A View from the Bridge Context Italian Immigration вЂў Between 1876 to 1924, over 4.5 million Italians arrived in the US, out of a population of only approximately 14 million in Italy. вЂў Unable to earn a livelihood in their home country, they became migratory labourers. вЂў The majority of Italian immigrants were men in their teens and twenties, who planned to work, save money and eventually return home to Italy. вЂў 20 to 30 percent of these Italian immigrants returned to Italy permanently. Italian Immigration вЂў After WW2, the Italian economy was slow to grow (especially in the South) вЂў With no jobs and no prospects, it was not surprising that many people decided to try their luck in 'rich' America. There was a thriving trade in illegal immigration, encouraged by the dockyard owners, who knew that they could get cheap labour from immigrants until they had paid for their passage over. Once they had paid their fare, the immigrants were left to make their own way. Treatment of Sicilians вЂў Many were arrested and detained under the вЂ�Alien Registration ActвЂ™ вЂў Accused of introducing criminal element to America (the Mafia) Sicilian/American Culture вЂў "La Familiga" (the family) was at the core of Italian immigrant life, and often seen as the root of survival. вЂў Patriarchal вЂў American values clashed with traditional Italian values A View from the Bridge Plot How the play opens вЂў Lawyer Alfieri sets the scene: talks about justice and the law; he then introduces Eddie вЂў Eddie arrives home with the news that his wives cousins from Italy (Marco and Rodolpho) have reached New York вЂ“ it is clear that this has been arranged вЂў His niece, Catherine, enters and explains that she has been offered employment вЂ“ this distresses Eddie The Arrival of the Cousins вЂў When the cousins arrive they are warmly welcomed. вЂў Catherine shows interest in the younger cousin, Rodolpho, and this seems to upset Eddie вЂў Catherine and Rodolpho soon fall in love and Eddie becomes more hostile towards Rodolpho, it is becoming clear to the audience that Eddie has feelings towards his niece Catherine falls for Rodolpho вЂў As Eddie becomes increasingly hostile towards Rodolpho, Beatrice questions the state of their own marriage. Eddie dismisses this and continues to obsess over CatherineвЂ™s relationship вЂў Eddie finally confronts Catherine and tells her that Rodolpho is using her. вЂў Beatrice tries to make Catherine stand up for herself, and warns her to be less intmate with Eddie End of Act One вЂў Eddie goes to Alfieri for help and is amazed to find out that Rodolpho is not breaking the law by marrying Catherine вЂў Alfieri warns that Eddie loves his niece too much вЂў The act ends in tension: Eddie pretends to teach Rodolpho how to box, but it is Marco who ends the scene by displaying his brute strength as if to warn Eddie Act Two вЂў Catherine and Rodolpho are alone in the department, after discussing marriage (as well as EddieвЂ™s fears over RodolphoвЂ™s hidden agenda), Catherine and Rodolpho go into the bedroom. вЂў Eddie returns home drunk to find the pair leaving the bedroom. вЂў Aghast, Eddie reacts by kissing Catherine вЂ“ he then fights Rodolpho and kisses him too Immigration Bureau вЂў Eddie pleads with Alfieri for help. Alfieri tries to warn him of the consequences of his actions but Eddie doesnвЂ™t listen. вЂў Eddie phones the immigration bureau вЂў Beatrice breaks the news that Catherine and Rodolpho are getting married to Eddie вЂў Rodolpho and Marco have moved upstairs to lodge with other illegal immigrants Too Late вЂў By the time Eddie regrets his decision, it is too late, and the authorities arrive вЂў When Catherine realises what has happened, she turns on Eddie вЂў When taken away, Marco spits on EddieвЂ™s face and accuses him of stealing food from his children вЂў The honour of Eddie and Marco is now at stake The climax вЂў After a reluctant Marco agrees not to kill Eddie, Alfieri bails him out of jail to watch his brother marry Catherine вЂў On the day of the wedding Eddie refuses to let Beatrice go. He then hears of Marco praying in the church вЂ“ this, and BвЂ™s accusation of his feelings towards his niece, fuels his anger, and he tries to find Marco вЂў The two men fight, Eddie draws a knife, but Marco turns it onto him. How the play ends вЂў Eddie dies in Beatrice's arms. вЂў Alfieri closes the play, commenting on how useless Eddie's death was, and on how much he admired him for allowing himself to be "wholly known." A View from the Bridge Themes Honour вЂў Honour is extremely important to all the characters, and this is first apparent when Eddie and Beatrice describe the fate of a young boy who broke his code of honour: вЂ“ (B) вЂњOh, it was terrible. He had five brothers and the old father. And they grabbed him in the kitchen and pulled him down the stairs вЂ“ three flights his head was bouncinвЂ™ like a coconut.вЂќ вЂ“ (E) вЂњJust remember, kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a word you gave away.