Arthur Miller’s fascinating tale “A view from the Bridge” was actually based on a true story. He was researching on Pete Panto, a longshoreman, who was executed for attempting to revolt against his union. He came across another tale, about a man who had told the immigration bureau about his relatives. This longshoreman was trying to prevent his niece from marrying one of the brothers. The man soon disappeared and was rumoured to be killed by one of his brothers. America in the 1950’s was considered a working heaven.
“Good pay, no more back breaking hours of work, no more crime, clean houses, running water, round-the-clock electricity and even good schools. ” This is what most immigrants thought when ever they thought of America. It was this thought that had led many people from all over Europe, Asia and Africa to immigrate there. New York is where most of these people ended up. They worked for a few years to pay off their debt from the syndicate. “A view from the bridge” is based around the Italian community, in Red Hook, New York.
These immigrants soon found out the real truth of New York: The slums of New York were filthy and dangerous, and the only work available was back-breaking and badly paid. Many people didn’t like these ways and turned to the “next best thing”; gangsters. The most famous people who were immigrants in New York and became gangsters were Al Capone and “Lucky” Luciano. “A view from the Bridge” is based on the family of a longshoreman, Eddie Carbone. He is living with his wife, Beatrice and his niece Catherine. Eddie is forty years of age and is well aware of the dangers and problems in New York.
He says “I don’t like the neighbourhood over there. ” Beatrice is Eddie’s wife and she doesn’t work. Eddie doesn’t approve of women working (keeping to the Italian tradition). Maybe this is because he cares for the welfare of women, or because his manhood is at stake. Catherine is Beatrice’s niece who has been orphaned since she was young. She has bee with Eddie and Beatrice since she was orphaned and both uncle and niece treat her like their own child. Eddie and Catherine have a very strong father-daughter like relationship, and both treated each other with tremendous respect.
This father-daughter love was an immensely deep one. Eddie, in Act 1 was always the over-powering one and Catherine being immature and not being able to understand always let him, considering Eddie to be a father and taking care of her. During the play, it is Catherine’s emerging confidence that results in the breakdown in Eddie’s and Catherine’s relationship. Eddie is simply not prepared for this. Eddie is the man of the house, and the protagonist in the play. He is well loved by both his wife and a lot by his niece Catherine. Catherine shows how much she loves him as a father by greeting him in a father-daughter way.
“Hi Eddie! ” Eddie, a man who does not reveal his emotions, does not respond to this gesture but asks his niece a question. Although his emotions are not revealed through his speech, they are clearly revealed through Miller’s stage directions. Miller states that when Catherine greets him, “Eddie is pleased and therefore shy about it. ” Miller uses stage directions all throughout the play to reveal the nature of Eddie, because he is intent on not revealing emotions through speech. Miller, however, shows Catherine as a young attractive girl and very eager to please Eddie.
Her emotions are shown both through dialogue and by stage directions. Catherine is shown as a lively girl, relishing every opportunity spending time with Beatrice and Eddie. She is very immature mentally, still acting childish in front of Eddie. This is shown in Miller’s stage directions. “Running her hands over her skirt” and “taking his arm” these simple stage directions show the nature of Catherine and her freeness that Catherine thinks of Eddie. Eddie, being the man of the house is very overpowering and finds Catherine’s lack of confidence an advantage to control her. He uses her emotions to take control of her.
We see that he is overprotective with her, and Catherine by nature thinks that he is being protective for her welfare. “I think it’s too short, isn’t it? ” Arthur Miller introduces these little things like these that reveal us the true nature of Eddie. As the play progresses we see that Eddie starts to fear Catherine’s emerging confidence. She is no longer the sweet gullible child as she used to be. Catherine has been offered a job in an office and Eddie fears that this could be an opening for Catherine to become an independent woman. At the idea of Catherine working is absolutely startling.