedies, Miller's use of 2 dominant males enhances Eddies role as the tragic hero. Enhancing their importance and stature, their conflict for leadership inevitable leads to defeat for one of the males; the tragic hero. While there is very little physical conflict, tensions in the household are ominous. Furthermore, Marco is true to the Sicilian law and the community law to some extent, while Eddie is true to the American law, protecting himself, his 'possessions', and the community law initially. Eddie's flaw lies in his inability to reason between American and Sicilian cultures. Alfieri, the bridge between the American and Sicilian customs allows the audience to analyse each situation individually.
Furthermore, Eddie is very much the master of the household, constantly demanding respect and ordering the female members what to do. His obsession with control results in a drastic change in character when Marco, another male who demands respect, enters his household. When Eddie goes to his lawyer to seek advice, Alfieri describes Eddie, saying "His eyes were like tunnels; my first thought was that he had committed a crime, but soon I saw it was only a passion that had moved into his body, like a stranger." Alfieri appears to fear Eddie as if he were a Greek monster, implying that his obsession for Catherine was a 'passion' that had entered his conscience. Miller is beginning to imply Eddie's descent into madness as he is starting to lose control. Miller's descriptions of Eddie through Alfieri are somewhat grand and dramatic, as if describing a legendary hero or warrior. This supplementary grandeur throughout the play augments Eddie's position as the tragic hero, seemingly of elevated rank and status.
Additionally, Miller has crafted Eddie with various flaws which thus contribute to his downfall. Eddie overtly cynical has been highlighted by Miller through Eddie's dialogue. Eddie evidently suspects that everyone in his community, excluding his family, have bad intentions. Miller has emphasized this through Eddie's response to Catherine through Eddie's response to her short dress. Despite Louis being a close friend, Eddie threatens Catherine with his skill of extracting the flaws in others, so that "you wouldn't wave to him no more." Eddie threatens Catherine with his gathered knowledge of people's corruptness. Catherine evidently regards Eddie's opinion highly and is palpably upset when Eddie disapproves of her dress, despite this issue only being fairly minor. Furthermore, Eddie refers to Rodolpho as a 'submarine'; A View from The Bridge was published fairly soon after WWII had ended. While modern day submarines can be perceived as either a great aid to mankind or weapons, the submarines of WWII were indefinitely used for destructive purposes. German submarines were the cause of widespread starvation in Britain, sinking food import ships. Eddie portrays Rodolpho as a hidden source of destruction and horrors through his use of language. Eddie's distrust is evident when he tells Catherine that "he's only bowin' to his passport". Eddie sees Rodolpho as manipulative and dangerous. However, Miller portrays Rodolpho as popular and good-humoured, yet polite and responsible correspondingly. While Eddie seems to perceive Rodolpho as irresponsible as Rodolpho buys a 'snappy new jacket, records and a pointy pair of new shoes' while "his brothers kids are starving", Rodolpho is actually more understanding and responsible than Marco. Rodolpho seeks peace in issues, saying to Eddie "I kiss your hand" as a sign a peace, humility and sincerity. However, Eddie is ignorant of Rodolpho's positive traits and refers to him constantly as a criminal figure, calling him a "hit-and-run guy". Moreover, Eddie appears to be quick to judge and possesses the failure to listen. Miller enhances Eddie's flaw of ignorance through irony. Eddie constantly ignores his wife's suggestions and constantly dismisses her, despite Beatrice giving sensible and useful advice. He often blames Beatrice when she brings up an argument against him, saying "I don't like the way you talk to me, Beatrice". Eddie often demands respect as a way of avoiding his wife's suggestions, especially when they are critical of him.
Furthermore, Eddie displays excessive pride throughout A View from The Bridge, refusing to allow anyone, including his family, to criticize him. Throughout, Eddie is portrayed as a very commanding figure, constantly ordering his family to do as he wishes. The tension illustrated by the unease at the dinner table when Eddie disapproves of Catherine getting a job. Miller conveys the tense atmosphere through stage directions. Catherine enters with the food after being ordered to fetch, "which she silently sets on the table". The 'silence' exhibits the unease of the atmosphere. The women of the family are cautious of Eddie after he disapproves, not daring to argue with him too forcefully. Eddie is very much the 'alpha male' of his household; Beatrice must convince him through gentle suggestions rather than forcefully expressing her view as Eddie does throughout the novel.
