Beatrice A View From The Bridge

The folllowing sample essay on Beatrice A View From The Bridge discusses it in detail, offering basic facts and pros and cons associated with it. To read the essay’s introduction, body and conclusion, scroll down.

Beatrice is a woman who often likes to talk about how she’s feeling and shows her anxiety to Eddie openly, “I’m just telling you I done what you want!” She’s constantly standing by Eddie, even though she knows he’s done a terrible thing by calling in the authorities.

Through it all Eddie eventually comes back to Beatrice as he dies in her arms: “My B.!” Rodolpho is an American enthusiast; hence the singing of Paper Doll (an American song) and the spending of money on fashionable clothes and records, of which Eddie disapproves. Rodolpho’s constant smiling and affection makes the audience begin to like him, and feel sympathy for him.

When Marco and Rodolpho arrive in Act One, Eddie takes an instant dislike to Rodolpho because of the obvious attraction between Catherine and Rodolpho.

The stage direction “He is coming more and more to address Marco only…” shows that Rodolpho has started to irritate Eddie, and he doesn’t like having an unmarried man in his house. The attraction between Rodolpho and Catherine becomes most evident to Eddie in the last two lines of this part of the act, when Catherine says to Rodolpho, “you like sugar?” and he replies, “Sugar? Yes! I like sugar very much!”. Taken literally, Catherine is in fact offering Rodolpho sugar for his coffee, but there is also a possibility of a hidden meaning.

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By this time Eddie has become insanely jealous, because giving someone sugar can also means giving someone some love.

Marco Beatrice

Eddie often tries to discredit Rodolpho, first by implying that Rodolpho is not serious about his relationship with Catherine and is merely in search of an American citizenship, when that fails he comes to believe Rodolpho is a homosexual and tries to show up his effeminate side, in contrast to himself. However he’s careful to never actually say “homosexual” and tells Alfieri that “he ain’t right” and “you could kiss him, he was so was so sweet”.

Towards the end of the play, Marco becomes much more important. Marco is a man of actions rather than words, and is often silent. He has difficulty speaking English which also adds to his belief in actions speaking louder than words. Marco came to the U.S.A out of love for his family and clearly misses them, and also feels a responsibility for Rodolpho, as well as the community. When Eddie attempts a joke about the “surprises” awaiting men in Italy after working in the U.S.A for many years, Marco corrects him and sees nothing funny in the suggestion. In the first act when Marco raises the chair like a weapon to threaten Eddie, it allows him to express an idea wish he would not wish to put into words.

At first it is Rodolpho who Eddie wants to eliminate, but after Marco spits in his face and announces “I accuse that one” when Eddie’s betrays them and calls the authorities, Eddie’s war is with the elder brother. In effect, a challenge has been issued by Marco, “Marco’s got my name.” and contradicting Marco is Eddie’s only way of trying to recover his lost name. Marco feels very strongly about family values and tells Alfieri that in his home country Eddie would already be dead for what he has done, and feels even more strongly than Eddie does the values which Eddie expresses in telling the story of Vinnie Bolzano, the “stool pigeon”.

Being the 1940s, Catherine and Beatrice are often restricted by Eddie as head of the household. Catherine feels obliged to obey him because he has been like a father to her, and doesn’t think its right if he does not agree with her marriage to Rodolpho. Her loving respectful attitude towards him slowly dissolves and turns to hate in Act Two, where she calls him a “rat”. Beatrice on the other hand remains devoted to Eddie through the whole play, and stands by him even when she knows Eddie has done something awful. Even when Eddie demeans her, by saying that she is his wife and should obey him, she still stands by him.

This is also shown by the way she reacts when she is told that she can’t go to Catherine’s wedding or she no longer lives in the same household. Another example of Eddie being a “man of his time” is in Act Two where he returns home after ringing the immigration bureau. He is really paranoid and anxious, so he starts to take it out on Beatrice. “I don’t like the way you talk to me, Beatrice” and “I want my respect…”

Eddie, as a man of his time, is also unable to express his emotions and keeps them locked inside to show his “masculinity”. “Eddie: Pause, he can’t speak, then… I can’t, I can’t talk about it”. He is “at war” with his inner self because he can’t admit, even to himself, that he likes Catherine and is in denial and disgusted at himself. His inability to express his emotions is an act of defence, to avoid showing his weakness and insecurities.

The tension in A View from the Bridge rises and drops deliberately, the high moments of tension being: the chair scene; the kiss scene; Marco spitting in Eddie’s face; and the fight at the end. The chair scene raises the audience’s tension because it is surprising. Not much is known about Marco, he remains mysterious throughout the first Act. When he raises the chair as a weapon, it shocks the audience and at the same time gives a very slight insight into Marco’s protective personality. In effect, it makes the audience curious as well as slightly worried because it gives a sense of foreboding.

