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A View from the Bridge is a play by American playwright Arthur Miller first staged on 29 September 1955 as a one-act verse drama with A Memory of Two Mondays at the Coronet Theatre on Broadway.

A View from the Bridge is set in 1950s America, in an Italian American neighborhood under the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. The area Eddie Carbone and his family live in is called "polis", a tightly knit community where neighbors are almost like family and everyone knows everything about each other. The "polis" is a poor area where all the families are in the same situation; men work at the dock and the women stay at home cooking, cleaning and caring for the children. Owing to the lack of money in the "polis", nobody can afford to leave or travel so the "polis" is the people's life and over time family rules and morals have become law in the community. Immigration laws rendered approaches to the police futile since many of the inhabitants were illegal immigrants. This built up a distinct mistrust for the law with an underlying Sicilian feeling of justice being the guide to how people of the "polis" lived their lives.Miller's interest in writing about the world of the New York docks originated with an unproduced screenplay that he developed with Elia Kazan in the early 1950s, entitled The Hook, dealing with corruption on the Brooklyn docks. Miller has been quoted as saying that he heard the basic account that developed into the plot of A View from the Bridge from a longshoreman, who related it to him as a true story. Although the 1955 one-act production was not successful, it was revised in 1956 to become a more traditional prose play in two acts, and it is through this version that audiences are most familiar with the work today.

Characters

Eddie Carbone: The hardworking, blue collar lead of the play. Eddie is a Italian-American longshoreman (dockyard worker) who provides food on the table for his family, a roof over their heads, and an education for his orphaned niece, Catherine, that he and his wife have raised. But underneath Eddie's average guy personality is a conflicted man, whose love for his niece may be deeper than just paternal, implying a possible incestuous desire. He calls the Immigration Bureau to inform on Rodolpho and Marco, which produces dire consequences. Killed by his own knife at Marco's hands when trying to attack him, he dies in Beatrice's arms at the end of the play.
Catherine Carbone: In many ways Catherine represents the female lead and is the key love-interest in the play to both Rodolpho and Eddie. Though she can be considered naive at the outset of the play, her character arc leads her to oppose her father-figure Eddie and defy Eddie's conception of the American Dream by seeking to marry her immigrant cousin. Catherine is a stenographer fresh out of high school and relatively new to the world. She develops an attraction to her aunt's cousin, Rodolpho. Her role is to catalyze the conflict of the play through her efforts to move away from her home and, in particular, Eddie. Her late mother, Nancy, was the sister of Beatrice.
Beatrice Carbone: Eddie's spouse and aunt of Catherine. Though critics often consider Beatrice as a two-dimensional and purely expositional character, she can be said to play a larger role. Beatrice remains a strong and constant in her love for her husband Eddie while also being a caring substitute mother to Catherine. She is subtly wise and tactful, softly guiding Catherine through the play and supporting her, despite being aware her husband is in love with her. Some critics have deemed her jealous of Catherine's affections from Eddie, and this could be evidenced in their tense dialogues later in the play. She can be considered modern for her times as she is not afraid to confront Eddie about their dysfunctional sexual relationship and she questions his manhood in her demands to "be his wife again".
Rodolpho: Beatrice's cousin from Italymarker. He appears to fall in love with Catherine. He tries unsuccessfully to prevent the fight between Eddie and Marco by making a truce. Rodolpho is seen by Eddie as having too many 'effeminate' talents, and seeking to marry Catherine only for the purpose of gaining US citizenship. Eddie's outrage that Catherine could love and want to marry somebody like Rodolpho drives on the play from the second Act.
Marco: Rodolpho's older brother and a man of few words. Like Rodolpho, he came to Americamarker illegally, but not to be a citizen. His plan was to make money to support his family back home in Italymarker, which was still suffering post-war Europe's crippled economy. He is very grateful to be given a chance to prosper in America. Following his betrayal by Eddie, he kills Eddie (arguably in self defense) in a fight over the breaking of an unspoken law about always being loyal to one's family.
Alfieri: The narrator of the play and a family friend of the Carbones. Alfieri is the wise attorney who dispenses legal advice to Eddie. Essentially, Alfieri is the proxy, the representative of the Red Hook neighborhood, completely familiar with its turf and its inhabitants. He tries to warn Eddie about turning on his family. His function in the play can be compared to that of the Chorus in Greek theatre.
Louis and Mike: Co-workers and friends of Eddie. They can't resist mocking Eddie for taking in his cousins, "He's a.. always making remarks ya' know!?" who seem to overshadow Eddie. During the final moments of the play, they try to prevent Eddie from attacking Marco with a knife.
Immigration Officer 1: A stern Manhattan immigration officer who takes Rodolpho and Marco away, after Eddie's anonymous phone call.
Immigration Officer 2: The second officer working with the first officer, who helps him round up the illegal immigrants.
Mr. Lipari: A neighbour and local butcher hiding an illegal immigrant family member away.
Mrs. Lipari: Mr. Lipari's wife and relative of the illegal immigrant they are assisting in safe passage from Italymarker.


