"A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller.

Essay by magick_muse May 2003

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A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller, is a study in manipulation. Throughout the text, the main characters of Eddie, Catherine, Beatrice, Rodolpho and Marco both struggle to dominate others and accept being dominated. The lines of power are drawn quite clearly to begin with; Eddie is evidently the dominant power-holder. However throughout the narrative there is a shift in power, and those who once held little sway over others become the deciding forces. This transfer in power becomes apparent to the reader through a variety of techniques, such as dialogue, stage directions (for example, the chair-lifting incident), and non-verbal interaction between the characters. A View from the Bridge is a text which appeals to the reader's understanding of the characters by forcing audiences to understand their hierarchy, and thus contributes to the evaluation of the transfer of power between individuals and the manipulation of others

The power structures apparent in the opening stages of A View from the Bridge are headed by Eddie being the most dominant.

Catherine and Beatrice are clearly subservient to him, with this obedience revealing itself on numerous occasions, such as when Catherine lights his cigar, and the constant setting of the table and other "women's duties" by both women, and later on Rodolpho. Eddie holds power over the women by deciding their submissive positions for them, such as his disapproval of Catherine's independence, shown when he states that Catherine is, "walkin' wavy". However his placement of Catherine as an alternate wife figure is what ultimately leads to his downfall; the others see this as unsuitable, and when there is an attempted shift in role, such as Rodolpho's engagement to Catherine, Eddie tries to assert his power of Catherine and manipulate her into remaining in her position as substitute wife, although this...