вЂќ вЂў Patriarchal Honour: вЂ“ вЂњHeвЂ™s stealing from me!вЂќ Honour вЂў MarcoвЂ™s value of honour: вЂў Marco has been turned into the authorities by Eddie, his sense of honour is clear here: вЂ“ вЂњIn my country he would be dead now. He would not live this long.вЂќ вЂў Eddie also has a strong sense of honour: вЂ“ вЂњI want my name!вЂќ Love вЂў Throughout the play, Eddie displays an uncomfortable, and at times inappropriate love for his niece. This is revealed early on, when Eddie is confronted with the sight of his niece in a short skirt, explaining that she has been offered a job. вЂ“ вЂњNow donвЂ™t aggravate me, Katie, you are walkinвЂ™ wavy! I donвЂ™t like the looks theyвЂ™re givinвЂ™ you in the candy store. And with them high heels on the sidewalk вЂ“ clack, clack, clack. The heads are turninвЂ™ like windmills.вЂќ Love вЂў Eddie and Beatrice's marriage is obviously not as strong as it used to be: Beatrice asks, "When am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?" They have not slept together for months. вЂў Catherine and Rodolpho quickly fall deeply in love, but even this love provides insight to the inappropriate love that Eddie has for Catherine. вЂ“ вЂњOh, Catherine вЂ“ oh, little girl. вЂ“ I love you, Rodolpho, I love you. вЂ“ Then why are you afraid? That heвЂ™ll spank you?вЂќ Love вЂў Beatrice is a wife devoted to her husband, however there are problems within the marriage, and she is torn between her love for her husband and her love and protection for her niece. вЂ“ вЂњItвЂ™s wonderful for a whole family to love each other, but youвЂ™re a grown woman and youвЂ™re in the same house with a grown man. So youвЂ™ll act different now, heh?вЂќ вЂў BeatriceвЂ™s remarks over EddieвЂ™s feelings towards Catherine make it clear to the audience that his behaviour has been noticed by those around him. вЂ“ (B) (to C): I donвЂ™t understand this. HeвЂ™s not your father, Catherine. I donвЂ™t understand whatвЂ™s going on here.вЂќ Justice and the Law вЂў At the beginning of the play, Alfieri explains the ItalianAmerican perceptions of the law, and provides the idea that this is viewed as a negative thing by the characters within the play вЂ“ вЂњA lawyer means the law, and in Sicily, from where their fathers came, the law has not been a friendly idea since the Greeks were beatenвЂќ вЂў Later, Alfieri relies on the American law to try to deter Eddie from going to desperate measures: вЂ“ вЂњYou have no recourse in the law, EddieвЂќ вЂў MarcoвЂ™s dismay at the American justice system highlights the clash in values between America and Sicily вЂ“ вЂњThe law? All the law is not in a book.вЂќ вЂ“ вЂњ The Law Cont... вЂў (M): He degraded my brother. My blood. He robbed my children, he mocks my work. I work to come here, mister! вЂў (A): I know, Marco вЂ“ вЂў (M): There is no law for that? Where is the law for that? вЂў (A): There is none. A View from the Bridge Characters Eddie вЂў Eddie and inner conflict: вЂ“ YouвЂ™re the madonna typeвЂќ вЂў Eddie and conflict with Rodolpho: вЂ“ вЂњWatch your step, submarine. By rights they oughta throw you back in the water.вЂќ вЂў Eddie and Marco: вЂ“ вЂњYou lied about me, Marco. Now say it. Come on now, say it!вЂќ вЂ“ вЂњAnima-a-a-l!вЂќ вЂў Eddie and Beatrice: вЂ“ вЂњI want my respect. DidnвЂ™t you hear of that? From my wife?вЂќ вЂ“ вЂњMy B.!вЂќ Alfieri вЂў Similar to the chorus in Greek tragedy, Alfieri acts as narrator, explaining events as if they have already occurred вЂ“ this creates a sense of dramatic irony вЂ“ we, the audience, already know which character will suffer a terrible fate. And, like Alfieri, all we can do is watch the events unfold. вЂ“ вЂњEddie Carbone had never expected to have a destiny. A man works, raises his family, goes bowling, eats, gets old, and then he dies. Now, as the weeks passed, there was a future, there was trouble that would not go away.вЂќ Alfieri вЂў At the end of the episode, as the light goes up on Alfieri, we are challenged to make a judgement. If Eddie, as we see him, appeals to our hearts, Alfieri makes sure we also judge with our heads вЂў Alfieri continues to warn the audience of EddieвЂ™s fate, this adds to the tension вЂ“ вЂњI knew where he was heading for, I knew where he was going to end. And I sat here many afternoons asking myself why, being an intelligent man, I was so powerless to stop it.вЂќ вЂ“ вЂњI could see every step coming, step after step, like a dark figure walking down a hall toward a certain door. I knew where he was heading for, I knew where he was going to end.