A View From A Bridge by Arthur Miller Term Paper

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Character Essay

After reading Arthur Miller's play "A view from the bridge,"

I am convinced that the most striking character is Marco. He is

an Italian immigrant that moved illegally to the United States

with his brother Rodolpho to work as longshoremen, since at the

time (the play was written in 1955) his country of origin, Italy,

was going through a major economic depression because of the

outcome of World War II. In the play, we are told that Marco's

plan is to make enough money to survive and be able to send some

of that money to his wife and his three kids back in Italy, who

are starving. Marco physically resembles the Sicilian stereotype,

with dark skin and dark hair. He is also very strong and he could

easily "load the whole ship by himself."(pg.541) In this play,

the author uses plot, dialog, actions and symbolism to emphasize

Marco's honor which, in my opinion, is his prominent


Throughout the play, we can clearly see that the plot helps

us develop Marco's character in our imagination. For example, he

is an illegal alien, and this might give the reader a less

honorable view of him, and it might justify Eddie's action. But

the fact that Marco left his family to give them support and to

save his oldest son who is "sick in the chest," (pg. 535) makes

the reader forget about his illegal stay and makes his status

rise to the one of a hero.

In this play, Marco's actions lead us to the discovery of a

violent side which he uses to defend his honor in a number of

occasions. For example, when he challenges Eddie to lift the

chair at the end of the first act, we understand that he did it

to save his brother's face and his family's honor. In addition,

the killing of Eddie by Marco's own hands at the end of the play,

is the final display of his character. Marco's character is

definitely expressed more by his actions than by his words. He

is very strong, and he is obviously aware of that, but doesn't

like to show it in words, or brag about it. In fact, when Eddie

was making fun of his brother Rodolpho, instead of replying to

him in words, he chose to use his strenght to get his point

across by lifting the chair. In addition, Marco doesn't talk

about his family much; instead, he works as hard as he can, and

that is enough to show everybody how much he cares about them. As

a final insult to Eddie, Marco chooses to spit in his face in

front of everybody. This is because in the Italian culture, that

act is considered as an extreme expression of anger toward a

person, and it is rarely left without punishment. In addition,

the action of going to the church before facing Eddie shows us

that he is very religious and cares about his soul.

Marco is a very honorable man and believes in his tradition,

and the author shows us that through a number of symbols. For

example, spitting on Eddie's face once he realizes that Eddie

turned him and his brother to the police is a symbol of disgust

and revolt for Eddie's actions. In addition, at the end of the

play, we are told that Marco went to church before going to talk

to Eddie. This action tells us that Marco is ready to give up

his life and commit a mortal sin to defend his honor, because

what Eddie has done, the breaking of the "omerta'", the breaking

of trust, is something that in his culture must never be left


Throughout the first act of the play, Marco is only referred

as a flat character and the only time we are really aware his

persona and his strength is at the end of the first act, when he

lifts a chair over his head and makes it seem like a challenge to

Eddie, as a response for mocking Rodolpho. But only in the second

act his character is fully exposed and we see his image transform

into a round character. In this play, Marco is portrayed as the

victim, since he hasn't done anything to Eddie but he still gets

arrested. In addition, although his brother Rodolpho gets away

with it by marrying Catherine, he has no other choice but to go

back to his hungry wife and sick children in Italy. This

thoughts, and knowing that Eddie has no regrets for what he has

done makes him furious, and at the end of the play he seeks


I belive this play would not be complete without this

character. If Marco would have not existed, it would have left

Eddie unpunished and alive, and this would be in conflict with

the very conception of drama which drives this works.

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