English; View from a bridge (Respect, Honour, Reputation (reputation…
English; View from a bridge
Immigration, home and belonging
immigrants often come to America because it is, famously,
supposed to be the land of opportunity.
The play takes place in an immigrant community
a vivid portrayal of the immigrant experience in
the United States,
immigrating to America isn't necessarily an entirely good thing.
have to live in hiding and are constantly in fear of being
sent back to Italy
missing their original home, as can be seen when Rodolpho
talks of the fountains in every town in Italy
and difficulty of the immigrant experience
Home and belonging
Miller uses the topic of immigration to make larger
points about the idea of home and a sense of belonging.
takes pride in the home he works hard to maintain
Throughout the play he struggles to
maintain control over his home as a place where he belongs,
gradually excluded from it as he drifts away from
Catherine and Beatrice.
By the end of the play, he hardly
belongs in his own home, or even in his own neighborhood,
While Eddie tries to maintain his home, Catherine tries to find
one of her own.
She is oppressed by Eddie,
moving out of
Eddie’s apartment signifies the possibility of her having an independent life and home of her own.
She must in a sense
“immigrate” from Eddie’s home to one of her own
Everyone is simply seeking a place where he
or she can comfortably belong.
bridge represents an in-between space;
it doesn’t fully belong
to either of the shores it connects.
The title of the play thus
captures the way that its characters are all on bridges of sorts,straddling two different worlds
love and desire
Love—of one kind or another—is the main motivator of Miller’s
characters in this play
A View from the Bridge especially
explores the way in which people are driven by desires
don’t fit the mold of normal or traditional forms of familial and romantic love.
Eddie is a mess of contradictory, half-repressed desires that are
difficult to pin down or define, perhaps even for him. ¬
that people are often not aware of their own desires,
reveals the power that these desires can exert over people.
the internal drama of Eddie’s psyche, as he is tormented and
brought down by desires
Respect, Honour, Reputation
One of Eddie’s main concerns in the play is his honor and the
respect (or lack thereof) he gets from those around him
personal honor and reputation are of great importance
explored most fully through the character of Eddie.
the play follows his
tragic demise as he loses the respect of others
He constantly worries about being disrespected or
Closely related to the concepts of honor or respect
is the idea of reputation,
can be understood as a more
social form of honor.
greatly concerned with his reputation amongst his
the problem with his obsession with respect and honor is that
he has a rather warped idea of the concepts.
Beatrice or Catherine disagrees with him, he interprets this as a sign of disrespect.
he thinks that Rodolpho
disrespects and dishonors him merely by spending time with Catherine
Eddie loses the respect of his family and
community precisely because he is so overly concerned
he interprets all sorts of things as affronts to his personal honor
and lashes out against those who he thinks are disrespecting him.
ironically, this very habit of overreaction causes
Catherine, Beatrice, Rodolpho, and Marco to lose actual respect for him
Justice and the law
The fact that the audience’s guide through the events of the
play is Alfieri, a lawyer, suggests that issues of law and justice hae central importance
many aspects of the play raise the question of whether the law
is an adequate or ultimate authority on what is right and wrong.
Throughout the play, the law fails to match up with various
characters’ ideas of justice.
the play can be read as displaying
the failures of the law to guarantee real justice.
himself as powerless several times, emphasizing his inability as a man of law to stop the tragic events of the play
those who try to take action on behalf of their own ideas of
justice regardless of the law end up causing themselves and others harm
The play can thus be seen as rather ambivalent about
the relationship between justice and the law:
the law does not cover all issues of right and wrong adequately.
all that is legal is right, and not all that is illegal is always wrong.
the play cautions against taking justice
into one’s own hands,
Maturity and independance
he story of Catherine’s attempted ascent into maturity
matures, and attempts to carve out her own independent life,
Eddie struggles to keep her under his control—and his
Catherine gradually matures, as she finds a job and begins
to assert herself
Eddie misjudges Catherine’s maturity
and continues to see her as a young girl;
denies her independence.
He underestimates Rodolpho,
repeatedly referring to him early in the play as “just a kid
overestimates his own maturity, as well.
Catherine ironically learns to think for herself by listening
to someone else’s advice.
in moving away from the
control of Eddie, she at least partially comes under the control od Rodolpho