In the 1930s, the great depression took its toll on many families particularly Arthur Miller’s who moved down the social ladder to the working class area of Brooklyn, New York. To make ends meet after graduating Miller continued with manual labour whilst writing. For two years he worked at the Brooklyn docks where he met and befriended Italian shipyard workers and came into contact with the Italian community. A View from the Bridge was based on this experience. The central situation and issue of a View from the Bridge is immigration – Italian workers coming over to New York and trying to make a living.
All the themes and issues of justice, legality, dignity and the American dream emerge from the backdrop of illegal immigration. For centuries America had been the land of opportunity for Europeans of all nationalities, a place for the persecuted and for those who wanted a better lot in life. Immigrants flocked the continent from east to west.
In a View from the Bridge, by the time of Marco and Rodolpho’s arrival things had changed. The US government were refusing any more immigrants plea to enter the country seeking work due to poverty and unemployment in Italy. This was Rodolpho and Marcos story.They had to leave their families in Italy in order to survive. Life was not easy for them as with the immigration Bureau constantly searching there was an extremely high risk of them being caught and deported. The slightest thing could evolve into a tip off to the Immigration bureau. i.
e. – offending their co-workers, protesting labour conditions or even small personal conditions. This is where Eddie plays a huge part in the play as he has a grudge against Rodolpho due to the jealousy on Eddie’s part of the love between Rodolpho and Catherine. “He’s stealing from me.
” He therefore reports Rodolpho and `his accomplice` Marco as illegal immigrants, “Give me the number of the Immigration Bureau. I want to report something illegal. Illegal immigrants. Two of them. ” He did this hoping that it could bring him an opportunity to be with his niece Catherine. “I take the blankets off my bed for him and he takes and puts his dirty filthy hands on her like a goddam thief! ” This is quite a perverted storyline which brings intrigue and is definitely random. Eddie is a very prejudice person and is extremely stereotypical.
“I want my respect. Didn’t you ever hear of that? From my wife.” He believes men are better than anyone else and they must look and act a certain way otherwise they aren’t manly at all. “Shocked, horrified, his fists clenching. ” He believes that women should do as the men in their life say, “I heard enough! Come on, let’s go! ” Eddie is the protagonist of the play. He has a very particular view. He is adamant that men should be a certain way with their women and has very specific views on what they can and cannot do, “he is incensing himself and little bits of laughter even escape him as his eyes are murderous and he cracks his knuckles in his hands with a strange sort of relaxation.” When Rodolpho begins to treat Catherine how he feels to be right, a princess, Eddie refuses to accept the fact that he isn’t homosexual.
“Rodolpho making you a dress? ” and “Come on kid, put sump’m behind it. ” Rodolpho asks Catherine to dance, does everything he can do for her and makes sure she is happy. “My heart dies to look at you. ” This leads to conflict with Eddie.
He makes out that this is the wrong way to treat a woman. He only acts in this way because he is jealous of the relationship between Rodolpho and Catherine. “Eddie stands there with tears rolling down his face as he laughs mockingly at Rodolpho.
” He does his utmost to make Rodolpho out to be a thug who isn’t right for Catherine. He gets Rodolpho to fight him as he believes that’s what a man should be able to do, “Betcha you have done some, heh? ” When Rodolpho refuses he becomes more and more adamant he is homosexual. “Well, I don’t know how to .
. . I don’t want to hit you Eddie. ” He continues to get him to fight and when he eventually does he prolongs it as long as he possibly can so that Catherine can come into the room to see her `love` hitting her uncle.
“Look at him go!” However, when Catherine doesn’t see the situation Eddie wanted her to he gets more and more wound up which leads to him going to the immigration bureau so that Rodolpho is forced to leave the country. Eddie enjoys the fact that he has been able to be a proper man and fight and win. However, when Marco steps into confront him his views change and he doesn’t like the fact that he isn’t `King pin` and isn’t the best anymore. He feels threatened by Marcos behaviour which again leads to conflict.
This again gives Eddie more incentive to go to the Immigration Bureau and report them for being in the country illegally.Marcos behaviour proves him to be extremely cunning. He has a plan that will surely bring down Eddie’s confidence. He brings a chair into the scenario and puts it down in front of himself and Eddie. He asks Eddie to lift it.
He does this as lifting a chair by its leg with one hand is the hardest thing for anybody to do. It is a fantastic way to prove exactly how much of a man you actually are. Marco believes that Eddie is bullying his brother, Rodolpho and therefore challenges him to see exactly how much of a man Eddie actually is.When attempting to lift the chair above his head Eddie fails miserably but when Marco attempts it he is very successful.
“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 Eddie’s head – and he transforms what might appear like a glare of warning into a smile of triumph, and Eddie’s grin vanishes as he absorbs his look. ” Now, the possessiveness Eddie had over Catherine seems to have deteriorated. Eddie doesn’t seem to be that confident anymore.