Dramatic Tension in a View from the Bridge Analysis

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Trace the development of dramatic tension in this scene from the apparently innocuous conversation around the meal table to the closing tableau of the chair lifting episode which concludes the act This scene is the last in act one and is an important scene for building up drama and tension between the characters. Even the positioning of the scene helps the drama, by putting it at the end of act 1, where in the theatre there would be an interval, it leaves the audience with a cliff hanger, not knowing whats going to happen next, dreading the outcome for the characters.

It leaves them with an idea that the events following in act 2 will not be good. The scene starts like many others, the family enjoying a meal around the dinner table having a friendly conversation although it is not long before things start to go awry. Catherine is telling Beatrice about Rodolpho and Marcos travels as they clear the table, “They went to Africa once. On a fishing boat, (Eddie glances at her. ) Its true, Eddie. ” This shows that things are already not all as pleasant as they appear and that Eddie is skeptical of what Rodolpho has told her.

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Eddie thinks that rodolpho may be making these things up to impress her. Its little actions like these that trigger the tension between Eddie and the two immigrants. However previously Eddie had made digs at Rodolpho, he always seemed to have alot of respect for Marco but in this scene he starts making little digs at both of them. To Marco he makes jokes about his wife and kids back home, “(laughing) i mean you know – they count the kids and there’s a couple more extra than when they left? ” He is digging at Marco and how his wife could be unfaithful while he was in America.

He never gives Rodolpho a break, constantly finding something to critisize him on. Eddie is convinced that Eddie is gay, he never says it out right and only ever hints at it when hes with Alfieri, however in this scene he tries to hint at it. “He sings, he cooks, he could make dresses. ” This play is set at a time when a womans place was in the kitchen and doing work so Eddie is trying to illustrate that Rodolpho is womanly and therefore a homosexual. Homosexuality was a very taboo subject at the time and so Eddie could not come right out and say what he thought, he was restricted to dropping hints.

He also digs at Rodolpho that he is disrespectful and stealing Catherine. “But in your town you wouldnt just drag off some girl without permission… ” here Eddie is insinuating that Rodolpho is doing something wrong, by the way he says “drag off” it implies unwillingness on Catherines part. Marco does not say very much during the scene but we see that being the older brother he has a fatherly nature towards Rodolpho. At first he tries to appease Eddie by agreeing to what he says and telling Rodolpho to obey the house rules, “If he has done wrong you must tell him.

What does he do wrong? ” and “You come home early now. ” However Marco begins to see what Eddie is doing to Marco, putting him down infront of Catherine, trying to look like the big man, Marco becomes defensive of Eddie “I beg your pardon, Eddie” showing that he is shockeb by what Eddie is saying and does not approve. Even Beatrice, Eddies wife, picks up on what he is doing and turns against him. She approves of Rodolpho and Catherines relationship and tries to defend him, “well he didnt exactly drag her off. She does not directly tell Eddie that she is annoyed at him and thinks he is being unfair but we can see by the stage directions how she is feeling, “(Eddie looks at her aware of her critisizing force. )” We see a side of Catherine in this scene which has never been shown to us before. At the start of the play Catherine has a great deal of respect for Eddie and obeys his every order however in this scene she gets very aggravated about the way he is treating Rodolpho so she takes a stand of rebellion.

All she does it get up and put the “paper doll” record on and dance with Rodolpho, however she has never defied Eddie before and she knows how much that the record and dancing with Rodolpho will annoy him. We can see how Catherine feels by the stage directions “(Flushed with revolt. )” We can also see how Eddie feels by his actions “(He has been unconsciously twisting the newspaper into a tight roll. )” and “(He has bent the rolled paper and suddenly tears it in two. “) This sudden tearing of the newspaper symbolises the tension reaching its peak.

Eddies final dig at Rodolpho is when he challenges him to a fight. Boxing is a very manly sport and Eddie seems to think this to be a sort of test for Rodolpho. At first the fighting is gently and playful, not properly hitting one another but then Eddie asks Rodolpho to hit him, Rodolpho still respects Eddie and does not want to. “I dont want to hit you Eddie. ” This would probably not quash Eddies suspicions that Rodolpho was not a “real man. ” When Rodolpho does not hit him, Eddie takes a shot at Rodolpho which staggers him.

Catherine immediatley rushes to his side, this shows a change in loyalty from Catherine. Catherine asks Rodolpho to dance after the fight, before he was reluctant as he did not want to upset Eddie but this time he does not hesitate this shows that he has lost some respect for Eddie. It did not have the effect that Eddie wanted it to, he wanted to expose Rodolpho for the “wimp” he really is infront of Catherine and Beatrice but instead he just lost some respect from his neice, Rodolpho and Marco.

After the fight is the end of the scene, the chair lifting episode, this again shows Marcos protective nature over his brother. Marco challenges Eddie as to whether he can lift a chair from one leg from the bottom. Eddie cannot do this but when Marco tries he lifts it high above their heads. This is to put Eddie in his place and to warn Eddie away from Rodolpho, his facial expressions tell us this, “What might appear like a glare of warning in to a smile of triumph. We know that Eddie is aware of Marcos threat from his own facial expressions, “Eddies grin vanishes as he absorbs his look. ” This shows the tension between Eddie and Marco and the bond between Marco and Rodolpho. This scene is a critical scene in the play. It anticipates tragedy and drama in the next act and slowly builds up the drama. It gives the audience the idea that something terrible is going to happen and leaves them on a cliff hanger. It shows the relationships in the play and how some have strengthened while some characters have driven others away.

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Dramatic Tension in a View from the Bridge Analysis. (2016, Nov 04). Retrieved from


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