In contrast to his initial vice-like clasp on 'control', Eddie appears to gradually lose his grasp on both control of his household and his sanity. The change in dynamics when Marco and Rodolpho enter his household is evident when Marco lifts the chair over Eddis's head; Eddie appears to lose what Miller refers to as his "iron control". Miller portrays Marco as quiet yet perceptive; a man of action. Marco tends to evaluate situations, pausing before speaking, indicating that he is prudent and vigilant. Miller creates Eddie's flaw through his similarity to Marco. Both Marco and Eddie are hard-working and are both commanding leaders. The paradox of the two dominant males in a single household induces both tension and concealed conflict. This flaw provokes Eddie's yearning for control and respect to the point where it is an obsession. Miller enhances the 'silent conflict' for authority though stage direction. Marco lifts the chair "like a weapon over Eddie's head", which causes Eddie's grin to vanish as he "absorbs his look". It is evident that Marco is displaying his physical prowess, cautioning Eddie in his conflict for supremacy in the household. Miller utilises Marco as metaphor for Eddie's fate; Eddie is powerless in relation to his fate. The chair held "as a weapon" symbolises Eddie's future punishment and inexorable verdict. Eddie's failure to accept fate and his determination to bout his fate ultimately leads to his death and downfall.
Furthermore, Eddie seems descend into lunacy. Miller displays this loss of sanity through Eddie's 'rape' of Rodolpho's dignity. Eddie attempts to show Catherine how a 'real man kisses' by kissing both Rodolpho and Catherine. Shocking the 1955 audience, Milller choreographs the near incestuous kiss followed by same-sex kiss to challenge the audience to judge Eddie Carbone. Eddie further invokes the notion of judgement when he further Through Eddie's actions of breaking his community code, rape of Rodolpho's dignity and his actions of 'taking' Catherine, the audience lose their sympathy for Eddie. Miller enhances the weight of Eddie's actions through contrast. Miller composes his scenes to juxtapose the temperament of Rodolpho and Catherine's true love and gentle dialogue to the shocking scene; arguably the climax of the play. Miller's usage of stage direction combined with nuances of homosexual and incestuous molestation give the playwright the sense of drama and tension. Miller contrasts Catherine's compliant and submissive attitude seen throughout the book to her anger and revolt against Eddie when he kisses Rodolpho. Catherine even acts to the extent of shouting of "I'll kill you" when Eddie kisses Rodolpho, illustrating the commencement of her gradual movement from her dependency on Eddie; Eddie's kiss acts as a catalyst to the process of her conversion to dependency. While Catherine appears not to be greatly angered when Eddie kisses her, she "tears at Eddie's face" and threatens to kill him in anger when he kisses Rodolpho. Miller has exhibited Catherine's love towards Rodolpho through her strong reaction to Rodolpho's kiss. Catherine appears to supersede her own regard with Rodolpho's, confirming the mellowness of their love as displayed in the dialogue prior to Eddie's arrival. Miler composes A View from the Bridge to prompt the audience to judge through Alfieri. In the extended scenes of action and drama, the audience tend to overlook that Alfieri is narrating the entire play.
While Eddie has many flaws, his predominant 'hamartia' is almost certainly his affection towards Catherine; the main cause of his downfall. When confronted regarding his affections towards Catherine, Eddie responds with strong denial and evident anger. When Alfieri highlights that ""She can't marry you can she?", Eddie evidently is angered by this, replying "I don't know what the hell you're talkin' about!" in an agitated tone. The use of the exclamation mark suggests that he is provoked by this and his amplified reaction to the accusation suggests that he himself denies his true affections. His confused affections for Catherine, provoked by Rodolpho's presence, crescendos throughout A View from the Bridge. As the play progresses, it becomes increasingly evident that he loves Catherine but is too ashamed to admit it. His method of suppressing his emotions by "keeping her a baby" has proved ineffective. He has pressed his nurturing method so far that he himself has not realised it. When she proposes that he works, he replies "I guess I just never figured... that you would ever grow up." Later, Miller reveals Eddie's true intentions subtly with the use of stage directions. When Catherine announces that she loves Rodolpho, "He looks at [Catherine] like a lost boy"; Miller subtly implies how naÃ¯ve and confused Eddie's desires are. Whenever the issue is brought up by Beatrice or Alfieri, he retaliates in anger. Miller has shown that Eddie is neither willing nor comfortable admitting his true feelings. Eddie is confronted about his love for Catherine multiple times throughout the play. Beatrice, knowing Eddie distinctly, "You want somethin' else, Eddie, and you can never have her!" Beatrice refers to Catherine as the 'somethin' else' that Eddie wants. Despite Eddie knowing that his desire for Catherine is incestuous, Beatrice must tell him that he 'can never have her'. Eddie is evidently livid. Miller illustrates Eddie's emotion and rage through stage directions. Miller has exhibited Eddie's anger coherently to the audience; Eddie is [horrified, shocked, his fists clenching]. Miller's use of stage directions indicates tone and mood to manipulate the audience to achieve setting and atmosphere. 'His fists clenching' demonstrate the extent of Eddie's frustration and anger towards the accusation and subtly implies Eddie's possible capability of physical violence. Edie's constant denial and restraint of his feelings illustrate his unstable and volatile nature, leading to his inevitable downfall. Miller's use of Catherine as a niece, rather than a daughter allows the audience to sympathize; essential in the creation of the tragic hero. The Telegraph's Dominic Cavendish describes Miller's arrangement as 'crucial' in a review of a production, as "by using the device of a niece, it swerves away from being an abusive relationship. Even if he said 'I love you', that would not be illegal."  Miller thus creates the tragic hero through allowing the audience to sympathize with Eddie Carbone.
