A View from the Bridge
by Arthur Miller
The Double Kiss
Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
One of the most talked about moments in A View from the Bridge is the double kiss. Eddie comes home drunk and finds Catherine and Rodolpho fresh from a make-out session. His response is to get all mad and force a kiss on both his niece and her boyfriend. Now, why would he do such a strange thing? What could it symbolize?
One theory is that it's a result of his repressed sexual desire. His innocent little girl's not-so-innocent sexuality has just been thrown in his face. This makes his own repressed feelings rush to the surface and he kisses her. Some critics have theorized that kissing Rodolpho is also an expression of repressed desire. Does Eddie have secret attraction to men too?
Eddie's kisses may be symbolic of something more than repressed sexuality, however. They may just symbolize Eddie's struggle to maintain dominance. Think about it. In Eddie's view, he has just been monumentally disrespected. His power has been challenged. So, what does he do? He forces his niece to kiss him. This could be seen as a symbolic rape. By forcing himself on his niece, he symbolically asserts his power over her.
Then there's Rodolpho. Let us not forget that, before kissing the boy, Eddie beats him up and shoves him against a wall. That's a pretty obvious assertion of power. He tops off this act of domination with another kiss, another symbolic rape, another symbolic gesture that says "I'm in control here."
If Eddie was trying to regain his kingdom with the double kiss, he fails miserably. The act only pushes the young lovers closer together and unites Eddie's own family against him. In the end, he's left more powerless than before.