A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE Introduction Does anyone know what bridge this is? Unit Objectives At the end of this unit, you will be able to: Respond to text critically, sensitively and in detail, selecting appropriate ways to convey your response, using textual evidence where appropriate. Explore how language, structure and forms contribute to the meaning of texts. Explore relationships and comparisons between texts, selecting and evaluating relevant material. Relate texts to your social, cultural and historical contexts and literary traditions. Greek Tragedy Does anyone know what a Greek tragedy entails? Tragic Hero Prologue Greek tragedies often contain a prologue, where an individual character gives background information to the audience, which allows them to understand the context of the upcoming drama. In ancient tragedies, the main character (the protagonist) usually has a tragic flaw (hamartia), which often brings about their own downfall. Their downfall often brings the audience to feel pity or fear. Often, the actions of a tragic hero affects their whole community. Keep these ideas in mind whilst reading the play Information about the play Written by Arthur Miller in 1955. He got the idea for the plot from a lawyer friend, who told him about a longshoreman who had ratted to the Immigration Bureau on two brothers, his own relatives, who were living illegally in his home, in order to break an engagement between one of them and his niece. Coupled with his interest in the docks in New York’s Brooklyn harbour, and the Italian immigrant communities that primarily worked and lived there, he created what became the play A View from the Bridge. From what I’ve told you so far, can you answer the following questions? Where does the play take place? When (time period) does the play take place? What is the general plot of the play? What sort of characters will be involved? Who will be the tragic hero? What will be his downfall? Cast of Characters Alfieri - lawyer Eddie – Italian immigrant Beatrice - Eddie’s wife Catherine – their orphaned niece Rodolfo and Marco – Bea’s cousins Themes A theme is an idea that runs through a text. A text may have one theme or many. Understanding the themes makes the text more than 'just' a story - it becomes something more significant, because we're encouraged to think deeper about the story and work out what lies beyond the plot. Love There are different kinds of love – from what characters do we learn about the different sorts of love? Justice and the Law From the very beginning, it is established that justice and the law are going to be important in the play. The play encourages us to ask what is justice? What makes justice? Honour Connecting the themes of Justice and the Law and Love is the theme of Honour. Honour is shown to be very important, especially to the male characters. It means far more to them than the law. To be honourable is to be respected. Act One The stage directions: What clues do the stage directions give us about the setting of the play. What clues do the stage directions give us about the characters who will inhabit the stage? Act 1: The prologue Continue on, reading Alfieri’s prologue, stopping just before Eddie starts to speak. What does Alfieri’s prologue tell us about justice and the law? What sort of history surrounds the characters in the play, and why do you think Miller has included this information? How does Alfieri describe the setting? What does he foreshadow happening? Act 1: Eddie and Catherine’s initial conversation What sort of relationship do Eddie and Catherine have? Use specific examples from the text to back up your point. Act 1: Discussing the arrival of the cousins What clues are there that the cousins coming to America isn’t entirely legit? How is the theme of honour evident in this section of the scene? What impressions do you get of Eddie Beatrice Their relationship Act 1: Catherine’s News How does Eddie react to the news of Catherine’s job? Why? What sort of relationship to Beatrice and Catherine have? Task Create a table like the one below in your notes, to record what we know so far about Eddie, Catherine and Beatrice. Use quotations from the play to support your comments. This will aid you later when you revise. CHARACTER WHAT WE LEARN QUOTES Eddie - Protective of, and concerned for, his niece Catherine. ‘You look like one of them girls that went to college’ Catherine Beatrice Giving Advice to the Actors On your Literature exam, you could be asked a question that invites you to give instruction/advice to a person playing a character in the play. If you were directing a performance of the play, how would you advise the actors playing these three main roles? Give reasons for your comments on: •Tone of voice for each character •Their physical movements •The use of costume and makeup Act 1: Eddie Caves In What are your thoughts and feelings regarding Eddie’s reaction to Catherine’s work proposal? What sort of hopes does Eddie have for his niece? Beatrice mentions that Eddie always seems to have an excuse for keeping Catherine close. What are your thoughts and feelings about this? Why does Eddie give in? What advice does Eddie give Catherine? What does this tell us about his character? Act 1: Vinny Bolzano How does the mood in the house change, once Eddie has accepted Catherine’s news? Why? Why are Eddie and Beatrice so nervous? What happened to Vinny? What do we learn about the Red Hook community, through the story about Vinny? What is Eddie’s opinion on what Vinny did? Consider the Following.... Act 1: The Arrival How do the two men think of Eddie’s home? What are their hopes for coming to America? How do the two men treat