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Would I regard 'A View from the Bridge' as a Tragedy?

This is an essay providing you with my opinions about whether 'A view from the Bridge' was indeed a tragedy.

A tragedy is defined by The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English as both a serious play that ends sadly, esp., with the main characters death and also as a terrible, unhappy or unfortunate event.
Many factors contribute to the making of a tragedy. For example, it is essential that the author makes you care for the main character. I think Arthur Miller does this very effectively in this play because he shows that Eddie Carbone, the main character, is extremely humane. He makes errors just like we do in our everyday life but he also cares deeply for the people around him. Alfieri tells us in the opening scene that Eddie was

??as good a man as he had to be in a life that was hard and even?.?

Catherine also comments on Eddie?s character by telling Rodolpho

?.....he was always the sweetest guy?.?

I also think that it is a tragedy if a character dies who leaves people who care about him and love him. I believe that a tragedy is not necessarily a person dying but the trauma that the people who will miss them will have to go through. I feel that Catherine reflects this when she comments to Rodolpho

??..and now I?m supposed to make a stranger out of him??

When Eddie later calls immigration and Catherine finds out she vows that she will never talk to him again which is a complete paradox to her earlier comment.
Alfieri, to me, is a very interesting character. By using this character, Miller is using a tactic like other authors such as Stephen King do in their writing. He is using Alfieri as both the chorus and as an actual character. By doing this, it makes us feel as though he knows everything about all the different characters because he can interact with them within the play but he can also step out of the play and inform us about everything that is going on in the lives of the people of Brooklyn.

I believe that what happened to Eddie is indeed a tragedy. I think that if I had been a member of the audience when the play was being presented I would have come away thinking deeply about the moral issues included in it. Alfieri certainly thinks a lot about Eddie after he has died

?And so I mourn him-I admit it-with a certain?.alarm.?

I would have felt a certain amount of remorse when Eddie died, as I did when I read the book, but I think even more so because with a play you can see it in the context for which it was written. From what the people who knew him said he was a decent man with many friends and he looked out for his wife and his niece. Of course, Eddie?s love for his niece proves to be his downfall because he has as Alfireri puts it

??every man?s got somebody he loves?..there is too much love for a niece?.?

If Eddie had been prepared to settle for half, he would probably have lived a lot longer. If he had accepted that Catherine loved Rodolpho and if he had accepted Rodolpho maybe he could have had more time with his wife and niece. I think that Rodolpho was more than likely the cause of Eddie?s ?feelings? for Catherine. This may be just my take on the play but I do believe that Eddie just felt like a father figure at the beginning of the play making such fatherly comments as

?I think it?s too short, ain?t it?? (In reference to Catherine?s skirt)

??the less you trust, the less you be sorry.?

When Rodolpho arrived, Eddie believed that he was trying to take Catherine away from him and take advantage of her because Rodolpho would wish to become an American citizen by marrying her. I think that these beliefs make him think obsessively on the subject and so he started to become obsessive about Catherine. I think that this point is proved near the very end of the play when Eddie is dying and he looks at Beatrice, his wife and says

?Then why-Oh B.! (Beatrice)?..My B.?

I think his true feelings are revealing themselves and the last thing he want Beatrice to know is that she is the true love of his life and that he is sorry that he has been neglecting her for the past few months.
Obviously, we are aware of Eddie?s destiny from the very start of the play when Alfieri gives several comments that tell us that Eddie will die at the end of the play.

?This one?s name was Eddie Carbone?

??.I watched it run its bloody course??

I think that what happened could have been prevented in several ways. If only Beatrice had not let her cousins stay there. If only Eddie had settled for half. If only Catherine had not leapt straight into a relationship with Rodolpho. I am not sure we can really use that last one, though, as a valid reason as Catherine fell deeply in love with Rodolpho and it is extremely hard to resist the feeling of true love. I am sure that when she met Rodolpho the first thing that went through her mind was not ?I wonder if Eddie will approve of my feelings for this man?. She does feel very strongly for Rodolpho as is obvious when she states

?I love you, Rodolpho, I love you?

