During the period of the 1955’s Arthur Miller wrote A View from the Bridge, and then in before this during the time of the Greek Gods Sophocles wrote the play Oedipus the King. Both of these were plays had many situations and similarities that happened to the main characters. Even though these stories took place in different times both could relate to the characters problems or similarities. No matter what time it is in society everyone is faced with some kind of problem that has occurred in these plays .The problems or similarities consisted of learning to overcome something about themselves, metaphorical blindness, and the themes of the plays. These are the three main similarities faced in both plays.
In the play A View from the Bridge, Eddie the main character, dealt with being metaphorical blind throughout the play. To be metaphorically blinded is someone who is blinded by something or someone around them that are happening. The person who Eddie was being blinded by was Catherine his niece. The fact that he was blinded by his love for her. This love that he had never existed on the outside, but only deep down did he realize it existed. Eddy’s wife Beatrice, a kind and loving wife saw what was happening because she was on the outside. Being unaware of what was happening around him he felt drew him farther from his wife. This lead to many problems and confrontations that did not end with a happy ending. When Eddie finally figured out his exact feelings for himself, but his life was suddenly ended. This is ending is ironic in that in the play Oedipus The King. In this play Oedipus, the main character, had to deal with being metaphorically blind himself because he was blinded by the truth of his parents. Both Oedipus and Eddie had similar problems and occurrences. Oedipus found out the truth the hard way from a man named Tiresias, a blind prophet, he told him the truth about his family. Oedipus may have not died himself like Eddie, but he had to witness the death of Jocasta, the wife and mother, who killed herself. The death of her opened Oedipus’ eyes, and he did not like what he saw. While his mother hanged there he said, “You shall not see me nor my shame not see my present crime”(Sophocles 73). After this was said he poked his eyes to make him physically blind now, and he was not metaphorically blinded anymore. Both Tiresias and Oedipus were foils of each other in a way that Tiresias was blind physically, but Oedipus was now blinded physically also. Oedipus and Eddie were both blocked by the truth. Everyone knows in the back of his or her head what is happening, but they just do not want to think it is true. The best thing to do is be able to let out their feelings to someone who will listen to them.
The next problem faced by both characters was that they both learned something about themselves. In Eddies case he learned love is painful and it comes in many ways. He learned that he can love Catherine, but not in the way he thought because his heart was with Beatrice. For instance, when Catherine meet Rodolpho, an illegal immigrant, Eddy’s feelings for her grew in rage against Rodolpho. These feelings were a rude awakening to his true feelings for his niece. This may have been a negative experience to most, but this was actually a turning point for Eddie. It is very hard for guys to admit their feelings out loud, and for him to act out his was a cry for help. Eddie said,” I don’t want no more conversations about that Beatrice. I do what I feel like doin’ or what I don’t feel like doin’ “(Miller 68). This means that Eddie likes to do what he wants and likes to be in control of what goes on. He only wanted the best for Catherine and his wife, but he finally realized that he could open up to his wife. It was the best thing that he ever did when he opened up his feelings towards her and Catherine. Then there was Oedipus who learned that he was a very proud man who was courageous, understanding, and determined on finding out the truth. The pride that he had was when he found out about who killed Laius, his father and the King, no matter who it was they would be banished. The irony that occurs in this was that Oedipus killed him and had to stick with his word, and he had to be banished now. He left everything to keep his own word, and a man who can leave his life behind has a great deal of courage. Oedipus had to deal with the curiosity of his past, and he was determined to find out the truth. He learned that a person can do anything if they put their mind to it. Oedipus had to find himself throughout this play, and he learned a great deal about himself. For example, he learned about where he came from, his family history, and what his future held for him. He was both understanding as a King and as a person. For instance, as a King he understood what his people wanted from him, and he knew what needed to be done. Also, being a person he could just as well help the people because of his understanding and caring. He may have had many downfalls, but he had more positive things about himself. These positive things helped him overcome some of his good and bad problems. Both Eddie and Oedipus learned things about themselves, and how to deal with their negative and positive emotions. No matter what though both men achieved great inner-peace with themselves.
The final comparison between the two has to do with the themes of each of their plays. A theme is the topic of discussion of the main idea. In A View from the Bridge the theme was Appearance vs. Reality which is constant through out the play. Appearance vs. Reality is how everything looked like it would be fine, but then everything goes downhill from there. For example, when Eddie in the beginning had everything going his way, but then at the end everything turned on him. From Catherine marrying an immigrant to having sexual problems with his wife. Eddy never wanted to talk about his problems, and his wife always said, “It’s almost three months you don’t feel good; they’re only here a couple of weeks. It’s three months, Eddy”(Miller 31). This was a major problem that occured from the outside that there marriage looked fine, but in all reality it was lacking love. Another example had to deal with Catherine growing up, and he could not deal with that. It was a growing problem that occurred throughout the play, and it looked like he had everything going for him. On the outside everything would have been looking fine, but once looked in the inside it was awful. Then there was Oedipus who had to deal with an identity problem. He thought that he grew up with his real family, but then he realizes he was with an adopted family. His life was all Appearance vs. Reality because it appeared his adopted family was his real family, but all and all it turned out not to be. For instance, when he kills the King he had to no idea that that was his “real” father. The irony in this was that Oedipus was taken away from his real parents so this would not happen. Not only did his father die, but his mother died also. Both Eddie and Oedipus dealt with being calm and casual on the outside, but in the inside they were falling apart. Oedipus was lied to, and he was an innocent victim that had no choice of his future. In the beginning of his life everything was going great, but then when finding out the truth his world came crashing down.
In conclusion the play of A View from the Bridge was a modern day version of the play Oedipus the King. The comparison that was the most significant was the metaphorical blindness. The other comparisons had to deal with the themes of the plays, and on how Eddie and Oedipus overcame something about themselves. I know that I can relate to some of these problems that were faced by these characters. In our society today people go through the same problems with their families.
Miller, Arthur. A View from the Bridge.
New York: Penguin Books. 1970.
Sophocles. Oedipus the King. Translations.
Paul Roche. World Masterpiece.
Ed.Eileen Thompson, et al. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1991. 429-473