Eddie? What does Catherine think of the two men? How do Marco and Rodolfo describe life in Italy? Act 1: Marco and Rodolfo What is Rodolfo’s dream? Is it realistic? What is Marco’s dream? Is it realistic? Why does Eddie stop Rodolfo from singing? What sort of relationship do Marco and Rodolfo have? Act 1 : Marco and Rodolfo Create a chart, similar to the one we created earlier, for Marco and Rodolpho CHARACTER Marco Rodolfo WHAT WE LEARN QUOTES Act 1: Growing Suspicion How does Eddie react to Catherine’s shoes? Why does Eddie start to view Rodolfo with suspicion? Act 1: Foreshadowing Who can ever know what will be discovered? Eddie Carbone had never expected to have a destiny. A man works, raises his family, goes bowling, eats, gets old, and then he dies. Now, as the weeks passed, there was a future, there was a trouble that would not go away. What does Alfieri’s speech tell us about: •How much time has passed. •What has happened, or what will happen? Act 1: Eddie’s Growing Concerns What do we learn has happened in the weeks that have passed? What is Eddie’s view of Rodolfo? Use examples from the text to support your answer. What is Beatrice’s view of Rodolfo? Use examples from the text to support your answer. ‘Of him? Boy, you sure don’t think much of me’. What does this quote tell us about Eddie? How does Eddie rate Rodolfo’s masculinity, versus that of Marco? Why do you think he does this? Act 1: Marital Troubles Why is Beatrice upset? How does Eddie react? Why do you think Eddie has had trouble’s in his marriage? How does Beatrice feel about Eddie’s concern for Catherine? Is she justified? Act 1: An Outsiders Opinion What do Mike and Louis think of Marco and Rodolfo? Use specific examples from the text to support your answer. How does Eddie react to their praise for Rodolfo? What does this tell us about his feelings for Rodolfo, and about Eddie as a character? Act 1: Eddie and Catherine Talk How does Eddie treat Rodolfo? How does Rodolfo treat Eddie? What does Catherine think of the relationship between Eddie and Rodolfo? What does this mean for her future? What clues are there that Eddie is uncomfortable with Catherine growing up? How does Eddie react when he finds up Catherine likes Rodolfo? What are your thoughts and feelings regarding Eddie’s theory about Rodolfo? Act 1: Beatrice and Catherine Talk How does Beatrice treat and regard Catherine? What does Beatrice think of the relationship between Catherine and Eddie? What does Beatrice encourage Catherine to do? Do you feel that Beatrice has any ulterior motives behind her advice? How has the connection between Eddie and Catherine changed? Alfieri’s speech to the audience It was at this time that he first came to me.... I remember him now as he walked through my doorway – His eyes were like tunnels; my first thought was that he had committed a crime. What sort of image does this paint in your mind of Eddie? What does it suggest? Has Eddie, at this point, committed a crime? Act 1: Eddie consults Alfieri Alfieri tells Eddie ‘there’s nothing illegal about a girl falling in love with an immigrant.’ Is this really what is bothering Eddie? How does Eddie ‘judge’ Rodolfo’s intentions? Does Alfieri buy into his theory? Do you? Examine the way Eddie speaks in this scene. How would you direct an actor to do these lines? What does Eddie imply about Rodolfo’s masculinity? He is justified in his claims? Can Eddie use the law to help him at this stage? ...every man’s got somebody he loves, heh? But sometimes...there’s too much. You know? There’s too much, and it goes where it mustn’t. A niece, sometimes even a daughter, and he never realizes it, but through the years – there is too much love for the daughter, there is too much love for the niece. Do you understand what I’m saying to you? What is Alfieri trying to say to Eddie at this point? Is there any element of a warning in his advice? ‘WHAT OTHER WAY CAN IT END?’ Why does Eddie get angry when Alfieri says that Catherine cannot marry him? There are times when you want to spread an alarm, but nothing has happened. I knew, I knew then and there – I could have finished the whole story that afternoon. It wasn’t as though there was a mystery to unravel. I could see every step coming, step after step, like a dark figure walking down the hall toward a certain door. I knew where he was heading for, I knew where he was going to end. And I sat here many afternoons asking myself why, being an intelligent man, I was so powerless to stop it... Examine the language used by Alfieri. What clues does he give us that something bad is going to happen? Why does he feel powerless? Could whatever happens have been prevented? How? Alfieri’s role in the play What functions does Alfieri have in the play? When he appears on stage, what purpose does he serve? Act 1: A Big Happy Family? How does Eddie cause discord in the family? How are Eddie and Rodolfo different from each other? How do Marco and Rodolfo describe life in Italy? How does it differ from that in America? What sort of relationship do Marco an Rodolfo have? Act 1: The Fight Why does Catherine ask Rodolfo to dance? How do the other characters react to the couple dancing? What more does Eddie learn about Rodolfo that makes him uneasy? Do you feel he is sincere when he says he’d ‘be like in a dress store’? Why does Eddie offer to teach Rodolfo to box? What is Marco trying to prove by lifting the chair? How does both Eddie and the others react? Task You are to choose one of the following: Write a letter, as Marco, to his wife and children back home in Italy. Write a letter, as Rodolfo, to his friends back home in Italy. Use the worksheet provided as a prompt. Use the worksheet provided as a prompt.