"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller

Like several of Arthur Miller’s plays, his 1955 work A View from the Bridge is often heralded as an American classic. This praise is not without substance; Bridge is a powerful piece about an Italian-American family - husband and wife Beatrice and Eddie and their orphaned teenage niece Catherine - living in Brooklyn, who decide to shelter a pair of illegal Italian immigrants. When Catherine begins to fall for one of the Italian men - blonde, singing-enthusiast Rodolpho - the family dynamics are shattered. Believing Rodolpho’s intentions towards Catherine to be for his own advantage rather than through mutual love and respect, Eddie’s questionable and heretofore repressed feelings for his niece bubble to the surface. 

A View from the Bridge is a relevant and compelling piece with applicable and timeless themes as well as well-written characters that are easily relatable. The playwright knows how to uproot our fears and manifest them through his vibrant character portrayal: Eddie’s severe over-protectiveness and suffocating demeanour towards Catherine is an exaggerated representation of real life parent-child situations, particularly the freedom and boundary issues that arise during the tricky teenage years. The play boasts some bold themes such as incest, family loyalty, homophobia and parent-child relationships and it is engaging to read how these issues escalate as the play progresses; even at the beginning slight strain is seen within the characters’ relationships and the hidden feelings Eddie has for Catherine are hinted at in their semi-flirtatious exchanges with one another. Marco and Rodolpho’s arrival acts as the catalyst, demonstrating how fragile relationships really are. It is particularly interesting to read about Eddie’s dislike of Rodolpho - since he likes to sing and knows how to cook and sew Eddie jumps to the conclusion that he is a homosexual and thus is only after Catherine so that he can marry her and stay in America legally. 

A View from the Bridge has elements of Greek tragedy; it is narrated in some parts by Alfieri - Eddie’s lawyer - who acts like a Greek chorus and is recounting the situation according to Eddie’s recollection of events, before cutting back to the main action. A further aspect of Greek tragedy is Eddie’s role as tragic hero, both of which help to provide the play with subtle nuances. 

Bridge is very short - less than 100 pages - and is a fascinating character study with a high level of realism and an incredibly powerful yet fitting resolution. Most people will be able to connect with at least one of the characters; it is a highly original and thought provoking play that I would urge anyone to read.

Rating: 9/10


  1. Great review and the play sounds interesting. I think I'll give it a read when I get the chance :)

    1. Yes it's very interesting, and so short you can't really complain! Arthur Miller is something of a genius, I hope to read and re-read some of his other plays later in the year.

  2. Hey I just nominated you for the Leibster Award. Check it out at http://goldenpot.weebly.com/snazzy-stuff.html