Understanding A View From The Bridge

This Web page has been designed to assist students to:

  • Compare and contrast the life described in Italy and the promise of the American Dream.
  • Understand the context of mass immigration of Italians to New York in the 1950s.
  • Examine the impact of McCarthyism in shaping Miller’s presentation of betrayal.
  • Gather historical perspective of the post-war period in America.

For ease of study, topics have been divided into 5 categories

  1. Arthur Miller
  2. A View from the Bridge:
    1. Overview
    2. Themes in focus
  3. McCarthyism and Kazan’s betrayal
  4. Italian Immigration/American Dream

Note: Some of these categories will naturally overlap.

Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller University of Pennsylvania introduces Arthur Miller with a brief excerpt from the preface of Leonard Moss' Arthur Miller. Outlines the discussion of Miller as a ‘social dramatist’ and the question of whether he is a Marxist or a humanist.

Arthur Miller California State University. Detailed biography of the personal, historical and psychological influences on Miller and some background information on what inspired his writing of tragedy in the common man.

Arthur Miller (1915-2005). Washington State University website hosts a variety of informative links and biographical information. The inclusion of Miller’s essay “Tragedy and the Common Man” is particularly relevant with reference to the tragic hero Eddie in A View from the Bridge.

The Cambridge Companion to Arthur Miller Brief background of Arthur Miller as a playwright and the political influences on his work. Opportunity to purchase The Cambridge Companion to Arthur Miller from Cambridge University Press.

Arthur Miller Online public library and valuable digital archive run by The Arthur Miller Society. Page still under construction but provides a comprehensive insight into Miller’s complete works, particularly The Crucible and Death of a Salesman.

Arthur Miller The New York Times featured page on Arthur Miller which details his complete works through extensive articles, news and reviews in the popular press and archives of The New York Times.

Arthur Miller: His Life and Work undergraduate literature resource from the University of Hull. Discusses Miller as a ‘social’ playwright’, such themes as the impact of society on man, and his works in context with a particular focus on A View from the Bridge.

Arthur Miller’s death

American playwright Miller dies from BBC News. Playwright Arthur Miller, the creator of The Crucible and Death of a Salesman, has died at the age of 89, on 10 Feb. 2005, includes video.
Colleagues and critics assess the legacy of Arthur Miller BBC discusses praises of Miller as one the last of the three great theatrical voices of the American century

An American Classic: Arthur Miller, Enduring Playwright - Online NewsHour: Arthur Miller Discusses His Life and Work with Paul Solman, Feb. 10, 1999. Listen to segment in RealAudio, 11 min. 36 sec. with transcript.

A View from the Bridge: overview

http://www.ibiblio.org/miller/gambon.gif Adrian Rawlins as Rodolpho and Michael Gambon as Eddie in the National Theatre
production of A View from the Bridge (1987)

A View from the Bridge A fair starting point. Well structured summaries of plot, setting and context. Outlines cast, themes and influences. Refers to theatrics and film adaptations. Includes extensive contextual links to other Arthur Miller works.
A View from the Bridge BBC “bitesize” page. Excellent background for GCSE students studying the play as a set text. Contains a valuable revision guide and structured tests.

A View from the Bridge An interactive learning organisation’s school revision website for exam preparation. Excellent clarity and structure serve as good organisational tools.

Theme in focus: Masculinity and Homosexuality

http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/bsimages/fig6.jpg Masculinity and Homosexuality A professor from the University of Aberystwyth discusses the cultural portrayal of the same sex kiss. Making specific reference to A View from the Bridge, he discusses how Eddie’s dramatic kissing of Rodolpho extends beyond the act itself and our questions concerning the individual characters’ respective sexual orientations and intentions. He argues the kiss represents the discourse in the state of American masculinity in the 1950s and the popular aversion towards male to male affection.

Theme in focus: Systems of justice and betrayal in a “shame culture”

A View from the Bridge forum for discussion of play by those attending lectures at Swinburne University. Discussion focuses on the irreconcilable differences between the two types of justice system portrayed in the play.

A View from the Bridge Jo-Ann Stubbings in Australia’s quality broadsheet, The Age, explores the social taboo of incestuous love and dysfunctional family dynamics portrayed by Miller.

A View from the Bridge The New York Times review by Brooks Atkinson, with particular focus on characterisation and dramatic development in the play.

A View from the Bridge A good summary and synopsis. Contents include: Context, Plot Overview, Character List, Character Analysis, Themes, Motifs, and Symbols, Summaries for Acts I & II, Important Quotations Explained, Key Facts, Study Questions & Suggested Essay Topics, Quiz and Suggestions for Further Reading.

Theme in focus: Tragedy and the Common Man

Miller chronicles the fall of a common man. Set against the Epic status of the Classical hero, Eddie seems to possess nothing. Although, in his mind he is the hero of his own family, Miller will have him strip himself of even this mantle by the play’s end in a spiral of self-destruction.

Tragedy and the Common Man A link to Miller’s own essay on “Tragedy and the Common Man”. Particularly useful when writing about Eddie as a tragic, yet ordinary, figure.

Study Guides on A View from the Bridge

McCarthyism and Kazan’s betrayal

A View from the Bridge Discusses A View from the Bridge as a direct response to the divisions caused by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (HUAC) in America. Makes reference to the influential betrayal by Arthur Miller’s friend Elia Kazan. Eddie Carbone supposedly echoes Kazan’s betrayal to the HUAC which Miller considered shameful.

Arthur Miller, "Are You Now Or Were You Ever?" Arthur Miller’s interview for The Guardian, "Are You Now Or Were You Ever?", compiled by the University of Pennsylvania. Miller discusses the divisions created in society by the McCarthy era's anti-communist trials, how it affected him personally and his writings.

1958: Arthur Miller cleared of contempt BBC featured article on the historic moment Arthur Miller was cleared of contempt, 7th August 1958. Clearly structured background to the HUAC, Hollywood Ten and details of Miller’s personal trial.

A View from the Bridge Critical essay by English Literature graduate, Jeremy Lee Cudd, on A View from the Bridge with a particular focus on McCarthyism and the polarised political arena in 1950s.

Italian Immigration

Italian Immigration in A View from the Bridge Brief history of post-war Italian immigration from Fascism to the opportunity associated with the American Dream.

Italian Immigation Extensive chronological history of Italian immigration to America. Details on the typical social conditions experienced, demographic changes and popular references in American culture.

Brooklyn Detailed history of Brooklyn and Red Hook. Areas described mainly from an architectural perspective, capturing the historical diversity of Brooklyn.

Italian Americans Wikipedia report on the history, culture and demographics of Italian-Americans.