Follow TV Tropes


Theatre / A View from the Bridge

Go To

"Every few years there is still a case, and as the parties tell me what the trouble is, the flat air in my office suddenly washes in with the green scent of the sea, the dust in this air in blown away and the thought comes that in some Caser'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."

A play written by Arthur Miller in 1955, and set in Red Hook, Brooklyn during the 1950s. Miller modelled it after a traditional Greek tragedy with the lawyer Alfieri acting as the Chorus equivalent and so the main character, Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman, succumbs to his fatal flaw and ultimately dies in a classic example of Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight.

Eddie's wife, Beatrice, has two Italian cousins who have illegally arrived in New York. Obligated by Italian family values, Eddie takes the two into his home where they live. The older of the two cousins (who are brothers) is Marco, a responsible married man who came to America only to earn enough money to support his wife and sick child. The younger is the flamboyant and blond Rodolfo, with whom Eddie's niece and surrogate daughter, Catherine, feels an instant attraction to.

Over time, with Rodolfo's presence, Eddie's feeling towards Catherine, once appearing paternal towards to start of the play, become greater until Eddie is so obsessed with keeping Rodolfo away from Catherine he begins to act wildly and self-destructively until, at Christmas, a drunk Eddie comes across the young pair and kisses Catherine passionately and Rodolfo in violent mockery.

Then, things get worse as Eddie betrays his family by calling the immigration police to get Rodolfo and Marco deported and, more importantly, get Rodolfo away from Catherine. With the arrest, Eddie becomes a traitor and an outcast in the community, and Marco spits in his face.

But things aren't really working as Rodolfo is going to marry Catherine and become an American. Against everyone's advice, Marco challenges Eddie after the latter stops the wedding before it starts. Eddie draws a knife in the fight that the unarmed Marco turns back into him, killing him.

A View from the Bridge has been revived several times since its original Broadway run. It's also been adapted for television and performed as an opera. Sidney Lumet directed a film version in 1962.


  • Asshole Victim: Eddie.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Between Catherine and Rodolfo. It seems they genuinely love each other, but that doesn't stop Eddie from accusing the latter of using Catherine to achieve his American dream.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Eddie thinks Rodolfo is gay and that his motive for marrying Catherine is solely to gain citizenship. Or at least that’s what he claims.
  • Fatal Flaw: Eddie's love for Catherine (and his inability to admit it).
  • Flat Character: Both Beatrice and Catherine, despite being the main female leads, are not very developed characters.
  • Foreshadowing: The story of Vinny Bolzano.
  • Greek Chorus: The lawyer Alfieri.
  • Kissing Cousins: Hints at this, as Catherine marries her aunt's cousin.
  • Implied Death Threat: At the end of Act 1, after Eddie punches Rodolpho, Marco demonstrates just how much stronger he is than Eddie by lifting a heavy chair above his head with one hand.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Due to his passion for Catherine, Eddie ends up calling the immigration police on Rodolfo and Marco - something he earlier declared to be the lowest act imaginable.
  • Meal Ticket: What Eddie believes Rudolpho's intentions are, which may or may not be accurate according to Alternate Character Interpretation.
  • Never Bring a Knife to a Fist Fight: Eddie brings out a knife in his fight with Marco and is killed.
  • Oppressive Immigration Enforcement: The immigration authorities are seen this way by the Italian American community of the 1950s. When Eddie wants to stop Catherine's marriage to Rodolfo, Alfieri warns him that if he reports Rodolfo to immigration, he will be completely ostracized from the community and won't have a friend in the world. Alfieri’s proven right for the most part, since only Eddie’s wife, Beatrice, constantly stands by his side after he calls the immigration police on Rodolfo and Marco.
  • Parental Incest: Eddie is in love with Catherine, whom he raises as a daughter (though they aren't actually blood relatives), but he can't even admit this to himself.
  • Take That!: Part of a series of Take Thats between Miller and Elia Kazan. They had a famous falling out over Kazan's decision to name names before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Miller wrote The Crucible, a play that compared the HUAC's activities to the Salem Witch Trials. Kazan made On the Waterfront which features a sympathetically portrayed informer. Miller wrote A View from the Bridge, which portrays the informer negatively.
    • Miller sent the play to Kazan who was enthusiasmed and wanted to buy it. Miller answered: "You don't understand. I didn't send it to you so you'd buy it; I sent it to you so you'd know what I think of informers."
  • "Take That!" Kiss: oddly mixed with Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Eddie says Rodolpho "ain't right", rather than explicitly calling him homosexual. Alfieri doesn't get it.
  • Wife Husbandry: Eddie raised Catherine as a daughter, but she is Beatrice's niece. Therefore, she’s not a blood relative. However, he cannot admit to himself or anyone else that he has romantic feelings towards her.
  • Yandere: Eddie towards Catherine, not helped by the fact that he is in denial of having romantic feelings towards her.

Alternative Title(s): A View From The Bridge