A View from the Bridge

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A View from the Bridge Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Arthur Miller
Arthur Miller was born into a middle-class Jewish family in Manhattan. In the stock crash of 1929, his father's clothing business failed and the family moved to more affordable housing in Brooklyn. Miller was unintellectual as a boy, but later decided to become a writer and attended the University of Michigan to study journalism. There, he received awards for his playwriting. After college, he worked for the government's Federal Theater Project, which was soon closed for fear of possible Communist infiltration. He married his college sweetheart, Mary Slattery, in 1940, with whom he had two children. His first play, The Man Who Had All the Luck opened in 1944, but Miller had his first real success with All My Sons (1947). He wrote Death of a Salesman in 1948, which won a Tony Award as well as the Pulitzer Prize, and made him a star. In 1952, Miller wrote The Crucible, a play about the 1692 Salem witch trials that functioned as an allegory for the purges among entertainers and media figures by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Miller testified before this committee, but refused to implicate any of his friends as Communists, which resulted in his blacklisting. He wrote A View from the Bridge in 1955. In 1956 he married the film actress Marilyn Monroe. They were divorced in 1961. His third wife was the photographer Inge Morath. Miller continued to write until his death in 2005.
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Historical Context of A View from the Bridge
The play is set in the 1950s, at a time when there were significant immigrant populations in New York City, especially from Italy, who often lived together in particular neighborhoods such as the one in which Eddie lives. Miller’s play is set in this time and environment, with its particular tensions of American and Italian identity.
Other Books Related to A View from the Bridge
While not directly modeled on or related to any particular literary works, the play deals with American ideals of working hard to better one’s social position and of the United States as a land of opportunity. This kind of “American dream” was crystallized and epitomized in the books of Horatio Alger, Jr. in the late 19th century, and the realism of Miller’s immigrant characters can be read as a response to the idealism of Alger’s.
Key Facts about A View from the Bridge
  • Full Title: A View from the Bridge
  • When Written: 1955
  • Where Written: Roxbury, Connecticut
  • When Published: 1955
  • Literary Period: Realism
  • Genre: Drama
  • Setting: Red Hook, Brooklyn, in the 1950s
  • Climax: There are in effect two climaxes. Eddie’s conflicting desires come to a climax when he grabs Catherine and kisses her in front of Rodolpho, and then immediately kisses Rodolpho in front of Catherine. But the matters of personal honor and justice come to a head at the end of the play, when Marco and Eddie confront each other and fight, and Marco ends up killing Eddie.
  • Antagonist: Eddie is the antagonist to most of the other characters and even to himself, as he is harmed by his own confused desires and behavior.
Extra Credit for A View from the Bridge

Two Acts. Miller originally wrote A View from the Bridge as a one-act play, and the production was not very popular. After this, Miller revised the play, adding a second act, and it is this more successful version that most contemporary readers and audiences know.