Eddie’s reaction to the news of Catherine’s new job is vital, because it is another example of the way Eddie feels about Catherine, and what type of relationship they have. Eddie is very protective, and at first strongly objects to Catherine leaving school to work. When Eddie says: “It’s not wonderful. You’ll never get a job nowheres unless you finish school. You can’t take no job. Why didn’t you ask me before you took a job? ” shows that he still sees her as a child who is not ready to be released into the world, or make any independent decisions without his permission.
He is determined that Catherine will stay on at school, and refused to listen to her explanation until he hears the amount of money that she will be earning. Beatrice’s reaction is very different; she supports Catherine and agrees that it is great news. In this scene, Beatrice acts more of a friend of Catherine’s than a wife of Eddie, which is continued throughout, as Eddie and Beatrice’s relationship falls apart, partly because Beatrice does not have a problem with the relationship between Catherine and Rodolpho, and Eddie evidently does.
This early sign of Beatrice’s support of Catherine and the way that Eddie wants to control her is a clue to what is to come. This makes the reader understand why Beatrice is more supportive of Catherine and Rodolpho’s relationship than Eddie, because of the typical way they react, their personalities, and personal relationships with/feelings for Catherine. This part could be inspired by the American Dream- because of how much Eddie cares for Catherine, he want life to be better for her than it was for him, and he would want her to stay on at school for maximum achievement.
However, Eddie is clearly worrying about the male attention that she might be getting from the way she is dressing, and probably feels that if she goes into a job she might meet a man. This is shown not only by Eddie’s reaction to her new job, but her dress sense. By comments like “I think it’s too short, ain’t it? ” and “Listen, you been givin’ me the willies the way you walk down the street,” reveal how he feels about her seeking male attention.
This would concern Eddie because not only would he be jealous, he would feel that Catherine was leaving him behind, first by getting a job then with a man. This signals to the audience that Eddie’s fear could be about to become reality. In the opening scene, it is not particularly clear that Eddie and Beatrice are married. You can sense that Eddie and Beatrice are the more adult people in the family, but there is no sign of affection suggesting that they are in love- perhaps because Eddie has so much love for Catherine that he, in a way, doesn’t have the love for his wife anymore.
This suggests that something of a ‘romantic’ theme will happen- because at this point Eddie seems to be in love with his own niece- something that will become apparent to his wife. This tension is hinted at early on in the play when she supports Catherine, with comments like “It’s very good news, Eddie. I want you to be happy,” she shows that she already knew the news, and it is more like she is a friends of Catherine’s who she confides in, and Catherine is more romantically involved with Eddie.
This prepares the reader for Beatrice’s outburst in the final scenes when she says “You want somethin’ else, Eddie, and you can never have her! ” The news about the arrival of Marco and Rodolpho in the opening scene is also very important. By the end of the first scene, all of the key characters have been introduced- and from this point it is clear to the audience that the tragedy is going to begin. From just a short introduction, the audience is able to make connections between characters, which can lead to what will happen in the end.
When the news comes that Marco and Rodolpho will soon arrive, Eddie is not concerned about them, in fact, he is almost keen for them to come. He says that they can stay for free, and says “It’s an honor, B. I mean it,” showing that he is proud to be housing the immigrants, which is quite contrastive to the opinion he goes on to express later in the play. In a way, Miller avoids the audience being prepared for what will happen by making no link to the cousins and Catherine.
However, because Eddie is so unprepared for Rodolpho and Catherine beginning a relationship, it almost makes the audience make the link themselves, which makes them think about how Eddie will react to this- preparing them for what is to come. The story about Vinny Bolzano is very significant because at this point in the play, it is a harmless story, but it brings back the theme of the inevitable- giving a clear warning about what will happen in the play. “A guy do a thing like that…….. How’s he gonna show his face?
” are purposely spoken by Eddie to show the irony of his character. At this time, Eddie finds it outrageous that somebody had ‘snitched’ on an immigrant, but it symbolises how strongly Eddie feels about Catherine. This could perhaps be without even realising, and shows the lengths that he will go to stop Catherine from having a relationship with a man, which he goes on to prove when he ‘snitched’ on two immigrants himself. Again, this is clearly showing the theme of fate and the inevitable tragedy occurring.
Miller uses very tactful, yet clear links in the opening scene of “A View from the Bridge” to prepare us for what is to come in the rest of the play. There are a few key themes running through the play, for example love and tragedy, and under the theme of tragedy, fate and the inevitable. Miller used these clever links to demonstrate his themes. All of the clues about inevitable tragedy link up at the end, and show how everything that happened in the opening scenes, which were at the time unimportant, made what happened in the future happen.
The opening scene uses small but clear warnings, omens, themes and strong words that altogether prepare you for what will happen. The phone booth’s presence throughout the play creates a continuous tension as Eddie’s desire to discard Marco and Rodolpho by reporting them to the authorities. The same continuous reminder is used with the phonograph- the player that played the song that represents the love between Catherine and Rodolpho that he resents with such a passion.
Even if you do not know what is going to happen after the opening scene, subconsciously you are prepared for what is going to happen because of the careful signals that Miller has used. He does this to put his point across even more clearly- creating a bigger impact on the audience because the omens that they have been presented with create a lot of tension. This makes the play constantly tense, and the audience is waiting for the fatal moment, so when it arrives it has a big impact.