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‘Alfieri talks of being ‘powerless’ and says that Eddie was like ‘a dark figure walking down the hall towards the certain door.’ He also says ‘something perversely pure calls to me from his memory.’ In what sense is this

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Introduction

'Alfieri talks of being 'powerless' and says that Eddie was like 'a dark figure walking down the hall towards the certain door.' He also says 'something perversely pure calls to me from his memory.' In what sense is this play a tragedy and what is your response to the tragic events of the play? 'Tragedy is to say a certain storie, As olde books maken us memorie, Of him that stood in great prosperitee And is yfallen out of high degree Into misery and endeth wretchedly.' Chaucer 'A View from the Bridge' by Arthur Miller is a play describing the affairs of the Brooklyn dockworkers of post war America. The play is as colourful as the lives of those it depicts: it contains aspects of love, hatred, passion, suffering, pain and despair (to name but a few) but what of tragedy? In order for a play to be a 'tragedy' it follows that it must have tragic elements to its plot... but what are these elements? Why are they considered tragic? And most importantly of all: In what from are they present in 'A View from the Bridge'? Answering this question requires that we obtain a sound definition of 'tragedy' in the classic sense, and for this task I refer throughout to Aristotle's 'Poetics'. ...read more.

Middle

Eddie had as much 'free choice' as is possible in that he was fully aware of the consequences of his actions, but one could argue that his choice was unfairly influenced by his abundant love and that in fact he had no choice at all. The answer lies in whether you believe the philosophers and physicists' opinion, that all our actions are the results of causes i.e. influences, or if you believe that the human mind is greater than the sum of its parts and that spontaneous creativity is possible. It would be naive of me to attempt to answer this question now, as there are whole schools of thought devoted to the subject, but I can hint at the probable solution. Eddie Carbone is killed by his own knife, suggesting that it was he who was to blame for his downfall, blame is futile without responsibility, and responsibility cannot exist where choice is absent. Assuming Eddie had a choice, this concurs with Aristotle's statement that 'the protagonist's demise must be his or her own fault, the result of free choice: irrespective of accidents, villainy, or some overriding malignant force'. It is necessary in tragedy for the protagonists to incriminate themselves, knowingly, in order that they are made to suffer for their crimes without leaving the audience with a sense of great injustice. ...read more.

Conclusion

is a lesson in restraint, that compromise is better than the traditional Sicilian extremes. The final response of the audience is meant to mirror that of Alfieri. When Alfieri says that 'something perversely pure calls to me from his memory' and that he 'mourns him with a certain... alarm' what is implied is that Eddie's purity lies in his truth, he exposed his feelings and was not conceited, and for this he mourns his passage. The cause for alarm is the result of this purity... it suggests that purity in the human soul leads to dilapidation, that the human soul is not inherently good, but rather, bad... and raises the tragic fear, that this could have been him, if only he were 'purer'. 'A View from the Bridge' is a tragedy in the sense that it has tragic aspects to its plot, as outlined over the past few pages. In this play Arthur Miller has taken old principles and masterfully adapted them to 21st century life, in the process creating an entertaining tale full of intrigue that fascinates the mind and stirs the soul. In writing a modern tragedy that deviates so minutely from the ancient ideology Miller forces us to realise the greatest tragedy of all, that (however much we may pretend otherwise) the human soul and it's vices are eternal, a fact that no amount of 'settling for half' can ever change. ...read more.

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