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A man of little words

Character essay about Marco in Arthur MIller's "A View from the Bridge" -His has a minor role in the play, yet his few actions are critical to the development of the plot and well as a better understanding of his personality

A Man of Little Words
In his play A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller uses indirect characterization to describe the individuals in the play. It is by far more interesting to recognize the nature of a character through his or her actions and words, rather than a direct description. Indirect characterization is clearly displayed in Miller?s portrayal of Marco. This Italian immigrant illegally comes to America with his brother Rodolpho. His plan is to make money and send it to his wife and three children who live in his economically depressed country. His has a minor role in the play, yet his few actions are critical to the development of the plot and well as a better understanding of his personality.
Marco?s first significant reaction occurs in the end of the first act. Rodolpho and Marco temporarily live in their cousin Eddie?s house in order to make money. Eddie, an Italian living in Brooklyn lives with wife and their adopted niece, Catherine. She is now seventeen and Eddie unconsciously loves her not only as a father, but in a sexual way. Rodolpho falls in love with Catherine, and Eddie is extremely angered with him. In one scene Catherine invites Radolpho to dance with her in their living room. Eddie is extremely angered at Rodolpho and begins to mock him: ? ? It?s wonderful. He sings, he cooks, he could make dresses???(414). He can?t find a reason to hate the boy so he claims him a homosexual. When there is no response from the polite brothers, Eddie goes further and challenges Marco to a fight:
? ?You wait, Marco, you see some real fights here. You ever do any boxing???(415) This dare serves as foreshadow for the end of the play, where Eddie again picks a fight with Marco. In response to his challenge in the end of act one, Marco challenges Eddie to lift a chair. When he fails to do so, Marco shows off his strength and ability by lifting it. Here is the first time that Marco?s character emerges. Instead of telling Eddie that he doesn?t appreciate the way Eddie makes fun of Rodolpho, Marco uses his physical strength to defy and insult Eddie. Through this situation, Marco is seen as a man who is very willing to defend the honor of his family. He is also clever and self-contained; he does not directly insult his benefactor, because he cannot risk his place of residence (considering that he was very poor and also an illegal alien) in an unknown place.
The second of Marco?s actions, which are significant to both the plot and the better understanding of his nature, is the scene in which the police are taking Marco away and he spits in Eddie?s face. He no longer cares about having a place to stay and loses all his respect for his cousin. Eddie?s only power over his hated cousins, is the power to kick them out of his home and report them to the police. Once again he does not understand the reason why he hates Rodolpho so much. He cannot admit to his sexual attraction to Catherine. The antagonism reaches a climax when Eddie returns home one day to find Rodolpho and Catherine in the bedroom. He orders Rodolpho to leave, but Catherine starts to go with him. ?He reaches out suddenly, and draws her to him, as she strives to free herself he kisses her on the mouth.? (422) This is an evident sign of his attraction, yet he does not admit to it even now. Catherine and Rodolpho are getting married, and Eddie will go to any length to stop this. Thus he reports the two brothers to the police. The fact that he kicks them out of his home turns society against him and he is completely isolated in his misery. Furthermore Marco claims that Eddie killed his children, because without the money that he can?t send to them, they will starve to death. The public humiliation that Marco brings upon Eddie is exactly what he is going for. In his eyes, Eddie has broken the ?omerta?, or the trust, which in his culture never goes unpunished. Again, here is foreshadowing that the continuation of the fight and the punishment is approaching.
Marco?s final action is the murder of Eddie. After the police releases Marco and Radoplo they come back to Eddie?s home. At this point Eddie?s reason for his hatred has been altered: he now says that Marco has stolen his name and violated him. He no longer worries about the wedding, but rather focuses on Marco. In Marco?s opinion Eddie is the one who initially dishonored him and his brother by reporting them to the police. It comes to show that even a clever and tough man like Marco can be weakened by his deep devotion to a certain subject, in this case being the idea of honor. Although Eddie begins to obsess with honor as well after Marco spits in his face, it seems acceptable for him to be so infatuated for a man of his unstable and unwise character. Eddie is so angered that he pulls a knife on Marco. Ironically, Marco turns the knife on him and stabs him. This is the punishment that Eddie pays for not understanding or even denying his feelings. Somehow his personal problem evolved into and ugly situation, ultimately resulting in his death.
Marcos? presence seems minor because he rarely speaks. His character only comes into play several times, but there are crucial to the plot development. They are also the only chances that the reader or the spectator has to see Marco?s personality. He is a good and simple person; plan is to send money to his family. Eddie intervenes in his progress and greatly insults Marco by throwing him out. Eddie is concerned with another issue: Catherine and Rodolpho?s marriage. Then his motive changes and he becomes fixated on honor and status. Thus this vicious and confusing cycle, leads to a well-awaited fight in which Eddie is killed. Perhaps if Eddie did not die, he would eventually realize his problem and let go of Catherine. If only one of the men swallowed his pride and apologized, the problem would be understood and eventually solved.

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