After its release in 1956, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge has provoked a number of varying opinions as to the cause of Eddie Carbone’s death. Chiefly, Eddie’s climactic murder at the end of the book has been attributed to several key factors and events. Many people argue that his death is a direct result of his actions and the actions of other members of the cast, such as Marco, Rodolpho and Catherine. However, more recent views on the play have concluded that the end of this tragedy is made inevitable by the background and genre of it.
Despite this, the death of Eddie Carbone is mainly caused by his actions alone in bringing about his hateful relationships and the dangerous fight that would directly cause his stab wound and kill him. America in the mid-fifties was a political battlefield in fear of the threat from Communist Russia. The deep mistrust and fear of Communism resulted in a great surge of secret police action, suspicion and paranoia. Arthur Miller personally experienced this at the time alongside his friend Elia Kazan and this formed a strong basis for several pieces of his best work.
Having released the extremely successful Death of a Salesman in 1949, Miller worked alongside Kazan, the director of Death of a Salesman, to write The Hook, based on the story of a longshoreman – Pete Panto – who was killed for standing up against the oppressive bosses of the docks. However, The Hook was never put into the theatres of America due to the interference of the FBI and US Government who force Miller to either change his script or abandon the play.
Following these issues, in 1952, Kazan was subpoenaed by the House Un-American activity Committee (HUAC) and forced to declare the name of any associates of his that may be involved in communist meetings. He obliged and put forward several names – none of which were ever allowed to work in the theatre again. For this, Kazan was shunned by his former friends; including Miller who didn’t speak to him again for years.
In response to these events, Miller wrote The Crucible in 1953 and later, in 1955, he first wrote A View from the Bridge. Both of these plays are based strongly on the paranoia, suspicion and treachery of Cold War America. After this, Miller was summon in front of the HUAC in 1957 and asked to inform the government of anyone else who may have been involved in Communist meetings. Miller refused and was sentenced to a fine and jail time. This was later revoked.