Rodolpho is a tool utilized by Miller utilized to symbolise various elements and stereotypes of 1950s America. Miller uses Rodolpho in specific to resolve specific concerns surrounding subjects such as McCarthyism, which Rodolpho is seen to be a victim of throughout the play, masculinity, which Rodolpho does not meet the stereotype of, and the delusion of the American Dream, which for the most part, Rodolpho is an avid follower of. Miller uses this as a social analyst to get his message across to the audience.
Rodolpho strikes the audience as quite various to the other characters in the play, as soon as he is presented and his numerous qualities are exposed progressively to develop a sense of shock. For instance, initially, through his look, we discover that he is ‘light’. Then, through Catherine’s remarks, the audience learns that he is ‘almost blonde’ and when he starts to sing we learn that he is a ‘high tenor’. As these qualities are revealed, Rodolpho becomes more and more of a foil of the ‘husky, overweight’ Eddie and the ‘routine servant’ Marco.
However, throughout the play, we discover that Rodolpho, although being perceived as ‘ain’t right’ by Eddie, is in fact the character who achieve the most romantic and sexual success.
Marco and Eddie, being stereotypically manly characters, are viewed as having less effective relationships, whereas the relationship between Rodolpho and Catherine is very intimate, as seen when Rodolpho says he is not starving ‘for anything to consume’, although he is believed by Eddie to be homeosexual. In this method, Rodolpho breaks manly stereotypes, and this would have been particularly popular in a society such as 1950s America. Miller showcases Rodolpho in this way to suggest that society needs to advance as times are changing, and not all guys need to need to comply with such a shallow stereotype.
This unstereotypical form of masculinity leads to Roldopho being laid victim to McCarthyist views, particularly from Eddie. Ever since Rodolpho is presented to the play, Eddie is stated to be ‘coming a growing number of to deal with Marco just’ because he has discounted Rodolpho as a risk to his ‘alpha male’ dominance, due to his ‘high tenor’ voice and ‘blond hair’, although submissively, Rodolpho is the biggest risk to his control. This is because of Eddie’s deem Rodolpho being ‘ain’t right’ and a ‘punk’ indicating that, even if of his behaviour and appearance, Eddie thinks he is a homosexual, and in turn, not an appropriate partner to his beloved niece. Nevertheless, Rodolpho is likewise greatly susceptible to McCarthyist views from the audience, purely since of the fact that he is the only male figure in the play who essentially sticks out from the crowd, due to his unstereotypical functions.
The audience might likewise view Rodolpho as not being ‘best’ and in fact, the audience’s perception of Rodolpho modifications from favorable to potentially negative by the end of the play. At his entryway, he is seen to be an innocent young man, who wishes to be a ‘resident’, but as the play progresses, the audience begins to change their opinion of Rodolpho, as he states ‘I will not marry [Catherine] to reside in Italy’ which ‘he nods to [Eddie] testingly’ to provoke him.
Suddenly, the McCarthyist judgements of Rodolpho change and he is moreso deemed an unsympathetic character who fills Eddie’s doubts of ‘bowin’ to his documents’. In addition, the fact that Rodolpho is stated to nod ‘testingly’, perhaps also recommends that this is a sort of judgement of Eddie from above, causing him to reveal his deadly flaw. This is a progressive modification of view throughout the play Miller, as a victim of McCarthyism himself, utilizes Rodolpho to symbolise the requirement for prejudice to end, but that also, people can quickly alter their understandings of you depending on your behaviour.
Rodolpho is portrayed by Miller as a character who avidly follows the deception of the American Dream. He comes to America with the aspiration of purchasing a ‘blue motorbike’ and wanting to see the ‘lights’ and ‘Broadway’. He and Marco also state that they want to purchase ‘their own home’ demonstrating how they have the belief that they will be able to make a decent living from what is basically a working class job. In reality, the fact that he states to Catherine ‘I will not wed you to live in Italy, reveals that he is potentially such a consumed follower of the American Dream that he he is willing to simply marry for a ‘permit’ citizenship, and Rodolpho’s possibly produced love for Catherine is the reason for most of the events in the play, and ultimately, Eddie’s death. However, Rodolpho’s belief in the American Dream begins to degrade as the play advances, as seen when he says that ‘the only marvel is the work’ in America, which greatly contrasts to his previous declarations of desiring ‘to be an American’.
The truth that Rodolpho ends up being more concentrated on the requirement for work and making money compared to his initial desires of living the American Dream, shows that he is possibly growing as the play goes on and that he is perhaps also becoming more positive in his ability to remain in America as a resident. Miller, whose family unexpectedly became bad throughout the Wall Street Crash, understands the realities of the American Dream, and uses Rodolpho’s results on Eddie as a tool to showcase the consequences of blindly following the American Dream, and doing everything you can to achieve it.
Overall, the significance of Rodolpho in A View from the Bridge is that he is utilized by Miller to portray the requirement for society to accept that times are changing, and to not persecute individuals due to whether they fulfill a stereotype. Rodolpho is also used by Miller to show the effects of McCarthyism and bias, and moreover, he is utilized by Miller to signify the consequences of following a deception such as the American Dream, and of remaining in rejection of the reality that it does not exist.