The tragic consequences of self-delusion and betrayal have provided recurrent themes for Arthur Miller dramas. Three of his more familiar plays illustrate the recurrence.
In ''All My Sons'' (1947), manufacturer Joe Keller's own son was among the World War II pilots whose deaths were attributable to defective airplane parts knowingly shipped out by Keller. In ''Death of a Salesman'' (1949), Willy Loman, ''riding on a smile and a shoeshine,'' was betrayed by his faith in the American dream of success turned sour. ''A View From the Bridge'' (1955) concerned betrayal in the context of elemental passion.
This tragic drama, now being revived in a powerfully gripping production at the Ambassador Theater, deals with longshoreman Eddie Carbone's implicitly unnatural possessiveness toward Catherine (Saundra Santiago), the lovely orphaned niece whom the Carbones adopted when she was a child. Beginning as an affectionate, avuncular strictness, Eddie's repressed desire assumes an uglier aspect when Catherine falls in love with Rodolpho (James Hayden), the younger of two illegal alien brothers Eddie has helped smuggle into the country and who are to board with the Carbones. Discovering that Catherine intends to marry Rodolpho (thereby legalizing his status), Eddie retaliates viciously. When the girl refuses to change her plans, he betrays the brothers to the immigration authorities.
In Tony Lo Bianco's deliberately developed portrayal, Eddie declines from an apparently simple and good-natured roughneck into a man driven by furies he cannot comprehend or control. Mr. Miller builds the situation carefully until the crazed longshoreman commits the act of jealousy which is fatally avenged by Rodolpho's brother (Alan Feinstein).
In line with the overtones of Greek tragic myth with which ''A View From the Bridge'' was hopefully invested, Mr. Miller supplies a one-man chorus - a neighborhood lawyer (Robert Prosky) who delivers periodic comments and takes care of the chronology. The device works efficiently but the drama seems most effective on its own immediate terms of intense personal and psychological drama (or even melodrama).
The Long Wharf Theater production staged by Arvin Brown is admirably acted by a company that includes Rose Gregorio in an impressive performance as Eddie's devoted but perceptive wife, whose prescient warnings fail to alter her husband's disastrous course. The 1950s setting for the Carbones' Brooklyn apartment and environs has been designed by Hugh Landwehr, with costumes by Bill Walker and lighting by Ronald Wallace.