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A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller Argumentative

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The play ‘A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller’ is set in the 1930’s in an Italian based community in Brooklyn in New York. One main character in the play is Alfieri, a man originally from Sicily who had moved to America to become a lawyer. Alfieri is not just a character, he has a dual role in the play and acts as the narrator and comments on the action as well. Alfieri’s leisurely style draws the audience into his story and helps maintain a relationship with them throughout the play. In the opening lines the pronoun “you” is used to indicate Alfieri is directly talking to us.

This shows us that he is the medium between the audience and the characters. He acts as a dramatic device in the play and introduces the three main themes; these are violence, revenge and justice. These three themes bring the idea that the play will end in tragedy. Alfieri also acts as a Modern Greek chorus throughout the play. The play is told in a number of flash backs, of which Alfieri controls the thread. The play opens with a thoughtful analysis of the situation in Red Hook, a suburb of Brooklyn. Alfieri has an unbiased view.

He shows the audience how to feel therefore we trust him. Alfieri gives his views of the Sicilian code of honour to the audience, because he once was working in Sicily he dispenses information and advice and, most emphatically explains the law and its boundaries. He talks about the conflict between the legal system and moral justice. “The law has not been a friendly idea since the Greeks were beaten” This again, shows the audience how to feel. Alfieri explains that the law is not accepted within the community and shows the theme of violence and Alfieri’s fear.

Alfieri first becomes a character in the play, when Eddie Carbone visits him, to persuade Alfieri that Rodolfo is breaking the law as an illegal immigrant, wanting to marry Eddie’s niece Catherine to gain citizenship. He introduces the scene in great detail. “His eyes were like tunnels” This gives us the impression that Alfieri fears what news Eddie brings. This increases the dramatic intention. Alfieri takes on the roll of the audience; he again shows them how to feel. “I was so powerless” This is similar to the audience, who also can do nothing but sympathise for Eddie.

This makes the bond between the audience and Alfieri stronger. Alfieri acts as an onlooker in the play, all he can do is watch what happens even though he knows how it is all going to end. This makes his character seem more important because he has a good view on things and knows what is happening in the play. The fact that he is an onlooker makes it easier for the audience to relate with him, as they are onlookers too. This makes the audience trust him more and agree with his opinions making it easier for him to influence the audience’s views on what is happening.

Alfieri tells Eddie that there is nothing they can do within the law, however they both know that within the Sicilian code of honour the situation is deemed wrong. “I don’t quite understand what I can do for you is there a question of law somewhere? ” Both characters watch on hopelessly, as do the audience. Eddie is a desperate man, looking for someone to confide in, as he is jealous of his niece Catherine and Rudolpho’s relationship and does not think Rudolpho is good enough for her. Alfieri acts as Eddies confident in the play. He lets us see and feel Eddies’ struggle to articulate his fears.

This increases the audiences’ sympathy and is another example of dramatic function. Alfieri introduces Act Two, in a good-humoured manner. He sets the scene and introduces a new device which moves time forward, to set the scene at a new date. “On the twenty-third of that December” This is a useful device, which Alfieri uses as the narrator. He is an effective dramatic device. He also provides us with important information, about Rudolpho stealing a crate of whisky.

The audience now understands why Eddie’s actions are so irrational. Alfieri ends his introduction, with this loaded comment. Catherine told me later this was the first time they had been alone together in the house. ” This makes us feel tension, as we know that something will happen if they are caught alone together by Eddie. Alfieri is visited again, in a last attempt from Eddie. Alfieri feels helpless, as do the audience. Here, Alfieri acts as a bridge between the audience and the play, in comparison to the books title. Alfieri tells Eddie that the only thing he can do within the law, is to call immigration. He does not want this to happen, as he and the audience both know it will break Eddie. “You won’t have a friend in the world, Eddie. ”

Here Alfieri acts as the Greek Chorus and gives the audience the impression that a tragic ending is inevitable. The next time we see Alfieri, he is being used as the medium, between Eddie and Marco. He offers advice to Marco and Rudolpho that the audience would like to give them themselves. He tells Marco not to go after Eddie, ‘You won’t touch him. This is your promise’ In the play Alfieri plays a major part in giving advice to all the characters. He helps the characters through and helps them to make decisions. He is a way of telling the people in the play what the audience think and basically giving them the audience’s advice.

Alfieri is a narrator, commentator and sometimes a character in the play itself. He can sense the terrible events that are about to happen but is powerless to prevent them. It is he who attempts to place the events of the drama in context and explain to the audience that conflicts such as those related in the play occur throughout Italian and Sicilian history. Alfieri talks about it being “better to settle for half” and about liking that better because, quite often, the search for absolute justice results in unacceptable consequences. He realizes that the law is limited and cannot deal with every human problem fully.

He explains the boundaries to both Marco and Eddie but, even though in his heart he knows they will ignore what he has to say to them, he cannot take further action to prevent the conflict. Arthur Miller has not drawn Alfieri as a full “flesh and blood” character even though at times we feel sympathy for his predicament. Alfieri’s role is to oversee the action and remain objective throughout. The audience can see, at the end of the play that Alfieri does have sympathy for Eddie and even some admiration for him because “he allowed himself to be wholly known”. And that is Alfieri’s most important role. He offers the audience universal concepts.

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