Conflict is a clashing strain. Some find
conflict with outsiders, where uprooting their existence, would mean
everything. Some find dissent within themselves, desires, hidden deep in the
fabric of their entity, holding power to tear their lives away. Some find
discord with beloved ones, squabbling over ‘love’, or ‘safety’, though,
vaporizing it quickly, as if it were like, a volatile liquid. But every liquid
leaves its stain. Every conflict leaves its mark. It builds up, brick by brick,
finally, letting loose. In Arthur Miller’s, A View from the Bridge, these
disagreements act as fuel, that encompass our tragic hero, Eddie Carbone, who
deals with external/internal conflicts, resulting as consequences of absurd
decisions and mindsets. Eddie is portrayed as igniting strife, defying societal
beliefs, bearing lustful
thoughts, switching between communal and state
laws/cultures, all while holding, stereotypical views. Miller, carefully,
crafts the play, manipulating conflict, to gradually deepen the plot, and channel
it as a final force, against Eddie, while presenting themes and motifs,
throughout.

 

Eddie’s
inner conflict is displayed, vide his inability, in accepting his forbidden
desires, for Catherine. Eddie exclaims that he’s troubled, by Catherine “walkin’ wavy!” Eddie can’t welcome
his affection, for Catherine, to an extent, where he’s unable to, clearly,
express his dislike, of her somewhat, flirtatious persona. The adjective
“wavy”, not only implies that, Catherine is physically, evoking a sense of
sexuality, but also indicates, she is under the intoxication of her, own,
increasing sensuality, from her progression into adulthood, magnifying her
desirability, thus igniting Eddie’s inner conflict. Conflict, germinates, with Eddie’s difficulty, accepting
Catherine’s escalating beauty, leading to a partially, overt conflict
between his outer and inner self. The exclamation mark, reveals Eddie’s strong
emotions, of concern and possessiveness, concluding Eddie’s inner
conflict/hamartia as his inappropriate desires and abstinence. The audience,
when experiencing Eddie’s safeguarding stance towards Catherine, may relate,
but upon realizing his underlying feelings, they could be horrified and
perplexed. Miller highlights the intricacies of lust’s true nature, how it evokes,
hunger of intimate contact, that devoid one’s perception. Conflict within Eddie
is, exhibited, when Alfieri notices “a passion … moved into his body … like a stranger”. The noun “passion”
refers to Eddie’s lust. The simile compares “passion”, to the noun “stranger”,
hinting on Eddie, denying his incestuous thoughts. His impermissible ‘love’ is
suppressed and is unknown, to his conscious being. This not only suggests, his
mind and body are physically altered, as of his confused and conflicted state,
but that it also, influences him mentally, where an active battle seems to be
occurring, increasing the audience’s concentration, due to Eddie’s intensified
feelings. Miller presents Eddie, in a state of oblivion, to emphasis flaws
hidden within people, that arise in times of tension and dispute.

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Conflict is presented, within Eddie,
when his conscience is withering away, leading to psychological turmoil. When
Eddie first approaches Alfieri, his face is dark, and his “eyes … like
tunnels”. The plural noun “eyes” connotes
radiance and clarity. The simile contrasts his
eyes, also regarded, as gateways or visions into one’s
soul, to tunnels, passages associated with darkness, hollowness or journeys,
here being, Eddie’s transformation from an authoritative figure, common in patriarchal societies, to a
doubtful, disoriented character, leaving him emotionally broken. This indicates
Eddie’s physical exhaustion, suggesting his innermost self is encompassed with gloom, contradicting the conventional
symbolism of “eyes”, thus, insinuating a metaphysical struggle, within Eddie,
between dark and light/good and evil. Clashes between his moral conscience and
negative emotions, including anger and ardour, leads to Eddie’s
mental disorder and emptiness, as of his obsession with his niece. This creates
an aura of abnormality, presenting him as an occult, incomprehensible creature,
instilling dread and unease in the audience, thus foreshadowing forthcoming
sins. When Eddie’s shown to be “unconsciously twisting” a “newspaper into a
tight roll” his mental stability is questioned. The stage direction indicates, Eddie’s inability to
prevent his mental strain from surfacing, for his vicious impulses crave
physical expressions, illuminating the difficulty of restraining urges. Eddie
isn’t, just deforming the paper, but, since the “newspaper” links to Rodolpho’s
song, Paper Doll, it symbolises Rodolpho’s feminine qualities, suggesting
within Eddie’s imagination, it’s Rodolpho who he’s metaphorically, strangling,
as their stereotypical society, deem men assertive. Eddie’s distaste of
Rodolpho creates conflict, as he cannot physically injure Rodolpho. The verb
“twisting” and adjective “tight” share violent connotations, implying rising
tension and, sprouting fear, attributable to Eddie’s lack of control. The
adverb “unconsciously”, signifies Eddie’s unawareness of his menacing behavior,
evincing his, diminishing mental condition. Miller presents Eddie’s behavior
as, becoming unpredictable, where he may, physically, hurt Rodolpho, casting
anxiousness throughout the audience.

