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A View from the Bridge

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Introduction

Explore the role of Alfieri in Miller's 'A View from the Bridge' Alfieri is an imperative part of Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge'. His dual-use as both a character and a chorus make him an unusual but effective part of the play. He holds the audience's attention, adding to their understanding of the changing dynamics throughout the play and is also used by Miller to voice his opinions - his main one being to prove that the death of a low-born character is equally as tragic as the death of a high-born. This was contrary to belief at the time. The structure of the play is very important to the content of the performance. The story is set out in two very definite acts which is important to the audience and their understanding of the play. The events of Act I are mirrored in Act II, although in a more serious manner. For instance, the recital of 'Paper Doll' by Rodolfo early in Act I has significance later on, being the record to which the 'couple' dance to (in direct defiance of Eddie.) 'A View from the Bridge' is a tragedy because Eddie, the protagonist, has both a serious accident and commits a crime of betrayal. He is respected within his community but because of his hamartia (his view on manliness and his paternalistic figure upon Catherine) ...read more.

Middle

We see this through Millers characterisation of Rudolfo and Alfieri's comment on page 49 when he states "and I see it happening more commonly" which may evoke Miller's view and beliefs on the future society. Miller uses Alfieri nine times in the performance where his main roles are to: act to as a commentary, to explain the themes, to expand on the characters, to give background information about the time and place, to make sure the audience is clear about Miller's message, to participate as a character in the action and to act as a dramatic device. His main function is to give general information to the audience and for them to reflect on their own life experiences as the performance progresses. The social context of this place is of a poor community as Alfieri describes it as "the slum that faces the bay seaward side of Brooklyn Bridge." He comments on that the area "lacks elegance and glamour." and uses phrases such as "the petty troubles of the poor." We are also told in the introduction that it consists of tenement buildings which are considered to be old and overcrowded that were rented off the council. This as a result contributes to the image of this deprived area of being a place populated by citizens who lack money. ...read more.

Conclusion

The white lights "go down, as they rise on Alfieri" whereas, on the other side of the stage "a phone booth begins to glow...a faint, lonely blue" which contrasts largely with the colour white. It glows brighter and brighter, signalling Eddie's idea, then determination and temptation, to call the immigration officials. This shows the idea of tragedy as Eddie is poised between them where symbolism is used to suggest the difference in heaven (white which is associated with angels but may suggest rightness and therefore the theme of the law) and hell. This highlights Alfieri's function that he is there not to only retell the story with an unbiased viewpoint but to show again that he cannot help in stopping the tragedy and that despise his position. It hints to the audience that he is a neutral character and a mediator, there only to help explain the themes of law and justice to Eddie. Alfieri is undoubtedly a vital device within the play. Without him, the audience would find it near impossible to comprehend the relevance and effect of the events which unfold; and would be unable to experience the catharsis that results from Eddie's tragic death. He is successfully used to show the audience that the death of a poor lower-born is no less tragic than the death of an upper-class high born. There is no question that the role of Alfieri in 'A View From The Bridge' is essential to maintaining the play's quality. ...read more.

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