A View From The Bridge


by Arthur Miller
In Arthur Miller's play "A View From The Bridge," the most
striking character is Marco. He is an Italian immigrant who
moved illegally to the United States with his brother
Rodolpho because they were unable to find jobs in Italy. 
They were hoping to work as longshoremen and make enough
money to support their family in Italy. 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, his prominent characteristic.
Throughout the play, 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 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 strength 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 unpunished. 

Throughout the first act of the play, Marco is appears as a
flat character. The only time we become aware of 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, in response for mocking Rodolpho. 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 except defend his honor which is of
utmost importance in his culture and his brother, Rodolpho,
his accomplice, is not arrested and gets away with his part
of the act by marrying Catherine. Marco has no other choice
but to go back to his hungry wife and sick children in
Marco is a very striking and powerful character who
exemplifies the hopes and dreams of an illegal,
misunderstood immigrant. 


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