With the audience still tense, the second act opens with a series of events that relies on stage action, as a drunken Eddie kisses both Catherine and Rodolpho. He kisses Catherine to show her how a ‘real man’ kisses and kisses Rodolpho to show Catherine that he enjoys it, to humiliate him and to show that his failure to resist is significant. By now Eddie will have lost the audience’s sympathy, and in 1955 when the play was first performed, the double kiss would have been extremely shocking. Later during Act Two while being dragged out by the immigration officers, Marco spits in Eddie’s face. Then outside the apartment in front of all the neighbours, Marco reveals that it was Eddie who called the immigration bureau and accuses him by screaming, “That one! He killed my children!” It is at this point when Marco ‘steals’ Eddie’s ‘name’.

The real climax of the play is when Marco is coming to punish Eddie, while Eddie, in return, is demanding his “name” back. As said before Marco thinks it is dishonourable to let Eddie live but has given his word not to kill him. When Eddie pulls out a knife, Marco can see justice done. Eddie literally dies by his own hand which is holding the knife, but has also metaphorically destroyed himself over the whole course of the play. The death of Eddie is not particularly shocking, and gives the audience time to recover and reflect what has just happened. The anticipation of the fight is the major climax. It could be described like a showdown on a western.

Miller uses a range of dramatic devices to increase the tension in the play. The use of Italian and Sicilian immigrants enables Miller to make them more or less inarticulate in English. Alfieri is the only educated speaker of English and for this reason can explain Eddie’s actions to us. Eddie uses a naturalistic Brooklyn slang e.g. “quicker” for “more quickly”. If the dialect was different, or more articulate it wouldn’t have had the same gritty realistic effect.

Action and stage directions are very important in this play, because of Eddie’s and Marco’s limitations as speakers, and purely because some matters cannot be discussed and are shown by gestures instead. The stage directions define each character. At high moments of tension or climaxes Miller often adds in very striking action. For example the climax of Act One, when Eddie tries to humiliate Rodolpho by teaching him to box, while Macro silently watched what was happening. As Eddie throws a punch which staggers Rodolpho, Marco shows the danger Eddie is inviting by threatening Rodolpho, by lifting the chair as a weapon.

The structure of the play is quite simple. Miller used the two acts to mark a division in Eddie’s story, and within these acts are scenes, which are split by Alfieri’s talks/monologues and are narrated in a linear fashion but with gaps in time. The lighting is used theatrically, a significant use being the phone booth, which glows brighter and brighter signalling Eddie’s realisation then determination to call the immigration bureau. The area in use is lighted if needed, other wise it is dark. The blackouts give a moment of reflection, leaving the audience to dwell on the events of the play.

It is said that Miller wanted to make A View from the Bridge a modern equivalent of a Greek tragedy, which has: a central character that has a “fatal flaw”, e.g. Eddie with his love for Catherine, and therefore his jealousy and a Greek chorus. The chorus was a group of people who watched the play, commented on it and addressed the audience directly. In A View from the Bridge Alfieri is the equivalent to the chorus, and after Eddie, is probably the most important role in the play. Alfieri moves time on, directs the audience in their thoughts and feelings, anticipates what will happen and establishes character, “He was a good a man as he had to be…”. His words are constantly full of foreboding, “Another lawyer… sat there as powerless as I and watched it run its bloody course” but he doesn’t try to alter the course. Alfieri is at battle with himself, not knowing how involved he should get.

He repeatedly tells Eddie not to get involved, to let Catherine go. As Eddie contemplates betrayal, Alfieri reads his mind and warns him: “You won’t have a friend in the world…put it out of your mind.” At the end of a scene, as the light goes up on Alfieri, the audience is challenged to make a judgement. A View from the Bridge is not a pleasant play nor is it meant to be. I personally enjoyed it because it was gripping, and there are subtle metaphors scattered throughout. The issues represented still apply to this day, trust being tested now more than ever. It leaves philosophical and moral questions lingering in our mind, such as who is responsible for Eddie’s death?

It could be argued that Beatrice and Catherine played a part to Eddie’s downfall, however I would disagree. They couldn’t be blamed for Eddie’s attraction and lust for Catherine, because preventing love is impossible. A View from the Bridge couldn’t end any other way, if Eddie had not died, he would have suffered humiliation and shame for the rest of his life, which would probably lead to suicide, death being inevitable. Would I be able to cope in his position and resist that act of desperation? In all honesty, I don’t think I could, it’s just a matter of time until the wall of denial would crumble, eventually giving in to acceptance and desperation. A View from the Bridge is a well written play; it appeals to our hearts, but makes us think with our heads.

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Beatrice A View From The Bridge. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Beatrice A View From The Bridge
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