вЂќ Marco and Rodolpho вЂў Rodolpho is more prominent in the first act and at the start of the second, while Marco becomes more important towards the end of the play. вЂў Where Rodolpho speaks almost incessantly, Marco is often silent. He has some difficulty speaking English, but this is not his only reason. He is very attentive to what is going on and being said, he thinks and then speaks, and he clearly believes actions speak louder than words. Marco and Rodolpho вЂў Both Rodolpho and Marco are proud, but Marco has a stronger sense of the traditional values of the community. When Eddie attempts a joke about the "surprises" awaiting men who return from working in the U.S.A. for several years, Marco corrects him, while appearing not to see anything funny in the suggestion. It is Marco who tells Alfieri that at home Eddie would already be dead for his betrayal: he feels even more strongly than Eddie does the values which Eddie expresses in telling the story of Vinnie Bolzano. Rodolpho, on the other hand, tries to calm his brother, and offers Eddie a chance to make peace, a chance which Eddie spurns. CatherineвЂ™s Views of Eddie вЂў вЂњHere! IвЂ™ll light it for you! She strikes a match and holds it to his cigar. He puffs. Quietly: DonвЂ™t worry about me, Eddie, heh?вЂќ вЂў вЂњI mean I know him and now IвЂ™m supposed to turn around and make a stranger out of him? I donвЂ™t know why I have to do thatвЂќ вЂў (E): Go, go. Hurry up! She stands a moment staring at him in a realized horror. вЂў вЂњHe bites people when they sleep! He comes when nobodyвЂ™s lookinвЂ™ and poisons decent people. In the garbage he belongs!вЂќ вЂў вЂњEddie I never meant to do nothinвЂ™ bad to you.вЂќ Beatrice вЂў Beatrice confronts Eddie in Act one over their relationship. This reveals the extent of their marriage problems to the audience and adds more reason for the tension вЂ“ вЂњWhen am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?вЂќ вЂ“ вЂњYou want somethinвЂ™ else, Eddie, and you can never have her!вЂќ вЂў She also tries to encourage Catherine to separate herself from Eddie, as if she, like Alfieri, can sense what is going to happen: вЂ“ вЂњI donвЂ™t understand this. HeвЂ™s not your father, Catherine. I donвЂ™t understand whatвЂ™s going on here.вЂќ вЂ“ вЂњyouвЂ™re a grown woman and youвЂ™re in the same house with a grown manвЂќ A View from the Bridge Key Scenes The Chair вЂў The climax of Act One вЂў Rodolpho teaches Catherine to dance, the action allowing physical closeness; вЂў Eddie, to "win back" his beloved, humiliates Rodolpho in a boxing "lesson" вЂў The final action trumps Eddie's, as Marco, who has silently watched what is happening, shows Eddie the danger he invites by threatening Rodolpho. Politeness does not permit Marco to say anything, and the gesture is far more effective as the audience sees the chair "raised like a weapon" over Eddie's head The Chair вЂў Marco is face to face with Eddie, a strained tension gripping his eyes and jaw, his neck stiff, the chair raised like a weapon over EddieвЂ™s head вЂ“ and he transforms what might appear like a glare of warning into a smile of triumph, and EddieвЂ™s grin vanishes as he absorbs his look. The Kiss вЂў The two kisses at the start of Act Two are equally effective on stage: one with its suggestion of incest and the other illustrating Eddie's mistaken belief in Rodolpho's homosexuality. вЂ“ (C): Eddie, IвЂ™m not gonna be a baby any more! вЂ“ She is staring at him in horror. Rodolpho is rigid. They are like animals that have torn at one another and broken up without a decision, each waiting for the otherвЂ™s mood. The Final Scene вЂў In the final scene AlfieriвЂ™s warnings have finally come true, Eddie dies as a result of his confrontation with Marco. Both Catherine and Beatrice are present when he dies вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂ“ вЂ“ (C): Eddie I never meant to do nothing bad to you. (E): Then why вЂ“ Oh, B.! (B): Yes, Yes! (E): My B.! вЂў The final action of the play is where Eddie dies by his own hand and his own weapon вЂ“ this could represent his own selfdestruction A View from the Bridge Other Dramatic Techniques Stage Directions вЂў The stage directions give the reader an insight into EddieвЂ™s feelings towards Rodolpho: вЂ“ вЂњhe is sizing up Rodolpho, and there is a concealed suspicion.вЂќ вЂ“ вЂњHe moves from her, halts. She realizes there is a campaign solidified in himвЂќ вЂў They also reveal his feelings towards his niece; вЂ“ вЂњhe canвЂ™t help smiling at herвЂќ Symbolism вЂў Symbolism is most often found in the action, and has been discussed above (the dancing, the chair-as-weapon, Eddie's dying by his own hand). The set as well as accommodating the action is symbolic of Eddie's world and values: the apartment (home, where the family is) and the street (the wider community, where he meets friends). Symbolism вЂў The story of Vinny Bolzano is a parable about the need for solidarity and loyalty in the community (this ranks even above family ties, it seems), but also is prophetically symbolic of Eddie's own act of treachery. Symbolism вЂў Finally, there is symbolism in the play's title. After we see have seen the play, we wonder why the play is so named. We are made to think of the more panoramic view, which sees things, from afar, in relation to each other. It is not the view from ground level or the "water front", but a detached and objective view. This is the view we should have of Eddie, the view of Alfieri, the view that is "civilised" and will "settle for half".