What do I need to know about ... Hiding and Secrecy?

Brief Description

A View from the Bridge is a play which is set in the 1950s, at which time a large number of illegal immigrants werw moving to America seeking for a job and better standard of living. The immigrants believed that America was a country of freedom and a place where they could get money. The action of this play is sparked by the arrival of two illegal Italian immigrants, hence the theme of 'Hiding an Secrecy'. The issue of secrecy is first explored when the illegal immigrants nicknamed "submarines" enter the country and are hidden in the appartment. The air of secrecy is enhanced by the caution demonstrating how much is at stake "be careful" are the final words wispered by Tony to Marco and Rodolpho as they enter the house. Eddie also enhances the secret air by saying very soon to Rodolpho "you don't want to be picked up do you?" to which Marco replies "he'll be quiet".

Eddie and Beatrice
Although Beatrice is the maternal character in the play, often acting as Catherine’s guide and advisor, she has an air of secrecy and ulterior motive. This is apparent when she talks to Catherine about Eddie saying “he can’t give you orders no more.” Persuading Catherine to move out possibly so that she and Eddie can improve the state of their marriage which is in trouble “when am I going to be your wife again?”.
However Eddie is also keeping secrets from Beatrice “even my wife I didn’t exactly say this” is what he says when talking to Alfieri. This shows that Eddie may not trust Beatrice not to tell Catherine again enhancing the mistrust and secrecy. Also Eddie is very secretive about the fact that he called the immigration officers although he did not conceal it very well “you accusin’ me?” he says to Beatrice after the immigration officers arrive. Finally he also keeps his feelings for Catherine a secret, perhaps even from himself.

Catherine and Rodolpho
Catherine is torn between Eddie her father figure in life and Rodolpho her first love. Eddie has doubts about Rodolpho and what he really wants and warns her that Rodolpho is 'bowing to his passport” but Catherine refuses to believe him. Rodolpho’s motives are never revealed in the play and this is a secret withheld from the audience. Catherine says “I love him” and decides to marry him after Eddie gives up Rodolpho and Marco to immigration calling Eddie a “rat” and asking him “who the hell do you think you are?”. However there are moments when the audience does question Rodolpho’s honesty as he is quite effeminate and even admits “I will not marry you to live in Italy”.

Key Quotations

  • "She wants to get married, Eddie. She can’t marry you, can she?...What are you talking about … I don’t know what the hell you are talking about." - In this conversation between Eddie and Alfieri, Alfieri gives his advice and tells Eddie how overprotective he is and that he should just let her decide about the marriage. Eddie's anger and confusion when Alfieri implies that Eddie himself would like to marry Catherine reveals how Eddie is unprepared to admit his feelings for Catherine even to himself.
  • "...You don't want to be picked up do ya?" - threatens Eddie when Rodolpho singing is in his apartment and stealing all of Catherine's attention. This quotation not only suggests obvious secrecy as Rodolpho is not to be heard by anyone else but also reflects a more subtle form of secrecy as Eddie's comment is motivated by his secret desires for Catherine.

Its role in the novel

It is largely the theme of hiding and secrecy which leads to the downfall of Eddie and Marco. Eddie's death was brought upon by 2 "submarines"; it was the housing of Marco and Rodolpho which inevitabally lead to Eddie's end. The very nature of Rodolpho and Marco's staying with the Carbone family and their existance in the USA is the representation of secrecy, their illegal immigrant status is what ends with Marco's deportation back to Italy. Rodolpho's dissaproving love for Catherine is the spark for the power keg; this love brought upon Eddie's hatered for Rodolpho, which resulting in him reporting them and fianlly Eddie's death.