The dramatic importance of the boxing scene between Eddie and Roldolpho The story, A View from the Bridge is set in America and it talks about a longshoreman, Eddie. He has kindly let two of his relatives who are illegal immigrants from Italy stay in his house. The boxing scene in Act 1, episode 5 of the play is of dramatic importance as it reveals the tension between Eddie and Rodolpho, one of the illegal immigrants. The scene highlights the different views and relationship of the two women towards Eddie as he is starting to resemble a tragic hero and is on his path of self-destruction and downfall.
It also emphasizes the growing importance of Marco’s role which eventually leads to the climax at the beginning of Act 1. Arthur Miller uses the boxing scene to highlight the conflict and tension between Eddie and Rodolpho as the play unfolds. This is conveyed through the actions, dialogue and stage directions displayed during the scene.
As Eddie is teaching Rudolpho how to box, the stage directions states that he “feints with his left hand and lands with his right”, Eddie uses the idea of boxing as an excuse to wound Rodolpho and to assert his position as the alpha male in the house. It mildly staggers him… ” Eddie is starting to feel ignored and disrespected by the other members in the family so by doing this, he is able to prove how manly he is. Another action, “To Eddie, with a certain gleam and smile”, shows that Rodolpho knows exactly what is going on and with Eddie what he is subtly doing. However, Rodolpho can’t do anything to harm Eddie because he is living under Eddie’s roof and if he upsets him, all he needs to do is to make a call to the immigration bureau to deport them. This builds up the tension as Eddie is getting advantage of Rodolpho because he is under Eddie’s control.
Rodolpho also senses that Eddie dislikes him. The boxing scene is also important because of Marco’s reaction to the events, and his growing role towards the end of Act 1. This also dramatically shifts the relationships in the play. Miller emphasises the growing role of Marco and foreshadows the tragic events that lie ahead. When Eddie lands a blow on Rodolpho, “Marco rises” to show that he is getting a bit uncomfortable with it. This also means that Marco will always be there to protect and defend his little brother if anything bad happened to him.
When Marco realizes, what Eddie has done to Rodolpho, he decides to challenge Eddie without using physical violence. “Can you lift this chair? ” When Eddie failed the challenge, he is embarrassed as everyone in the house is looking at him and his masculinity has been stripped from him. Marco raises the chair easily above his head, subtly telling Eddie not to mess with them or else there will be consequences. “Eddie’s grin vanishes as he absorbs his look“ He understands the warning straight away and that he has lost to Marco this time.
This shifts the relationship between Marco and Eddie because he thought of Eddie as a friend before all this has happened and now Marco and Rodoplho are against Eddie. Marco’s reaction at the end of Act 1 foreshadows the end of the play where Marco stands up for his brother when Eddie does something bad to them. The fact that Marco has ‘won’ Eddie physically in the scene, suggests that this will happen again later on in the play. The responses of the two women to the events highlight their different views with Eddie at this point in the play.
During the fight between Eddie and Rodolpho, Beatrice plays the role of a peacemaker and tries to make them friendlier towards each other. “He’s teachin’ him; he’s very good”. However, Beatrice is oblivious about Eddie’s actions and thoughts. “That’s enough, Eddie; he did pretty good, though. ” Beatrice is still on Eddie’s side at this point of the play and doesn’t know how much he dislikes Rodolpho. This shows us that she has no idea about how Eddie’s attitude towards Rodolpho has changed and the narrowing perspective of his mind. However, Catherine noticed immediately that Eddie was trying to hurt Rodolpho when they were boxing, “… ith beginning alarm. ” After Rodolpho gets punched by Eddie, Catherine rushed to Rodolpho instead of Eddie, “Rushing to Rodolpho: Eddie! ” She attends to him first and this angers Eddie even more as he is jealous of Catherine’s relationship with Rodolpho. Catherine might have also done that on purpose so she could annoy Eddie because of what he has done to Rodolpho. From here we can see that Catherine’s view towards Eddie is deteriorating as she acts more rebellious around him while Beatrice still thinks there is hope for Eddie and is still on his side.
The end of Act 1 closely resembles a Greek Tragedy. In the boxing scene, Eddie begins to make bold moves and does things that are out of the ordinary. “Feints with his left hand and lands with his right”. He starts making mistakes without realizing it as he decides to physically hurt Rodolpho by punching him. This is just the beginning of his path towards self- destruction as he makes his fatal flaw later on in the play. The other characters in the play are all slowly turning against him.
Catherine decides to be rebellious in front of Eddie, “You wanna dance, Rodolpho? ” Marco challenges Eddie by asking him, “Can you lift this chair? ” Beatrice criticizes Eddie for being too overprotective and his unnatural affection towards Catherine, “Well then, be an uncle then. ” Rodolpho tries to reason with Eddie, “I have respect for her, Eddie. ” “All right, sure. But I can’t stay in the house all the time, Eddie. ” This shows that Eddie is all alone and by himself. His mind is continuously narrowing as he disagrees with what most people tells him.
The audience is now aware of this and will be anticipating the tragic events that will unfold from this point onwards, creating tension and dramatic importance of the scene. This scene is of significant importance as it highlights the central conflict in the play before reaching its major climatic moment at the end of the act. It also foreshadows the unfortunate events to come as Eddie begins his way towards his self destruction and downfall. It is suggested that despair, loneliness and Eddie’s narrow- minded view will eventually lead to Eddie’s demise.
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