The time setting, which is between 1940 and 1960, may not appeal to the interest of the present-day audience. But analytically speaking, the story contains more substance than many stories written by most contemporary writers. It connotes the favorability as well as the dangers one must experience and endure when living in a foreign land.
[It] is a play largely concerned with discovery. As [Italian-American lawyer] Alfieri warns, no one can ever know what will be discovered. There are two secrets in the play: Eddie's incestuous desires for his niece and the two illegal immigrants hiding in the Carbone home, Marco and Rodolpho. [qtd. in Sparknotes, 18]
The play, which is set to happen in an Italian-American community known as Red Hook, situated in the waterfront in Brooklyn, New York City, tells the story of Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman who feels something toward his niece other than filial love and how his life ends tragically because of it.
Eddie Carbone - the center of the story - is a character who was created as an ordinary man; the type of person whom everyone will learn to love. However, Miller did not create a totally perfect character, but rather gave him flaws and weaknesses; his weakness is mainly concentrated in his love for his niece, Catherine.
 a suitable subject for a modern tragedy because the potential for self-destruction, which is in all of us, in Eddie's case has destroyed him. And apart from this improper love, Eddie is a good man; and this love has its origin in the quite proper love of father for child, and Eddie's sense of duty to his family and community. [A View from the Bridge]
In a review of the play, another critic commented:
Eddie sets in motion against one person rains a whole avalanche of destruction. Like many classic tragic figure (including Shakespeare's Hamlet), Eddie's effort to get rid of the one man he perceives as his enemy, cannot control fate's ripple effect on Marco, Marco's family and the hapless additional underground border - and, as importantly, his own standing in the tight-knit community. [Sommer]
Despite Eddie's efforts to hide his feelings toward his niece, he is not able to do so, as shown in his actions. Although his wife Beatrice is aware of the fact of Eddie's non-paternal feelings toward her niece, she tries to ignore it and pretends that everything is just normal.
Eddie's relationship with his wife and niece becomes more complex when he takes into the shelter of their home the two illegal immigrants, Marco and his brother Rodolpho, cousins of Eddie's wife Beatrice.
Eddie's problem starts when one of the brothers, Rodolpho becomes romantically involved with his niece Catherine to whom Eddie harbors special feelings. Eddie tries everything in order to stop Rodolpho and Catherine from getting married, including seeking lawyer Alfieri's advice, making Catherine see Rodolpho's flaws and finally reporting the two brothers to the Immigration Bureau, an act which destroys Eddie's good reputation in the community.
Eddie, however, is not able to stop the marriage from taking place. Embittered by hatred for Rodolpho and probably also driven by frustration, he refuses to reconcile with the younger man.
In the end, Rodolpho becomes and American