Also, Eddie's refusal to accept the status quo further contributes to Miller's creation of the tragic hero. Despite Alfieri warning Eddie that "the law is nature" and "a river will drown you if you buck it now", Eddie breaks the community code nevertheless. Miller has compared Eddie's breach of the code to 'drowning', illustrating the weight of his crime. Miller has enhanced Alfieri's warning through stage direction. Alfieri, knowing Eddie's volatile nature, says his warning "with a tougher tone". This implies that people are aware of the extent that Eddie will take to preserve his fantasy world and his shift towards the irrational animal. Alfieri is pressed to take 'a tougher tone' as Eddie is driven by his incestuous love for his niece to the extent that he is willing to break the unspoken community law which is punishable by death. This flaw, ultimately leading to his death, indicates the complete descent into insanity. Miller has exploited his setting of the Italian-American community where the community code supersedes the official law to create the downfall of Eddie Carbone; the tragic hero who dies by his own hand.
In addition to this, Eddie's obsession with control contributes to Miller's creation of the tragic hero. Miller illustrates Eddie's fixation of control through his frustration at Catherine's walking style. Eddie attempts to preclude his niece's development into a woman, saying that the "heads are turnin' like windmills" when she is 'walkin' wavy' and she wears high heels. Miller's use of language expresses the extent that Catherine attracts attention. Miller demonstrates the noticeability of the attention that she attracts, comparing the staring men's heads to 'windmills'. Miller's use of imagery allows him to create a more sympathetic portrayal of Eddie; the audience's understanding of Eddie's actions is enhanced. Catherine evidently wears high-heels for the enjoyment of her sexual influence over men. However, Eddie's fear of other men may cause Catherine to leave the house, inducing him to discourage her from wearing them. While it is not clear initially why Eddie appears to be excessively firm and strong in his views, the audience come to realise that it is because he secretly is aroused.
Additionally, Miller further enhances Eddie's role as the tragic hero through Eddie's evident flaw of lacking the ability to distinguish the difference between family and property. Miller illustrates Eddie's passion for control and commitment to 'possessions' through language. He says that Rodolpho is "stealing from me" and calls him a "theif", indicating that he thinks that he owns Catherine like a possession. Eddie appears to live in a fantasy world, determining his own limits and quos. He claims that because he "took out of [his] own mouth" and "walked hungry plenty days" that Catherine 'belongs' to him. Miller creates the tragic hero by gradually degrading Eddie's credibility, making him increasing harder to sympathise with. The theme of the 'Paper Doll' song is employed by Miller as a metaphor for Eddie's attitude towards Catherine. The lyrics of 'Paper Doll' describe a man buying a paper doll which is "A doll that other fellows cannot steal"; similar to how Eddie treats Catherine. The lyrics also state that the man would "rather have a Paper Doll to call my own/ Than have a fickle-minded real live girl". This is somewhat similar to Eddie's situation; he prefers Catherine, an illusory 'Paper Doll' rather than Beatrice, his real wife.