 

Conflict
is presented, between Eddie and Beatrice, when Beatrice divulges sensitive
information, and is portrayed as veracious and outspoken. Beatrice, unable to
withstand, poses the question, “when (will I) be a wife again, Eddie?”. The
proper noun “Eddie”, focuses the audiences’ attention on him, implying a
crucial revelation/conversation is upcoming. The noun “wife” connotes both
marital and sexual relation. Beatrice’s question, implies, Eddie is
disregarding her, devoting more endearment on Catherine, causing discord and
inducing sympathy in the audience. The interrogative statement, raises doubts
of conventionalism, for earlier, men held ascendancy and power, but here, Eddie
is forthrightly questioned by Beatrice, revealing her desperation, and
portraying conflict between them, consequently shocking the audience. Beatrice’s
extent, discloses the veracity of her deteriorating relationship, signifying
the great lengths, people go, defying traditional expectations, when dishonored
or despaired. Miller’s euphemism, especially of the noun “wife”, reveals his
intentions to leave the exact interpretations, at the hands of the audience. Beatrice,
understanding Eddie’s lecherous desires, helps him realize he “want(s) somethin’
else” and repudiates him, stating, “you can never have her!”. In this
imperative statement, the use of interpersonal language, stresses Beatrice’s
confidence and certainty, in detaching Eddie from his immoral path, creating
conflict through her
point-blank accusation. Anagnorisis is displayed as Eddie’s wrongful sentiments
towards Catherine, are discerned by him. Beatrice’s blunt confrontation,
forcing Eddie to face his feelings, creates a problematic situation between
them, since she’s first to acknowledge this, relatively, delicate subject. Her
outburst lets the audience commiserate with Beatrice, holding animosity towards
Eddie. The exclamatory statement, highlights the immensity of Beatrice’s
disturbance and distress, deepening the conflict. This develops Beatrice’s
character, presenting her as self-standing and vociferous, because of her
catharsis, generating a turning point, where Eddie’s underlying feeling are
brought to Eddie’s consciousness.

 

Conflict
is depicted through physical actions, when Eddie’s reputation is tarnished and
he’s publicly defamed. To defuse Marco’s anger, Catherine pacifies him with the
knowledge, that “everybody knows” he
“spit” in Eddie’s face.
The noun “spit”, connotes dishonor and shame, also symbolizing revulsion and
revolt, thus, representing a raw and heavy image of primeval justice and rage,
further, indicating, brewing conflict, and a pivotal point in the plot,
frightening the audience with possibilities of future, vengeful acts. The
pronoun “everybody” implies, Eddie’s humiliation was observed, further implying
that, in Red Hook, if a man’s mortification was prominently displayed, the
knowledge of his wrongdoings leaves his reputation in tatters, kindling wrath
and fury, within Eddie’s pugnacious self. Peripeteia is displayed, between
Eddie and Marco, for previously, Marco was under Eddie’s guidance, but now, has
abashed Eddie, developing discord, and foreshadowing destruction, because of
the search for retribution. Earlier, Vinny Bolzano snitched on his uncle,
arising repugnance, thus, presenting the mirroring of events, hinting towards
catastrophe. Marco spitting on Eddie’s face, relates to the tight and honorable
system of justice, in Red Hook, appalling the audience with Eddie’s
insensitivity. In the climax, Marco kills Eddie as he turns the blade inward,
“pressing it home”. This evokes tragic irony, as Eddie’s own knife, killed
him. The scene’s antagonism and hostility, captures the audience’s attention,
preparing for a dramatic conclusion, by heightening their emotions, as the
final strands of conflict build-up. The noun “home” implies, from where the
conflict originated, it has ended there too, since Eddie’s hamartia initiated
problems. Therefore, Marco hasn’t only annihilated Eddie, but, commenced a
peaceful beginning, and an end, to an age of conflict, bringing forth a
powerful image of classical poignancy and pathos. Miller allows the audience,
to interpret this ‘depiction’ of Eddie’s death freely, presenting its tragedy,
but inevitability. The audience could be satisfied, for they viewed Eddie’s
thoughts of incest, ego and betrayal, bitterly, linking to loyalty, communal
laws and protection, integrated within families, of Red Hook, Sicily.

 

Every
conflict leaves its mark. It reaches heights, presenting an authentic society,
in the 1950s America. Conflict poisons minds, with apprehension and unease,
granting revelations and catharsis, the ability to quench this thirst. Eddie’s
inner conflict, unquestionably, leads to disputes, and his downfall, acting as
a harbinger of his death. Miller depicts ruinous aspects and traits, involving
fantasies or psyches. Eddie, in this case, is an amalgamation of good and evil,
two extremes, portraying the real nature of humanity. Conflict, aids the
connection between 1950s America and modern societies, pushing the reflection of one’s, own, shortcoming.