|Essay Planning Conflict
Choose a play in which a conflict arises between two important characters. Show how the conflict arises and go on to
explain how, by the end of the play, it is or is not resolved.
In your answer you must refer closely to the text and to at least two of: characterisation, plot, key scenes, theme, or any
other appropriate feature.
How Conflict arises
1. Refer to text and author eg:
In the play "A View from the Bridge" Arthur Miller creates a
conflict between the characters of ...
2. Secondly, give a brief summary of plot eg:
The play is set in 1950's Red Hook, an Italian community in
Brooklyn. It explores how the tragic hero, Eddie, suppresses
his strong feelings for his neice, Catherine, until Rodolpho
becomes attracted to her. This causes jealousy and hatred
which creates conflict between ... resulting in an unforgivable
crime and Eddie's death.
3. Refer back to the question - This will show your line of thought through the essay. Include a statement of the
features/techniques you will be focusing on. eg:
We can look at how the conflict arises and whether it is resolved
through analysis of key scenes, amongst other features.
Refer back to question
Overall, the conflict portrayed by Miller is developed effectively, from its
beginnings to its tragic resolution.
Refer to writer's craft:
Through realistic characterisation and dialogue, Miller brings the drama
to life. His stage directions are also very effective in representing the
conflict, especially at the end of Act One, when Marco's actions
symbolise his feelings and foreshadow the ending.
Try to evaluate the main themes:
Conflict is at the heart of "A View From The Bridge". The play's mood
is most notably one of tension,often due to Eddie's influence. Conflict
exists not only between characters but also within Eddie himself.
Through conflict, Miller allows us to explore human relationships and
their possible consequences when we won't "settle for half".
What have you learnt:
It is one of Alfieri's roles to act as a commentator; the one person who
can perhaps make sense of the story he tells. At the end, he advises the
audience that it is "better to settle for half". In this sense, we should
maybe regard Eddie's story as a warning: if we let our emotions get the
better of us - to be "wholly unknown" - then it will result in unacceptable
Quotations - use them to support your
point and analyse them to show how
this helps you to answer the question.
Firstly, secondly etc. On the other hand... Alternatively...
Another point... An example of this... However... In addition...
Furthermore... Moreover... Finally... Ultimately...
This will help to improve the overall tone and style of your essay.
Framing critical comment
Try to think of different ways of
introducing quotations into essays.
This is apparent in the text from...
When we read / see "..." we gain the
Your essay should have a clear structure and be written in a formal
register and style of writing.
Technical accuracy is of key importance. Failure to achieve basic
competence in spelling, grammar and punctuation can fail you.
Themes and Plot
Well known and liked in the community - respect
Dominant male - women fuss around him, trad family values - 1950's - Patriarch
Conflict between him and Catherine- her clothes, her job, her interest in boys
- he is not letting her grow up.
Conflict between E and B - they are not sleeping together and Eddie won't
talk about it. The audience can see (dramatic irony) that Catherine is
replacing B in Eddie's affections. Even B can see that she is losing E to C.
Relationship between E and C deteriorates with appearance of Rodolpho,
an illegal immigrant who, as B's relative, is staying in the Carbone house
until they pay off debt to the syndicate (Mafia) – Jealousy / unrequited love
Rodolpho a catalyst
R and C fall in love and E tries to break up relationship because he is
jealous. Boxing incident - with threat from Marco- another example of
Dramatic irony - Marco and the audience can see what Eddie is up to. Love Key scene
Eddie does not realise he loves Catherine too much. What he thinks is
being fatherly is over protective and suffocating his step daughter. Over protective / claustrophobic
His actions push Catherine further from Eddie and into Rodolpho's arms.
(Ref. back to Q) increases tension
Miller uses dramatic irony to emphasise the deterioration in relationships.
The audience can see Eddie's reactions to Catherine and Rodolpho and his
increasing anger. (Stage direction)
We can see the relationship between Eddie and B flounder "when will I be a
wife again?" Eddie continues to push B away in pursuit of a love he can
never have. Unrequited love
Eddie speaks to Alfieri the lawyer in a desperate attempt to prevent R and
C's planned marriage but American Law cannot help him. Betrayal / law
Alfieri tries to warn Eddie and explain that he loves C too much but Eddie
follows his heart. Unrequited love/ natural order / law
He phones immigration and reports R and Marco to the authorities. This
action leads to Eddie being spurned by everyone in the community. Betrayal
Marco spits in his face in public and accuses Eddie of killing his family. Betrayal/ loss of respect Key scene
Catherine hates him calling him a poisonous rat. Anger/conflict
Only B stands by her husband and promises to forgo her niece's wedding
for Eddie. Loyalty
Eddie is desperate to regain his reputation. Respect
For Marco, he has an obligation to right the wrong against his family. His
code of honour demands that he fights Eddie to the death. Justice / respect
Arthur Miller demonstrates his skill as a playwright, exploring the extremes to
which a person will go in order to be true to his heart. Although Eddie is
selfish we can empathise with his situation. As Alfieri explains, Eddie
allowed himself to be "wholly known", he was true to his emotions.