Tragic Ending in A View From the Bridge Essay

In the play A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller, the ending in which Eddie is murdered and the events that result from this climax are effective as the characters’ dialogue powerfully appeal to pathos and their stage directions are full of meaning. Miller attempts to tie in the themes of respect, Sicilian values, as well as name and identity whilst reminding the audience of the importance of the sense of community in Sicilian society. In the ending, Eddie’s loss of respect, Beatrice’s loyalty, Eddie’s death, his acceptance of fate and Alfieri’s epilogue allow Miller to convey his ideas.

By the end of the play, the audience sees how Eddie has utterly lost his respect from Catherine. When she sees Eddie after the cousins are arrested, Catherine shouts at Eddie “he’s a rat! He comes when nobody’s lookin’ and poisons decent people. In the garbage he belongs!” This metaphor conveys how unworthy she thinks Eddie is and suggests the disintegration of Eddie’s once noble character into one that even Catherine despises. He has lost all credibility in her mind and she has frozen out all love and care for him. Catherine’s insolent remarks condemning Eddie would have been unthinkable earlier in Act I, as she used to have an immense capacity for respect of him.

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Although Catherine condemns Eddie, Beatrice still remains a loyal wife who respects and protects her husband. In response to Catherine’s animadversion of Eddie, Beatrice immediately replies “Don’t call him that!” In addition to rejecting Catherine’s remarks of Eddie, she is admonishing Catherine for her impertinence. Beatrice cannot tolerate the younger generation standing up against their elders, perhaps because old traditions are so ingrained in her. Despite Eddie’s betrayal, Beatrice still continues to stand by her husband’s side, allowing her virtue to shine through.

Nevertheless, the Sicilian community does not have as great a capacity for tolerance as does Beatrice, because members of the community have clearly lost all respect for Eddie. Eddie’s friend, Louis “barely turns, and walks off.” Meanwhile, others react similarly; “Lipari the butcher and wife turn, they exit.” Miller highlights that the Siclian community is physically abandoning Eddie despite his adamant proclamations of innocence.

This leads to the final confrontation between Marco and Eddie, which is a very moving resolution. Once he realizes that Marco is coming for him, Eddie shouts, “I want my name!” The short exclamation conveys the great importance of name and identity to Eddie. Eddie accepts his fate by being willing to confront Marco to regain his name. While Marco drives the blade into Eddie’s body, Marco only facilitates the killing because the weapon is ultimately in Eddie’s hand. Ironically, it is Eddie who kills himself through his actions. This strikes a sorrowful note in the audience’s heart because the punishment of death for the crime of betrayal seems too severe.

In the epilogue, Alfieri declares that Eddie “let himself wholly known and for that I think I will love him more than all of my sensible clients.” Alfieri cannot help but be impressed by Eddie because of his adamant pursuit for dignity as he is willing to even sacrifice his own life for his name and identity. Although Alfieri comments that “yet it is better to settle for half”, he finds it difficult to convince even himself that people are better off comprising after witnessing Eddie’s tragedy.

The ending of the play evoke strong feelings as Miller illuminates the themes of name and identity, respect as well as Sicilian values. Alfieri’s comments cement the notion that Eddie is the tragic hero of the play and his fate was a tragedy. Through this tragic ending, the play is raised from a mere play to a story of greatness and importance, to the equivalent of a Greek tragedy.


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