Manliness, Hostility, Aggression Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:25:15
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How are these ideas connected? A View from the Bridge was written in 1955 and is set in the 1940s in Red Hook Brooklyn, a poor suburb of New York populated by a large Italo-American Community. There are lots of illegal immigrants living in this community, all pursuing the American Dream. Arthur Miller had spent time living there with the longshoremen and working for a short time on the docks with them. This gave him an insight into the difficult conditions of their lives, the way they lived and how poor their lives were.

He had also been to Sicily and was shocked by the poverty and amazed by the strict and violent code of honour which the people there were suspected to abide by. The plot of his play originated from a story he heard about in America where someone informed the authorities about illegal immigrants because he was of jealousy of them. This man had then been disowned by the community because of it he had lost his name. Poverty, jealousy, codes of conduct and ideas of what it is to be manly all combine to create the dramatic tension in this play and contribute to its effect.

Eddie Carbone is the main character in the play. It is around him, his ideas about what it means to be manly and also his attraction to his niece Catherine that the action centres. We follow him as the certainties of his world are challenged and he reacts in the only way he knows how by defending what he sees as the most important thing for a man, his good name. It is a violent place that they live in and one where betrayal of family to the authorities is seen as just about the worst thing that you can do.

Eddie and Beatrice tell a story at the beginning of the play which illustrates this. A boy who had informed on some illegal immigrants had been disowned by his family and thrown out of the community. He had been thrown downstairs and his head was bouncin like a coconut. Eddie makes it clear that, even though its a sad situation for a 14 year old boy to be beaten up and thrown out, it was inevitable once hed lost his honour and good name, Youll never see him no more, a guy do a thing like that? Hows he gonna show his face?

The problem for Eddie is that he needs to be seen as a real man with a good name who is respected but because of his attraction to his niece, Catherine, he allows himself to feel jealous of her lover, Rodolfo, and is ready to risk everything to stop them being together. Eddie has a clear and simple vision of what it means to be a man and he reacts with hostility and aggression to any other character in the play that either challenges him and his ideas or who does not show any signs of what he considers to be manly. Eddie considers a man to be someone who looks after and is the leader of the family.

At the very beginning of the play we get an idea of the position of the three members of the family and the relationships between them. The women stay at home and Eddie goes out to work. When he comes home from work the women are waiting for him. Beatrice, for example, is in the kitchen preparing food and Catherine almost straightaway goes to get him a beer. He likes to see himself as the head of the house and whatever he says goes. He tells Beatrice off when she tries to stand up to him when they are talking about Catherines new job, You lived in a house all your life, what do you know about it.

You never worked in your life. It is important to Eddie that he sees himself as the protector of the family. For example, he is very proud of the way he has brought up Catherine when her mother died. Even though he disapproves of Rodolfo and is jealous of him he defends him against Mike and Louies jokes because he has taken him into his house and his protection, Hes a kid yet, yknow? Hes just a kid thats all. Later in the play when Beatrice is complaining that they dont sleep together anymore Eddie tells her, I do what I feel like doin or what I dont feel like doin'.

He even uses his idea of how a family should be when he is trying to make out that he didnt inform on Marco and Eddie. When Beatrice does not believe what he is saying about why the immigration men came he says to her, a wifes supposed to believe her husband. All of these quotes by Eddie show that he is constantly trying to reinforce his role as the dominant figure in the family. In spite of Eddie wanting to be the head of the house and the man of the family, it gets more and more obvious during the play that things are not quite right.

Early on in the play Beatrice, his wife, looks at him, into his eyes and says, Im just worried about you, thats all Im worried. Later on she asks him, When am I goin to be a wife again, Eddie? He is not fulfilling his obligations as a man and husband to Beatrice. The reason she is worried is that he seems to be more interested in Catherine than in her. He comments on everything Catherine does and wants to control it. He wants to tell her what to wear and even how to walk. He hates to think that she might be attractive to other men.

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