Moreover, Miller defines Eddie as the tragic hero through his descent into madness; a regular trait of the tragic hero. Eddie's madness progresses with the play, evolving to the climax where he meets his peril. While Eddie is initially a fairly typical, yet cynical man, Eddie appears increasingly outlandish throughout the play, committing increasingly extreme actions. Miller has shown this descent through Eddie's increasingly extreme actions. Initially the typical overprotective father, Eddie becomes increasingly unstable as the play progresses. Miller exhibits this change through the use of stage direction. While initially Eddie appears to be a reasonable and composed man, the audience see him gradually degrade through his subconscious. When angered by Catherine dancing, he unconsciously twists "the newspaper into a tight roll" and "suddenly tears it in two". Miller has not only illustrated Eddie's frustration, but also his descent into the irrational human. While the newspaper represents Eddie's awareness of the outside world, the tearing of the newspaper also demonstrates his intractability to accept it as well. Miller's use of sudden movements elucidates Eddie's volatile nature. This flaw develops to the apex in which Eddie commits the ultimate offensive; breaking the community code. Miller has illustrated the triumph of Eddie's desperation over his reason through the phone booth lighting up gradually. Miller has emphasized Eddie's alienation from his community; the "Light is out on Alfieri", indicated how Eddie is isolating himself from even "those who understand". Miller's use of theatre enhances Eddie's betrayal of his community; a theme which Miller could relate to directly from his experiences in the 1956 McCarthy era trials. However, Miller has inverted the situation; Miller protects the unlawful. Through Miller's arrangement, he accentuates his disapproval of those who chose name the innocent.
In addition, Eddie's hubris is a common trait of the tragic hero. Eddie constantly demands respect, despite already being respected. Even after Rodolpho and Marco move out, Eddie tells Beatrice that he "wants [his] respect". Eddie's pride is evident; he tends to blame others for his irrational behaviour. Towards the dénouement of A View from the Bridge, Eddie accused Beatrice of being "different" and compares his household to "a shootin' galleryâ€¦ and I'm the pigeon". Eddie Carbone refuses to accept when he is in the wrong; a flaw which leads to his death. Refusing to apologise, Eddie creates antipathy in the audience. Even when Rodolpho offers to kiss Eddie's hand, Eddie refuses to accept defeat. His excessive pride leads him to ignore his family's pleas for him to flee. Having previously demonstrated Marco's strength in previous scenes, Miller creates the sense of foreboding. However, Eddie's courage and determination to 'win back' his name is somewhat admirable; Miller has preserved some sympathy, consequently creating the tragic hero. As a metaphor of his self-destruction and a common trait of the tragic hero, Eddie dies by his own hand and weapon. Conversely, Eddie has a moment of redemption before his death, shouting "B" and asking for his wife. Miller has shown that Eddie has returned to the man he once was, knowing where his priorities are and who really matter most in his life. Miller has allowed the tragic hero a moment of redemption, allowing the audience to sympathise with Eddie once again; an essential aspect in the creation of the tragic hero.
Furthermore, Eddie's inarticulacy contributes to his downfall as the tragic hero. Miller emphasizes this flaw through contrast. Rodolpho's dialogue is almost poetic, while Eddie is rather rudimentary in terms of dialogue; often he cannot express himself fully. Rodolpho is very passionate, expressing his true love articulately, making his love seem more genuine. He assures her of his love, saying "You think I would carry on my back the rest of my life a woman I didn't love just to be an American?". Rodolpho is evidently good with language; his use of imagery by referring to 'carrying' her on his back augments his argument, thus making him more credible. Eddie on the other hand, cannot comprehend his feelings towards Catherine. His dialogue is relatively plain and his sentences often lack structure. Miller subtly indicates the contrast between Eddie and Rodolpho's eloquence through their choice of similes. Eddie refers to Rodolpho as a "teeny mouse", while Rodolpho describes Catherine as a "little bird". Miller's uses the two contrasting animals as a metaphor for their language. Eddie's language is dark, grey and dirty; similar to a mouse, while Rodolpho's language is elegant and free, like a bird. Eddie attempts to trap Catherine, similar to a mouse, while Rodolpho wishes for Catherine to 'fly free' like a bird.
In conclusion, while Miller does not follow the typical tragic hero template in the sense that the protagonist is of some form of elevated status, he achieves his portrayal of the tragic hero in other ways. The crescendo to Eddies downfall is built up with a series of techniques, setting a situation with possible tensions and issues and then manipulating these possible points of tension to gradually build up to the destruction of Eddie, the tragic hero. While some critics may say that the downfall of the 'average' man is not a genuine tragedy as the downfall of a God or King is tragic for all, not just the individual. However, Miller creates the destruction within the community; in some ways, the destruction caused within the small community is greater than that caused to a country. Miller states himself that he believes "that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were."  Miller effectively manipulates the audience who are quick to judge. While they may say that Eddie's relationship with Catherine is near incestuous, they often overlook that Rodolpho is in fact Catherine's uncle. However, Miller has created such antipathy for Eddie, that this is often overlooked. Miller enhances the play through the use of Greek tragedy, creating the sense of premonition through Alfieri as the chorus of the play. Through the combination of stage direction, setting, juxtaposition and community code, Miller has written A View from the Bridge in such a way as to add grandeur to the downfall of the ordinary man, thus creating the modern day tragic hero which most can relate to in material life.