A view from the bridge by Arthur Miller Essay Sample
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A view from the bridge by Arthur Miller Essay Sample
This extract from ‘A view from the bridge’ by Arthur Miller is just after Catherine and Rodolfo are left alone at home, In this scene Eddie’s worst nightmare is realized when he sees both of them together coming from the bedroom. This infuriates him and he believes that the worst has happened. The scene conveys Eddie’s irrational state of mind and highlights his peripeteia. Miller uses the stage directions and character’s dialogues to highlight tension and to convey the rising conflict both external between Eddie and Rodolfo and Catherine by kissing them and internally within Eddie.
Miller conveys with the help of language techniques such as: imperative and adjectives, Eddies lack of control over his body which in turn results in his instinctual behavior coming to the fore. Through Miller’s presentation of Eddie’s jealousy and hatred towards Rodolfo the audience slowly loses sympathy for him and is now regarding him as an outcast. Miller uses the stage directions and dialogues to convey Eddie’s unstable state of mind which creates tension and leads to the climax of the conflict.
Eddie enters the apartment ‘unsteady, drunk’ showing that he has been drinking as he takes out the bottles of ‘whiskey’ which conveys that he is unstable and foreshadows potential for conflict. Tension is built up by his impatience and constant calling for ‘Beatrice’ which again emphasizes his drunkenness. The audience senses a rise in tension from Eddie’s unstable mind and his ‘unsteady’ movements which makes then worry for Catherine and Rodolfo as ‘it is the first time they’ve been alone’.
Catherine’s entrance is very dramatic as she enters from the ‘bedroom’ and ‘adjusts her dress’ under Eddie’s eyes. The immediately creates tension as Eddie would start to suspect what she was doing in the bedroom, it also creates anticipation for the audience as they know Rodolfo is also in the bedroom. Miller uses Rodolfo’s entrance to convey Eddie’s horror and instinctual behaviours. Rodolfo’s appearance ‘in the bedroom doorway’ sets Eddie’s mind in horror as ‘his arm jerks slightly in shock’.
The adjective ‘jerks’ shows that the movement is incontrollable and spontaneous revealing to the audience his shock and horror. This shock results in Eddie losing control over himself and letting his instinctual behaviour come to the fore which leads him onto kissing both Catherine and Rodolfo. The audience is revealed to the truth that with the help of whiskey Eddie is able to let out his true feelings for Catherine which he has been oppressing and trying to ignore. It also makes the audience pity him as he has to use whiskey to numb his pain as he cannot find another way to deal with the problem.
The act of kissing Catherine on the mouth has sexual overtones and show’s Eddie’s irrational state of mind; it highlights his passion for Catherine and his inappropriate feelings for her. This is triggered by Eddie’s long affection for her which with the help of the whiskey he is able to face. Eddie’s use of imperatives shows of his self centeredness as he wants to keep Catherine all to himself by commanding her that ‘you ain’t goin’ nowheres’. However the climax of the scene is reached when he ‘kisses her on the mouth’.
He does the by force as he ‘draws her to him’ ‘as she strives to free herself’ showing the extent of his irrationality and his lack of control over his actions. The audience feels horrified by his actions and loses sympathy for him. Miller conveys Eddie’s inner conflict as he struggles to reason with his instincts and foreshadows future conflict between him and Catherine and Rodolfo as the kissing is symbolic of his peripeteia. The audience sympathises with Catherine as she is ‘trembling with fright’ as she has never seen Eddie in that state before highlighting Eddie’s unstable state of mind.
Miller uses the kissing of Catherine to convey Eddie’s true feelings for her and to create high dramatic tension. Miller uses the kissing of Rodolfo to emphasize the extent of Eddie’s pain and conveys his mockery and hatred towards Rodolfo. Eddie, seeing the appearance of both Catherine and Rodolfo in front of ‘the bedroom’ loses all sense of reasoning and starts to follow his instincts. He first commands Rodolfo using imperatives to ‘pack it up’ and ‘bet outa here’ and seems to be losing control over the situation as he is trying to get rid of Rodolfo but not of the real problem – his unnatural feelings for Catherine.
He then challenges Rodolfo’s manhood by saying ‘come on, show me! What’re you gonna be? ‘ his remarks and questions are bitter and barbed which shows his hatred and dislike of Rodolfo and makes the audience feel uncomfortable. Finally he ‘pins his [Rodolfo’s] arms’ and ‘kisses him’ showing that he wants to prove to Catherine that Rodolfo is homosexual and uses this as an desperate attempt to separate them from being together. Eddie’s emotion is shown to be unstable and is on the verge of breaking as he ‘stands there with tears rolling down his face as he laughs mockingly at Rodolfo’ this conveys the idea of a maniac who has lost all senses.
The audience picks up on Eddie’s desperate mind and is reminded of his mocking of Rodolfo’s skills in the play such as ‘cooking’ and ‘singing’ as in this extract Eddie again mocks Rodolfo when he asks Catherine ‘Rodolfo making you a dress? ‘ imply his homosexuality. Miller uses these two kisses to convey the extent of Eddie’s desperation and pain and emphasizes on his lack of self control. Arthur Miller through this extract conveys to the audience Eddie’s unstable state of mind.
It reveals his inner self conflict with his reasoning and instincts and shows his external conflict with both Catherine and Rodolfo. Miller uses the sequential kissing to highlight tension and Eddie’s peripeteia while bringing the scene to its climax. Eddie’s lack of self control results in his instinctual behaviour coming to the fore and taking over his rationality. The audience is presented with Eddie’s irrational state of mind combined with his unhealthy love for Catherine and hatred and jealousy towards Rodolfo.