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The Dramatic Function of Alfieri in Arthur Millers

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Hatice Giritli Hwk Friday 22nd October 2004 The Dramatic Function of Alfieri in Arthur Millers "A View from the Bridge" The play "A View from the Bridge" was written by Arthur Miller in 1955, the famous playwright who was born in New York and graduated in English in 1938, before embarking on his career. The play is set in Red Hook, in the slums of Brooklyn. It is about immigrant workers who are struggling to find work and provide for their families and survive at the same time. In "A View from the Bridge" Alfieri is a character who has been created to explain and comment on the themes and issues that arise in the play to the audience. Alfieri plays a vital role in the play. He engages with both the characters and the audience, which makes him an engaged narrator. Arthur Miller created Alfieri's role because after he wrote "The Crucible" he felt that not one of his reviewers had captured the inner themes in the play. So he created the character of Alfieri to act as a chorus who warns the audience that tragic events are about to happen as for example when he says "...watched it run its bloody course". The use of the term "Bloody" gives us the impression that something tragic is going to happen and when he says "...meet a Lawyer or a Priest on the street is unlucky" this also gives us the impression ...read more.


This shows us that the society are loyal to one another and do not believe in betraying each other. Furthermore, he introduces the action as a retelling of the events already in the past. By giving details of place, date or time he enables the action to move swiftly from one episode to another, without the characters having to give this information. This is often skilfully mixed with brief comments such as "He was as good a man as he had to be" and "He bought home his pay and he lived" which make us believe that everything was right before the night the cousins arrived and that Eddie was a good man. He is trying to put forwards a description of Eddie without making it too obvious. In addition, as Alfieri is a Lawyer and Lawyers are trusted, we trust him to be a good judge of character and rational, because he is professionally detached. As Alfieri is a Lawyer, he represents the American legal system and is against the Sicilian code of honour (the Sicilian code of honour is a set of rules that all Italian societies abide by such as no betrayal and revenge on those who betray) though he understands why all Italians abide by it as he himself is Italian. He offers an objective view of Italian society and the events of the story by retelling the story so the audience believe and trust his opinion. ...read more.


In addition to all this, Alfieri gives Eddie advice that the audience would like to give him such as "Let her go". Here Alfieri is telling Eddie to let Catherine have her freedom because he doesn't want anything bad to happen. In conclusion, I believe Alfieri plays an important role as a dramatic device. Besides this, I believe that Alfieri has an impact on other characters decisions. He holds an objective view of the Italian and American communities and their beliefs and rules so he understands the illegal actions taken but does not feel they are right and does not agree with them. He moves from one scene to another swiftly from one episode to another, without the characters having to give this information. As he does this he fills in all the gaps such as information about the background of the characters and scenes and without him the play would fall apart as he is the one holding everything together and linking one scene to another. I believe the whole play is in Alfieri's mind, like a memory, as in his prologue at the beginning of the play he is always talking in the past tense. An example of this is when he says "This ones name was Eddie Carbone," the use of the word"was" tells us that Eddie has already died. He narrates the story which also tells us that this play is something that has already happened and is all one of Alfieri's memories. ...read more.

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