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Essay on 'A View from the Bridge' by Cherokee Paul McDonald

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A View from the Bridge is a tragedy set in the industrial dockyards of Brooklyn in the 1950s after the destructive Second World War. Eddie Carbone, middle-aged, working class, and suffering from deep-rooted confusion generates conflict with all the characters he interacts with due to his toxic masculinity and manipulative personality. This is principally expressed through the conflict between the various characters in the play as well as Eddie’s internal conflicts which stem from his hamartia and tragic flaw: his persistent refusal to accept his unnatural feelings for his niece, Catherine. Additionally, Miller exacerbates conflict through the underlying themes of the play such as the law as opposed to justice and masculinity in contrast to femininity. As the play progresses, Miller chronicles the descent of the common man as conflict builds which leads to Eddie’s eventual tragic downfall. Conflict is initially introduced to the audience through the difference between law and justice. Alfieri is used as a choric character that structurally separates the dramatic story through his periodic appearances and comments on the unfolding action to advise how the audience should react, similar to Ancient Greek plays. This is due to Alfieri’s long monologues, which contrast with the remainder of the play’s dialogue, which is brief, conversational, and tense.

Eddie’s disconnection and dysfunctional marriage with Beatrice serve as a source of conflict in the drama. Beatrice makes it clear early immediately that she and Eddie are having marital problems and that Eddie, who is manipulative and patriarchal, is in charge of their relationship. In the 1950s the US is seen as socially conservative which is reflected in Eddie as he embodies those patriarchal qualities. When she asks him when he will treat her like a wife again, she is hinting that Eddie does not act intimately with her and hasn’t done so in a long time, lacking the attention that she desires from her own husband, as she asks, ‘When am I going to be your wife again?’ The conflict between them is fueled by her feelings of being ignored and disregarded. Eddie’s thoughts and sentiments are diverted to his niece, Catherine, causing him to overlook Beatrice and spend his attention on Catherine rather than his own wife, who communicates her mounting sorrow by telling Eddie, ‘I’m sick of it,’ demonstrating her hopelessness. Beatrice is a sensitive and sympathetic woman who recognizes Eddie’s motives and is not hesitant to speak out against him in the patriarchal and dominating environment he has built. She understands what her husband is struggling with better than he does himself and despite his attempts to convey his masculinity, she is there to comfort him despite his hostility towards her. Near the end of the play, she reveals to him that his feelings for Catherine are misplaced and can never amount to anything, which greatly angers and shocks Eddie leading to the great conflict between them, and also reveals that Beatrice knew his secret which irritates Eddie. She supports Eddie throughout the play’s events and is always honest with him in spite of his cold attitude towards Beatrice and his constant influence and power over her. Despite the fact that there is a lot of struggle and tension between Beatrice and Eddie, it is resolved in the play’s last minutes of the denouement, when Eddie goes to Beatrice for solace with his dying breaths and chooses to spend his final moments with her. Despite everything he has put her through, Beatrice’s love for him remains strong, and she is there for him when he needs her the most, and she is the only character who remains faithful when everyone else has turned against him.

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In A View From The Bridge, Miller develops friction through Eddie and Catherine’s friendship. Eddie wants to protect Catherine since he is a paternal figure to her and their connection represents a patriarchal society in New York at the time. Eddie remarks at the beginning of the performance that Catherine is ‘walkin’ wavy’ and that ‘the heads are turning like windmills’. This New York slang and simile imply that Catherine is being exploited by dangerous men who believe she is innocent and weak. Through this paternal idea that women should be chaste, the drama addresses gender and women in society. Furthermore, Eddie adds to Catherine, ‘You look like a madonna,’ implying that Eddie idolizes Catherine and wants her to remain pure and innocent like ‘Madonna,’ who represents the Virgin Mary. In a later moment, though, Eddie’s overprotectiveness and suffocation of Catherine drives her to ask Rodolpho, ‘Suppose I wanted to live in Italy.’ As a result of Catherine’s subconscious belief in Eddie’s warning that Rodolpho only wants to marry Catherine because he is ‘bowin’ to his passport,’ a violent showdown happens. The audience is furious with Eddie at this point in the play because he has indoctrinated Catherine to be distrustful of Rodolpho. Eddie’s repressed sexual yearning for Catherine is another source of friction between the family’s father and niece. This is evident in the first scene, which takes place in the family kitchen and features Eddie ‘running his hands down her skirt,’ revealing Eddie’s nearly incestuous attraction to her.

The battle between Eddie and Rodolpho and his brother Marco, the play’s antagonists, which derives from Rodolpho and Eddie’s disagreements, is how Miller explores the issue of violence and retribution. This is most emphasized in Act One’s conclusion when Marco warns Eddie indirectly about the dangers of mistreating his brother Rodolpho. Marco twisting Eddie’s blade on him at the end of the play is foreshadowed by the fact that he utilizes a chair from Eddie’s residence and the simile comparing the ‘chair’ to a weapon. Marco elevates the chair ‘like a weapon over Eddie’s head,’ implying a threat of violence, which is emphasized by the word ‘weapon.’ Because the flat is described as’ skeletal totally’ and contains a ‘living-room-dining room,’. The chair is a dramatic symbol of how props can be weaponized and are used as a centerpiece to reflect the mental and physical power struggle in the play.

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Essay on ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Cherokee Paul McDonald. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 24, 2023, from
“Essay on ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Cherokee Paul McDonald.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
Essay on ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Cherokee Paul McDonald. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Sept. 2023].
Essay on ‘A View from the Bridge’ by Cherokee Paul McDonald [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2023 Sept 24]. Available from:
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