The significance of the title is that ?A View from the Bridge? is indeed what Alfieri is providing us with. He talks about diffenent people from afar and watches into their lives. He, also being a character, can talk to the other characters and provide us with new information on what is happening.
Tragedies always try to deal with ?big? events that have universal significance. I think this is the case with this play. It deals with event such as justice and the Law. It talks about there actually being two laws: The law of the land and the law of the family. The law of the family is talked about when Eddie and Beatrice discuss a man who told immigration that his father was staying in the house. This broke the laws of the family and not only was he thrown down blocks of stairs but nobody would speak to him after this event. He was obeying the laws of the land but I and the people of Brooklyn believe that the law of the family is more important. As Alfieri commented at the beginning of the play

?Justice is very important here?

There are lots of quotations in the play to do with law and justice such as

?The law is very specific?

?You have no recourse in the law?

?There?s only one legal question here?

?Morally and legally you have no rights?

I think that throughout the play Alfieri is trying to subtly prevent Eddie from thinking about Catherine and Rodolpho and from trying to rid his family of Rodolpho even though he concedes that Eddie?s destiny is inevitable and there is no way to stop Eddie from following his heart.
Law and justice is such a big theme because Eddie makes the same mistake as the man that I write about earlier. He rings immigration and tells about the immigrants in his house. He followed the law of the land but went against his family and so nailing the lid on his own coffin. He lost the trust of his family for the last part of his life and after he had died there must have been some debate in the family about whether Eddie was such a great man as they had previously thought. Alfieri knew that Eddie would lose his respect if he turned Rodolpho over to immigration as is proved when he says

?The manner in which they entered the country. But I don?t think you want to do anything about that, do you??

Another theme that can be universally identified is that of a person that you are in love with but who someone else who you are close to disapproves of. Surely, most people have had a partner who someone, be they a friend, be they a parent or other family member has said about at some time ?Oh I don?t think much of your boyfriend/girlfriend etc.? Many of us can also identify with a love that cannot be ignored. Where we think about the person constantly and cannot imagine life without them. I certainly think that that is a side of the play that I can identify with.
I also think that girls around the world will identify with Catherine when they read Eddie?s comment

?That?s a bit short, ain?t it??

?You?re walking wavy, Catherine?

?The heads are turning like windmills?

This shows that Miller has considered from different angles whether or not people of different generation will be able to identify with ?A view from a Bridge? and in my opinion he has achieved this rather successfully.
I can, however, understand why other people may not consider this a tragedy. Different people have different ideas about good writing and I think many people thought that Miller has included so many negative points about Eddie that we ended up not caring about Eddie. At times Eddie can appear rather ignorant by ignoring Alfieri?s advice and thinking the worst of Rodolpho as soon as he appeared into their lives. Many people will suggest that he being in love with his nice is revolting and that he does not deserve our sorrow because of this. Eddie is rather fixed in his opinions. Often, you will find that the older generation will have fixed ideas about things such as homosexuality and I think this is exactly the same with Eddie.
I have also analysed the lighting, sets, the structure of the play and its use of language. I think that lighting is used very effectively with it being used to start and end scenes. A scene would finish and so the lights would go down telling us that we would not be seeing anymore about the events which we witnessed in that scene. This leaves us guessing about any events that have happened in Eddie?s life that have been missed out in the play. The sets are described in great detail in the stage directions and it helps the reader to imagine to a great degree what the places in the play look like. For example

?It is a worker?s flat., clean, sparse, homely. There is a rocker down front; a round dining table at the centre with chairs and a portable phonograph.?

I believe that reading a play rather than seeing it can be extremely aggravating as when you are reading the play for the first time it can be hard to decipher exactly what the scene is meant to look like.
Its use of language also is very effective. I have researched using the internet other books that were meant to have taken place at the same time, in the same place with Italian families i.e. ?Sleepers? and have noticed that in all these books there is the same of dialect and tone. I think this is a excellent way to write a book because normal people often have trouble connecting in with the troubles of upper class people and we feel more like we can with people who are in the same sort of class as us. Asking whether this is a tragedy makes us think that if Eddie has a destiny to die and that he speaks the same casual language that we do makes us consider whether we too have a destiny. I do not really believe that we all have a destiny because I do not like to think that I am not in control of my own life.
The structure of the play is very interesting with many scenes missed out which I think Miller does purposely to make us decide what we think happened during that missed time.
All in all, from my own point of view, I believe that Miller has written a genuinely brilliant play that everyone can connect into and I think that the majority would regard this play as a tragedy. I too believe it to be a tragedy and I think I would enjoy reading this play again by myself as I think it is an excellent play that analyses the strange aspects of the human nature.

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