A View From The Bridge essay writing advice

Arthur Miller's play A View From The Bridge is often chosen as an essay topic. It can be a difficult one to get started on though, because it contains a lot of material and it's not easy to decide what aspect of it to deal with in a limited number of words. Here is some advice to make it easier.

  • Choose a single theme to focus on. The play contains three main themes; love, justice and honour. All make good topics, but it's very difficult to include them all in a single essay without it ending up very superficial. To add depth of analysis, and show your understanding of the play, sticking with one is the best bet.
  • If you decide to deal with the theme of love, there are a number of relationships to explore involving different types of attachments. The central character is Eddie Carbone, who's an Italian-American living in a New York slum. He lives with his spouse Beatrice and orphaned niece, Catharine. In the beginning he cares about Catharine as a relative, but this develops into a one-sided romantic attachment. Later Catharine falls in love with Rudolfo, one of Beatrice's two cousins who, as illegal immigrants, are sheltering with the family. Eddie's growing obsession finally drives him to report the cousins to the immigration bureau in an attempt to have Rudolfo and Catharine separated.
  • Eddie's lawyer, Alfieri, introduces the concept that the law and justice, especially in the Sicilian and Italian communities, are not necessarily the same thing. Alfieri stands for the law; he says that sometimes it's better to "settle for half" and accept the outcome of the law even if you're not entirely satisfied with it. When Eddie reports Rudolfo and his brother Marco and they are arrested, together with two other immigrants who had been living upstairs, he has acted in accordance with the law despite his motivations. At the end of the play, though, he draws a knife and attempts to stab Marco; Marco turns the knife around into Eddie, killing him. Was his death justice for attempting murder? Was it also justice for using a law he didn't actually agree with in an attempt to separate Catharine and Rudolfo?
  • Honour is a driving force in the community; early in the play Eddie makes clear how angry he is at someone who reported illegal immigrants to the authorities, and initially he refuses to turn in Beatrice's cousins because "It's an honour to have them." Honour gives respect in the community and must be preserved at all costs; it's more important than the law. In reporting the cousins Eddie finally throws his away, and is rejected by the people around him.

Any one of these themes will allow you to write a good essay on the play. By focusing on one of them you can add enough depth to the essay to demonstrate that you know what the message of the play is.