Plot summary

The main character in the story is Eddie Carbone, an Italian American longshoreman, who lives with his wife Beatrice and orphaned niece Catherine. His feelings for Catherine, however, develop from protective and paternal into something more than filial as the play develops. These feelings are brought into perspective by the arrival from Italymarker of Beatrice's two cousins, Marco and Rodolpho. They have entered the country illegally, hoping to leave behind hunger and unemployment for a better life in America, and to help build a better life for those they've left behind. Rodolpho is young, good-looking, blond, and single -- he sings, dances and is charming; Catherine instantly falls for him.

Predictably Eddie sets about pointing out all of Rodolpho's flaws and persistently complains that Rodolpho is "not right". He uses Rodolpho's effeminate qualities, such as dress-making, cooking and singing, to back up his argument.

When Catherine decides to marry Rodolpho, Eddie becomes desperate and begs his lawyer to help him. However, he is told that the only way the law is able to help him is if he informs the Immigration Bureau of the presence of the two illegal immigrants. Due to his earlier assertion that "It's an honour" to give the men refuge, he refuses to betray them. However, after he catches Rodolpho in the act of making love to Catherine, he immediately calls the Immigration Bureau. His betrayal of the two men causes Eddie to lose the respect of his neighbours, his friends and his family.

In the final scene of the play the sense of crisis climaxes with a fight between Eddie and Marco. Marco calls out Eddie by his full name then Eddie brandishes a knife and attacks Marco, but the stronger Marco turns the blade onto Eddie, killing him. This could be seen symbolically as a projection of Eddie's self-destructive tendencies, as his sense of self-worth and his honourable character finally reach the bottom of their downward spiral.

In the final pages of the play, Miller uses stage directions more often to convey the sense of crisis and drama. Miller uses stage directions when it would be difficult to interpret what emotions should be shown. An example of this is when Eddie concedes to let Catherine work. The stage directions indicate that he relents with "a sense of her childhood, her babyhood and the years". Miller also uses his stage directions as a means of making clear to the production company his intended symbolism.

Productions



  • Dustin Hoffman acted as assistant director and stage manager for a successful 1965 production of the play Off-Broadway at the Sheridan Square Playhouse in New York City. The play's director, Ulu Grosbard, suggested to Arthur Miller that Hoffman would one day make a great Willie Loman. Miller was not impressed, and later wrote that "My estimate of Grosbard all but collapsed as, observing Dustin Hoffman’s awkwardness and his big nose that never seemed to get unstuffy, I wondered how the poor fellow imagined himself a candidate for any kind of acting career".


  • The play was first performed at the Comedy Theatremarker, London, on 11 October 1956.








  • Performed in November, 2005, at Faculty of Performing Arts, Baroda(Vadodara), Gujarat, India by the students of drama department as a part of Sature Theatre Production. It was performed in the Hindi Language and was acclaimed by well-known art critics. The play was directed by Amit Kanheray (M.P.A with Gold Medal) and the cast included (Vaibhav Soni) as Alfieri, (Vaibhav Biniwale) as Eddie, (Piyush Ranade) as Rodolpho, (Darshan Dave) as Marco, (Deepmala Parmar) as Catherine and (Payal Thakkar) as Beatrice.




  • 2009 at The Barn Theater, with Ross Valley Players, in Ross, California. Directed by Cris Cassell. With Eric Burke as Eddie, Denise Elia as Catherine, and Hallie Frazier as Beatrice.


  • A View from the Bridge will be revived on Broadway in the winter of 2009 starring Liev Schreiber and Scarlett Johansson. The limited engagement, directed by Gregory Mosher, will run for 14 weeks only. Previews being on Dec. 28th, 2009 with an official opening of Jan. 24, 2010 at the Cort Theatre.


Opera

In 1999, an opera of A View from the Bridge with music by William Bolcom and a libretto by Arthur Miller premiered at Lyric Opera of Chicago starring Kim Josephson as Eddie Carbone. The work was performed subsequently at the Metropolitan Opera in 2002, again at the Washington National Opera in 2007, and by Vertical Player Repertory Opera in 2009, starring William Browning as Eddie.

Film adaptations

Italian film director Luchino Visconti directed a stage version of the play in Italy in 1958. The plot of his film Rocco and his brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli), made in 1960, has many affinities with A View from the Bridge

A film based on A View from the Bridge titled "Vu du pont" was released in February 1961. Directed by Sidney Lumet, it starred Raf Vallone and Maureen Stapleton as Eddie and Beatrice, with Carol Lawrence as Catherine.

In 2006, a new film version of A View From the Bridge was announced. It may be directed by Barry Levinson, with Anthony LaPaglia as Eddie, Scarlett Johansson as Catherine, and Frances McDormand as Beatrice.

Awards and nominations

Awards
  • 1998 Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play
  • 1998 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play
Nominations
  • 1983 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play


References



Further reading



External links






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