A View From the Bridge

A View From the Bridge Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Allegory: "Paper Doll"

The song "Paper Doll" is an allegory for the twisted love triangle of Catherine, Rodolpho, and Eddie. Eddie is the singer who wants to keep his doll and not let anyone else have her; Rodolpho is the "flirty" guy trying to steal her away.

Symbol: The Bridge

Critic Arthur Epstein writes that the bridge from the play's title (the Brooklyn Bridge, shadowing Red Hook) may symbolize Alfieri, who bridges different communities. It may also be what "[links] modern Brooklyn with ancient Sicily, and furthermore, in the abstract, the bridge of Time."

Motif: Robbery

Eddie is constantly talking about Rodolpho "stealing" Catherine from him, which is a grave sin since he put a roof over his head. Similarly, Marco believes Eddie to have stolen from him and doomed his children once he is caught by Immigration. The lyrics to "Paper Doll" talk of flirty men trying to steal the girl.

Symbol: Spitting

Marco's spitting on Eddie is, as critic Arthur Epstein writes, "a symbolic murder which foreshadows his act of murder at the conclusion of the play. The spitting, coupled with a public accusation...underscores the imagery of theft."


The play as a whole can be read as an allegory about putative radicals within one's community and the immorality of turning them over to the authorities. Written during a time of intense anti-communism and fears of dissenters, Eddie is lambasted for turning over Marco and Rodolpho. He betrays members of his community just like people like Elia Kazan did in front of HUAC in the mid-1950s.