Eddie Carbone would rather die than admit to himself the truth of his feelings In what respects is ‘A View from the Bridge’ a modern tragedy? “A View from the Bridge is a tragedy in classic form and I think it is a modern classic”. So wrote the New York Daily News in 1955. A tragedy according to the Oxford Concise Dictionary is “A play in which the protagonist is overcome by a combination of social and psychological circumstances”. The review and the dictionary definition do therefore, encapsulate the very essence of this play – indeed a modern tragedy.
“A View from the Bridge” is a demonstration of tragedy as Eddie Carbone, the protagonist does indeed die as a result of his feelings and the affect it has on society around him. The idea of immigrants at this time is also a good way to display tragedy. The immigrants had no money and had to fight to stay in America where they were underpaid. Eddie Carbone has a job, but it is a job that only just supports him and his family and has to work hard to maintain his job. This idea of cruelness to humanity in terms of the immigrants receiving harsh treatment is in itself tragic.
During 1950’s America is would have been every Italian working mans dream to come to America and earn more money that they could send back to their family. The play also relates to Greek Tragedy in other ways like, the setting of the play and how it concentrates on the predominantly Sicilian-American occupied section of Brooklyn known as Red Hook. The community is bound by codes of justice and vengeance as those prevailing in Sophocles’ Thebes. Like many classic tragic figures (including Shakespeare’s Hamlet), Eddie’s effort to get rid of the one man he perceives as his enemy cannot control fate’s ripple effect on Marco.
“A View from the Bridge” presents reality rather than aiming to represent an interpretation of reality allowing the reader or onlooker the freedom to draw their own conclusions. Miller leaves us in no doubt that it is a modern tragedy as he himself wrote that the story was of “the awesomeness of a passion which despite its contradicting of itself – interest of the individual it inhabits, despite every kind of warning, despite even its destruction of the moral beliefs of the individual proceeds to magnify its power over him until it destroys him”.
It is also classic modern tragedy in terms of irony because of Eddies burning desire to get Catherine back he kills himself to fix the damage that he has caused not just himself but other people too. For example Marco will probably be sent back to Italy where his family will have little or no money, and Beatrice is left without Eddie being there. The ironic part of the play is the fact that Eddie Carbone dies and Catherine and Rodolopho still get together, so his death does not cause Catherine and Rodolpho to split but merely causes Beatrice and Catherine immense grief.
The fact that his name is taken away from him is in my view just an excuse for him to die, through picking a fight with Marco, who Eddie knows is likely to kill him because of his anger and his physical strength. I think that what Miller is saying is true and that Eddie is given these warnings, and the audience just want to cry out to him to try to help him, but Eddie is helpless. Eddie’s downward spiral just seems to continue on and on until he after he has reported Rodolpho and Marco to the immigration service, when Eddie has a self-recognition period. He realises what he has done and knows the only way out is death.