Arthur Millers play ‘A View from the Bridge’ was set in the Italian – America neighbourhood of Brooklyn during the 1950s. During this time the close community was governed by Italian codes of justice, vengeance and the strict laws of the US immigration. Back then immigration to ‘the land of the free’ was common. The immigrants ‘Marco’ and ‘Rudolpho’ move from Italy where they were suffering times of high unemployment to America where they stay with their cousin Beatrice, her husband Eddie and their adopted niece Catherine.
It is only on the arrival of the cousins that the underlying feelings of Eddie become apparent, and his fate is set on a course of destruction. In the play, the most obvious and important relationship is between Eddie and Catherine. Catherine herself is the blood relative of Beatrice, but its Eddie who promised on her mothers death-bed to raise Catherine as his own daughter. Catherine and Eddie have a very strong relationship; she likes to have his approval on everything and enjoys fussing over him when he returns from work.
Catherine has a very relaxed attitude towards Eddie and shows off her new skirt in front of him. We later learn from Beatrice that Catherine walks around the house in a slip and often sits on the bath when Eddie is shaving. Beatrice is unhappy about this and tells Catherine she must act differently now that she is a grown woman. At the start of the play Eddie gives us the impression of being an over protective guardian. But at the arrival of Rudolpho and Marco, his feeling change towards Catherine and he shows a more incestuous and jealous part of his nature.
A relationship soon forms between Catherine and Rudolpho. Eddie is actually jealous of their relationship as he sees Catherine moving further and further out of his life. He quickly becomes griped by a powerful passion for Catherine and takes every opportunity to put Rudolpho down and make assumptions on his character by saying ‘he ain’t right’ and accusing him of just being after his papers. Catherine makes it clear that she is going to marry Rudolpho no matter what Eddie’s opinion of him is.
Eddie is now desperate and kisses Rudolpho to try and prove that he is in fact gay. This only angers Catherine more and she drifts emotionally further away from Eddie. Taking the last and most dishonourable resort, Eddie phones up the immigration beuro and betrays Rudolpho to them. Not only putting Rudolpho in danger of being shipped back but Marco as well. Beatrice is extremely unhappy with the situation between Catherine and Eddie. She sees that Eddie has developed stronger feeling towards Catherine than is acceptable in an Uncle/Niece situation.
She warns Eddie on many occasions to leave Catherine to grow up on her own and to stop treating her like a baby. Beatrice accepts that Catherine has to make her own choices in life and should be allowed to learn from her own mistakes. This is why Beatrice encourages her to get a job and to ignore Eddie’s comments about Rudolpho. Eddie’s infatuation with Catherine takes its toll not only on the general attitude towards his wife but also on their sex life. Beatrice informs us that it has been three months since they have made love.