A View from the Bridge


Major themes


Fate & Inevitability:


The theme of fate and inevitability helps establish a clear link between this play and the Ancient Greek tragedies that Miller used as inspiration for ‘A View from the Bridge’. There is a more detailed discussion of these tragedies on the main web-page but one frequent element was that the hero of the play was often doomed to some kind of horrible fate that he or she found it impossible to escape from, no matter how hard they tried. In fact, the idea that some poor human being is fighting a battle against a powerful enemy that they cannot possibly defeat (i.e. Fate) is often what gives a tragedy its power. Eddie is (possibly) a tragic figure because we, with the help of Alfieri, see his destiny laid out before him and we know that, however nice he is and however hard he tries, he is doomed. When Eddie is first introduced by Alfieri, it is with the line ‘This one’s name was Eddie Carbone,’ the past tense indicating clearly that Eddie is no more. Although Eddie (perhaps) never becomes fully conscious of his fate and his feelings for Catherine, it his impossible struggle to reconcile his jealousy of Rodolpho with his disgust at those who betray their family.


Alfieri is used by Miller to fully underline this idea of inevitability and that Eddie is fated to die and the sense of powerless to stop things running ‘their bloody course’ reflects the audience’s inability to prevent what is going to happen from happening. This sense of helplessness in the face of impending despair heightens Eddie’s suffering and the overall sense of tragedy, especially because, by the end of the play, the audience can so clearly understand all the things that Eddie cannot: his love for Catherine, Eddie’s self-loathing and Beatrice’s desperation and jealousy.




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‘In some Caesar’s year, in Calabria perhaps or on the cliff at Syracuse, another lawyer, quite differently dressed, heard the same complaint and sat there as powerless as I and watched it run its bloody course.




‘This one’s name was Eddie Carbone.’




‘Eddie Carbone had never expected to have a destiny.’

He expected just to ‘go bowling, get old and die.’




Alfieri ‘There are times when you want to spread an alarm and nothing has happened.’




Alfieri says ‘I knew, I knew then ad there – I could have finished the whole story that afternoon.’ ‘I could see every step coming step after step, like a dark figure walking down the hall.’ ‘I knew where he was leading … [but] I was powerless to stop it.’




When explaining why he worked late in the office on the day of Eddie’s second visit, Alfieri says ‘I normally go home well before six … [however, when Eddie entered] … I knew why I had waited.’




‘A river will drown you if you buck it.’