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A View fro the Bridge - Examine Alfieri's role within the play. What functions does he perform?

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Introduction

Examine Alfieri's role within the play. What functions does he perform? Many hundreds of years ago, the ancient Greeks produced the first theatre. This theatre, at first, had no actors and the numerous chorus figures told the whole story, which was usually a tragedy. Later, in the 6th century B.C., Thespis introduced the actor. The chorus figure was still in plays - he now commented on the action, divided it into scenes and linked these scenes together by covering any action that the audience didn't see during a time gap. He represents sanity, reason and compassion in modern plays. The choric figure usually talks more standard English, and this is true in this play, where Alfieri is much more articulate than most of the characters. Arthur Miller has used this characteristic in Alfieri to divide each act into unofficial scenes, and inform the audience on any missed action. ...read more.

Middle

Alfirei's character is as a Lawyer. The community in the play respect Alfieri, and view him as the authoritative figure in the play. As Alfieri reminds us in his introductory speech, Lawyers are only thought of in connection with disasters. (Another theme that Arthur Miller uses Alfieri to portray, it that of repetition. In the introductory scene, Alfieri refers to the repetition of events throughout history when he says, "Another lawyer, quite differently dressed, heard the same complaint." Alfieri also repeats himself throughout the play, reinforcing this theme. In both his main scenes as a Lawyer he says how, "His eyes were like tunnels," referring to Eddie.) In most of Alfieri's scenes he develops the action, moving time forwards and setting the new time, place and situation, as he does in both of the next two scenes. In the first of the two scenes, the audience feel again like they know what is going to happen, "He was as good a man as he had to be." ...read more.

Conclusion

After a Lawyer scene, the audience knows why Eddie believes he is doing what he is, and they may even sympathize with him. The only time Eddie shows his feelings is when he's inside Alfieri's office. As a chorus character he knows what is going to happen, but even so he tries to stop it, "She can't marry you, can she?" He also sees Eddie's feelings, and tries to relate them to the audience, "There is too much love for the niece" The scene after this is where Eddie challenges the masculinity of Rodolpho. Without the Lawyer scene the audience wouldn't have known why exactly Eddie was challenging Rodolpho. After watching the Lawyer scene, the subtext becomes much clearer to the audience. Here we have a clear departure from the rules of conventional realism where actors don't talk to the audience as this breaks the fictional illusion. This facilitative and introductory role, mediating between audience and stage-action, was something undertaken by the Chorus in Greek theatre. Alfieri's role and manner seem to be the modern equivalent of this ancient device. ...read more.

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