In the play A View from the Bridge, Arthur Miller portrays Marco and Rodolpho both similarly and differently as they adopt significant roles in furthering the plot development and bringing forward Miller’s ideas on masculinity, violence, Sicilian values and justice. While Marco and Rodolpho have both illegally come to America for work, their personalities, their strengths and their sense of justice differ. Marco acts as the antagonist whilst Rodolpho’s presence acts as a catalyst in the rise to conflict and tragedy. Although they are brothers, Marco and Rodolpho show contrasting characteristics.
Miller describes Marco as ‘suspicious, tender, and quiet voiced’, this shows he is wary of those around him, a man of view words who expresses his feelings by actions, this is shown when in gratitude to Eddie’s hospitality he comes to ‘near tears’. He exemplifies the typical Sicilian man, who takes silence as a virtue and life is centered round family. Marco has come to America for work, so that he can support his family, including one of his children who is dyeing of tuberculosis, this further emphasizes Marco’s selfless personality.
Rodolpho on the other hand has come to America to get rich and go back to Italy and buy a motorcycle. He is a lively and engaging however, his personality strays from the Sicilian values, that Marco and Eddie adopt. Having only arrived in the country, Rodolpho already asks Catherine ‘I sing Napolidan, jazz, bel canto- I sing ‘Paper Doll’, you like Paper Doll? ’ This reveals Rodolpho’s exuberant and good-natured character. Unlike Marco, he is very gregarious and enjoys receiving attention.
While the audience finds Rodolpho endearing, Eddie regards him as homosexual because of his lack of masculinity, but perhaps this is merely an excuse for his adamant dislike of Rodolpho because he is jealous of Catherine’s attraction to him, thus leading to his manifestations of hostility. Eddie becomes aware of Catherine’s interest in Rodolpho when she says ‘He’s terrific! It’s terrific’, Eddie realises this and there is then a sense of dramatic irony, when Eddie ignores Rodolpho and becomes to solely address Marco; the audience are aware of this but the characters are not.
Tensions continue to rise and Eddie stops Rodolpho singing by telling him people may get suspicious. Superficially it seems he is protecting Rodolpho but the audience get the feeling there is something else. Eddie feels though he has asserted himself and so ‘rises with iron control’- from this the audience feels a growing tension. Eddie grows more aggressive and proves that he is stronger than Rodolpho, but Marco demonstrates that he is even stronger than Eddie. As Eddie pretends to teach Rodolpho how to box, ‘he feints with his right hand and lands with his left.
It mildly staggers Rodolpho. ’ Eddie delivers this punch to suggest that he is able to beat Rodolpho if he so wished and endeavors to expose that Rodolpho is so weak that he cannot even fend for himself. Angered, Marco challenges Eddie to a trial of strength in the chair-lifting contest. Eddie fails to lift the chair, but Marco lifts it until he 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.