Examine the role played by the female characters in act one of the play and evaluate the effect they have on the audience.


The women roles in this play are important, the actions and saying of these women gives different effects on the audience. Some shows that they are independent and challenges male power, while others may show that women rely on men to support them. Female characters in this play have the power to create sympathy and make the audience feel sorry for them.


All women in those days were housewives, their job was to clean the house, cook, clean and look after the children. They had the lowest status in the house while the men had the highest which meant they had the power to control what goes on around them. In the play “A view from the bridge” many of the female characters relied on men to support them. The main character with the highest status in this play was clearly Eddie. He was the one who promised Catherine’s mother “on her death bed”. Even though Catherine’s mother was Beatrice’s sister it was the man, Eddie that made the promise to look after her, this was because Eddie had the highest status, he was the one who takes care of the family and he was the one who brings money into the house. “I’m just afraid if it don’t turn out good you’ll be mad at me” shows that Beatrice doesn’t want to intentionally upset Eddie and only wants to keep him happy therefore she will do anything to keep him satisfied. The reason for this is if Eddie is unhappy with her and therefore leaves her, Beatrice will have nothing because she had relied on people her whole life, her parents when she was younger and Eddie went she was older. So if Eddie did leave her she wouldn’t be able to support herself due to the lack of jobs for women, this makes it obvious to the audience that women did rely on men to support them. 


“I’m going with him, Eddie” demonstrates that Catherine starts to fight against Eddie for what she wants. She stood up for herself and went against the man who support her and brought her up. She challenges him and therefore gained power to control over her own life. At the beginning of the play Catherine was offered a job which was rare for a woman, but Eddie didn’t approve of it because he didn’t want to loose his power and control “look did I ever ask you for money?” proves that Eddie was offended by the fact that Catherine used money as an excuse to go to work. The reason for this was because Eddie wanted me the man who brought in the money and food the person which supported his family which therefore gives him the power to make decisions and control everything to the way he wanted them to be. Beatrice was the main female character, who always goes against Eddie in order to achieve what she wants. “Look, I’m sick and tired of it, I’m sick and tired of it!” shows that Beatrice challenged male power when she thought that what Eddie doing was wrong therefore, she is doing what she can to fight for what she thinks is fair for everyone, not just herself. The repetition of “I’m sick and tired of it” shows that’s she really meant it, that she was angry and possibly raising her voice with Eddie. When Eddie realized that he was no longer in control he demanded for his “respect” back and told Beatrice that he doesn’t like “the way she talked to him and the way she looks at him” he knew that he was loosing control and tried to claim his power back. “She is my niece and I am responsible for her”


The women in this play had the power to create sympathy which was built from the inevitability and the tragedy of the catastrophic events that happened that couldn’t be controlled. The old women that Alfieri went to see acted like an oracle. She was able to see into the future and knew what would happen exactly but both her and Alfieri was powerless to stop anything from happening to change the future.  Alfieri saw “every step coming, step after step” even being an “intelligent man” like himself, he was “powerless to stop it”. Additionally the fact the Marco’s wife was back in Sicily, Italy, with no money looking after her sick child relying on Marco to send money back from the United States. This created sympathy and therefore made the audience feel sorry for them.


However, the most effective point was Rodolpho who challenges to our stereotype of a man. He was described by Eddie as a “weird”. “He sings, he cooks, he could make dresses...” those were a type of things that men did not do, therefore he seemed different from all the locals. Not only had that he had “blonde” hair, which was unusually for where they lived in. From the way he acted and they way he talked people therefore assumed that he was a “weird