The Play ‘A View form the bridge’ is a modern Greek tragedy. A tragedy is a serous play representing the disastrous downfall of a central character. Tragedy is descended from ancient Greek theatre. The features of a Greek tragedy are: A tragic hero- The key element of a tragic hero is his or her weakness or mistake that changes everything for the worse; Melodrama- A melodrama is any type of writing that relies on sensational happenings; A Chorus- This was a group of actors who would inform the audience of events happening in the play, both on and off stage (A character called Alfieri takes this role in the play).
When Arthur Miller was composing the play ‘A View from the bridge’ he wished to write ‘a Modern Greek tragedy’ as he was told a story which had a similar plot as the one he ended up writing. The play is set in America- Brooklyn water-front. In particular, the influenced of Sicilians brought in strong family traditions, both good and bad, at the time this play was set Italy were on the losing side of WW2. In the play he explores the struggles of the ordinary man against authority and very impulsive odds. The play’s action centers on the main character of the play Eddie, as every significant act in the drama is somehow connected to him.
These stage directions show this “[He feints with his left hand and lands with his right. It mildly staggers RODOLPHO. MARCO rises]”. This shows that Eddie punches Rodolpho straight on the face. The language shows that Rodolpho staggers which shows this does shock him. The affect this has on the audience is that they now know that Eddie can be very sly so he can make out as if he was not trying to hurt Rodolpho. This shows drama and again it is involving Eddie. This is also dramatic tension as the audience knows that he wanted to do this as does Marco.
There are many reasons why Miller wrote the play ‘a view from the bridge’, one of these reasons were to show that the American dream was not all what it was cracked up to be. In addition to this he is showing how good, traditional, honest men people break the siclean code. The play has been modernized from a Greek tragedy as the traditional Geek plays where usually based around royalty and where mostly public affairs rather then private ones. I think Miller has done this to make the play feel more realistic, as it shows someone’s mistakes or weakness can affect everyone around them and usually turns for the worse.
However Miller does stick to many other aspects to traditional Greek Tragedy. For example it has a tragic hero- Eddie; as well as a chorus- Alfieri, Most importantly has very strong scenes of melodrama and it has a very tragic ending! This is what I am going to explore in my essay; how the play follows the conventions of the genre tragedy. All tragedies have a triadic hero; a tragic hero is a character in a play that causes the tragedy by his or her mistake or weakness. In this play Eddie is the protagonist who has a flaw in his character. In Greek Literature, this fatal flaw is called ‘Hamatia’.
Eddie is the tragic hero in this play as it is weakness that takes control over him- his feelings for Catherine is his flaw. ” It’s breakin’ my heart, y’know. I-“This quote shows that Eddie really cares about Catherine however maybe too much. The language used is speech which has parts of colloquial language in it. The affect this has in the audience is that now they know that Eddie has true feelings for Catherine. This supports my point that Eddie does have feelings as he is saying his heart is breaking. Eddie is a tragic hero as he is the main cause of all the drama happening in the play.
His weakness is Catherine, as he is self-deluded. He does not believe that he fancy’s his niece however, it is pretty obverses in the play. ” With your hair that way you look like a Madonna, you know that? “. This is showing Eddie is complementing Catherine; saying she is really beautiful. This is a little like a rhetorical question as Eddie does not expect an answer from Catherine. Eddie is a good and honest man initially at the beginning of the play. “He was as good a man as he had to be in a life that was hard and even” This shows that in the past Eddie was an honorable and decent man.
However, the langue that suggests he is speaking from the past, the word ‘was’ proves this, this would suggest that things are going to change or already have. The factors that lead to his downfall would be when he goes to see Mr. Alfieri, as before he was a good hard working man, and then his weakness takes control over him. Here he gets frustrated “I walked hungry plenty days in this city! And now I gotta site in my own house and look at that son-of-a-bitch punk like that… “. This is showing Eddie is getting angry as there is an exclamation mark.
There is also more slang in the quotation ‘gotta’ this is used as it is in speech to create realism. This quote shows that Eddie is really having enough and that soon he will pop. The audience can see this quite clearly as there are many exclamation marks throughout Eddie’s and Alfieri’s conversation. But it is not till nearer the end of the play that Eddie has his main downfall where he finally goes back on the silcean code which he has kept to throughout the play. He finally concludes to ‘grass’ on his family. “I want to report something. Illegal immigrants. Two of them.
That’s right. 441 Saxon Street, Brooklyn, yeah. ” Here you can see that Eddie is on the phone because of the short answers and it would not make sense if someone was not to be said between the full stops and commas. This quote shows Eddie telling the immigration service about Marco and Rodolpho. The audience are feeling sorry for Eddie as he has been self-deluded for so long and know he has realized what he really want’s he has to get rid of rodolpho. A reason that they would also feel sorry for Eddie would be the stage directions just before he called the immigration services.
“[A phone booth begins to glow on the opposite side of the stage; a faint, lonely blue. EDDIE stands up, jaws clenched]”. This shows Eddie is extremely angry as he has his fists clenched. As well as this there is a faint, lonely blue glow that shines on him, this would show he is really depressed. The audience would feel sorry for him here. In addition to this, Eddies emotion is empathized as you can imagine how he feel’s, as he has brought up Catherine and someone he does not like wants to marry her, and Eddie is self-deluded so does not think that he fancy’s her. Eddie thinks he is just looking out for her.
He is really struggling as he can not fight his feelings. The main feature of tragedy is the tragic ending of the play that is really melodramatic. In the ending there are loads of points showing anger for example when Marco calls Eddie an animal “Anima-a-a-l! ” this is showing anger and disrespect as there is another exclamation mark that shows that it was most probably shouted and the fact that he calls Eddie an animal connotes that he no longer has any respect for him. The word animal connotes a savage portrait. It is also very debatable who killed Eddie as the stage directions are not as clear as they could be.