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Reports & Essays: Literature - Plays

"AND""OR"

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 Italy. Marco is a very striking and powerful character who exemplifies the hopes and dreams of an illegal, misunderstood immigrant.

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