Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell

Arthur Miller, A View from the Bridge (1956)

Arthur Miller in his play A View from the Bridge (1956) set out to write a modern tragedy, that of an ordinary man, Eddie Carbone.  In doing so, he also produced a Freudian psychological drama about the dangers posed by uncontrolled unconscious desires that can consume and eventually destroy an individual.  Eddie’s love for his adopted daughter Catherine came to include lust as she matured to womanhood.  This manifested itself in an extreme overprotectiveness and then in increasingly extreme efforts to sabotage the young woman’s romance with a handsome young illegal immigrant, Rodolpho, which were counter-productive and ultimately destructive.

The setting of the play, during the 1950s in the working-class dockside suburb of Red Hook, Brooklyn, with its largely Sicilian population, allows Miller to display his characteristic sympathy for ordinary working people but also to show sympathy for the illegal immigrants who flee the poverty of their original countries for a better life in the United States.  Illegal immigrants, who contracted criminal people smugglers to enable their passage, are shown to be decent people with respectable motives who would make worthy citizens if given the chance. 

In this context, Miller argued that the law was not always in tune with morality. This play is critical of people who contravene the moral codes of their community by using an unjust law for unjust reasons, as when Eddie capitalises on immigration laws to have Catherine’s suiter arrested and, hopefully, deported.  In this indirect fashion, Miller sought to condemn members of the entertainment community who betrayed those in the entertainment industry who had communist sympathies to the House Un-American Activities Committee during the height of the Cold War in the early to mid-1950s. 

Student resources by Dr Mark Lopez

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The purpose of the concise notes of Dr Mark’s The Meaning in a Nutshell is to provide much needed help to students seeking to unlock the meaning of the texts with which they have to deal.  (More elaborate notes are provided in lessons as part of my private tutoring business.) 

Subject: A View from the Bridge meaning,  A View from the Bridge themes, A View from the Bridge analysis, A View from the Bridge notes