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A view from the bridge- english coursework

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Introduction

Post 1914 drama English coursework Ria Poliquin Alfieri, an Italian-American is a very important character within Arthur Miller's 'A View from the Bridge' and has many significant symbolic roles in the play. The most significant role probably being a breakdown of reality in the sense that he purposely breaks down the "fourth wall" between the characters and the audience and is more of a narrator that helps the audience to understand the story. Inevitably the audience, like me believe and trust Alfieri as he is a lawyer, a member of society in which we trust and a kind friend to the other characters. Alfieri is also a symbolic bridge between old Europe and new America. So what importance does Mr Alfieri have both as a dramatic device and a character in his own right? Miller was inspired to write AVFTB in the 1950's after working on the dockyards of Brooklyn and witnessing many illegal immigrants coming to the country and working along side him, and was able to study there backgrounds. Miller's intention in writing the play was to highlight the 'lawlessness' of the Red hook neighbourhood in Brooklyn, America and a community in which the people where willing to accept unlawful illegal immigrants and protect them! They worked longer hours on lower wages then the rest of the Americans, therefore believing they did not belong with them and that they could live by there own laws and customs which made Brooklyn a very 'lawlessness' community. ...read more.

Middle

therefore enabling the audience to feel even more involved in the action thus increasing the dramatic effect. Alfieri's first interlude which I have briefly discussed is a very important one as it sets the scene for the rest of the play. Alfieri's first appearance is the first of the whole play in which he introduces himself as a lawyer and proceeds to provide the audience with essential background information. Within this background information he begins to introduce some of the key themes of the play including the different types of law and how the Italians take law into there own hands. More importantly, how "Now they settle for half." Meaning how they are now half supposedly satisfied with a more mundane life. It will be Eddie's refusal to accept this that will lead to his tragic downfall. Alfieri has an extensive knowledge of the issues within this play, law being the major theme, but is completely powerless in stopping the inevitable events to come despite being a character and claiming he could "see every step coming, step after step." He can only 'sound the alarm' of events to come, which is Millers way of creating dramatic tension and worry within the audience. For the remainder of this essay I shall explain the importance of Alfieri not as a dramatic device but as a character in his own right. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, Marco believes written law is unfair and that there is no law to punish the actions of Eddie, so decides to take law into his on hands which eventually and inevitably results in a tragic death and the belief within the audience that Alfieri's beliefs on law and justice were right especially when he cleverly reiterates his belief at the end of the play. "Most of the time now we settle for half and I like it better." Alfieri's many roles within the play are adapted well to suit each of these roles: as friend, narrator and lawyer. The way in which Alfieri adapts his language is very clear when he adapts his language to communicate with Eddie by using less sophisticated language and more 'Brooklyn slang' for example "Free agent " which Alfieri uses to describe Catherine to Eddie when in his office. In this essay I have discussed the many ways in which Mr Alfieri is used both as a dramatic device and a character in his own right by Miller. For example Alfieri's Greek chorus like interludes, Alfieri's knowledge of the issues within the play and his powerlessness to stop the tragedy from unfolding and the audiences sympathetic response to Alfieri's character. I believe the key moral within this wonderful thought provoking play was the major political issues taking place in Millers time and the character of Alfieri is what I believe the author himself within his own play. Both the tellers of an incredible story that neither can change! ...read more.

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