Arthur Millers A View from the Bridge Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:28:03
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Category: Literature

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In Arthur Millers A View from the Bridge, the character of Alfieri can be described as the hidden leading role. He bears several roles, most of them more significant than assumed by the casual reader. His dual-role onstage as a character who interacts both with other characters and the audience provides him with the responsibility of bringing about some understanding to the events of the play, while his background makes him the vital link between two conflicting cultures.

Alfieri is the symbolic bridge between American constitutional law and Italian social law. The son of a Sicilian, he was raised in America and pursued an education in American law, providing him with a suitable dose of both backgrounds. Like a bridge, Alfieri connects with both shores. Like a bridge, Alfieri leans on the solid foundations of both cultures. But also like a bridge, Alfieri is elevated above, and therefore watches more often than he interferes. Hence the title A View from the Bridge. The whole play is Alfieris perception of the events that took place. It is almost a secondary source that is, a collection of primary sources with his personal interpretation mixed in at relevant moments but it isnt a complete secondary source, because there are significant times during the play when Alfieri himself is involved.

Alfieri provides vital continuity at points in the play when the story cannot be told in any way other than narration. One example is on page 31, once the cousins have arrived and all the characters have been introduced, Eddie visits him for legal advice, for a legal way to prevent a Catherine/Rodolfo marriage. Alfieri provides literal descriptions of a storyline which, up until now, has been conveyed only through physical actions and behaviour. His eyes were like tunnels, describes Eddies single, unchangeable aim, whereas ¦but soon I saw it was only a passion that had moved into his body, like a stranger describes how clear it was to Alfieri that Eddie was possessed by his motive. There is also an element of foreshadowing in my first though was that he had committed a crime this phrase also reiterates that the events of the play have already taken place.

There are further examples of continuity to promote understanding, provided by Alfieri, throughout the play. Give some of these.

As mentioned earlier, the play is Alfieris story, told by Alfieri. As such, and based on the important bridge position he maintains, he has attempted to present the story from a reasonable, objective point a view, a point of view that would suit his position. However, he is awestruck by the events that played out, and tells much of the story as a legend. On page 4, ¦every few years there is still a case, and¦the flat air in my office suddenly washes in with the green scent of the sea, the dust in this air is blown away and the thought comes that¦another lawyer¦sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course is reflective of this.

Alfieri considers the Eddie Carbone case to be a case of exception, one that triggers the romantic feelings he describes in the quotation. As a result, even though one of Alfieris roles in the play is to bring about some form of understanding to a potentially incomprehensible storyline, this quotation shows that the character of Alfieri is not an emotionless, robot-like narrator, but a real human, with a natural tendency to tell magnificent stories with an element of excitement.

This can also be seen in his closing remarks on page 64, where he admits to mourning Eddie. Hes only human, and hes torn between sympathy and pity. He is a bridge between two cultures, and he cannot make a choice to devote himself completely to one side. It is the job of a bridge to link two sides together. Similarly, it is his job to maintain a link between the American and Italian cultures, yet he is torn between the two. Here we truly see Alfieris dual-character, making him both a narrator and a character.

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