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A View from the Bridge' is a well structured play with a simple shape.

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Introduction

'A View from the Bridge' is a well structured play with a simple shape. It consists of two Acts but within these there are a number of easily defined divisions which are controlled by the lawyer, Alfieri. He is essential to the structure of the play. He opens and closes the play which allows Alfieri in his role as chorus, commentator and at other times we see him as Arthur Millers mouthpiece moving the action quickly onwards explaining and interpreting the action for the audience. 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.) The end of Act I prepares the audience for the important events that will take place later on. The closing scene in Act I is set in the living room, to add to the feeling that this is a domestic situation. It also adds plausibility to the scene: the setting making it seem more believable and realistic. This scene is paralleled in Act II as Marco is over him but this time mentally not physically (holding the chair over Eddie) which creates tension and pathos, evoking strong feelings of pity and sorrow within the audience. All the action revolves around Eddie Carbone who controls the drama. When he is calm and friendly, the atmosphere is likewise. When he is tense and hostile the atmosphere is uncomfortable. We can signify this in Act I, part three where his mood darkens: "But I know what they're laughin' at, and when I think of that guy layin' his hands on her I could - I mean its eating me out." ...read more.

Middle

We are told that he is "turning grey, smartly dressed" and so therefore (if the production shows him in a suit) we are lead to belief him due to the contrast in clothes of the other characters. We see that his appearance commands respect and that his age ("a layer in his fifties") gives us more evidence of his reliability and honesty. This is because it is known to 'trust the elderly' as they have more experience - as Alfieri does, and to 'respect your elders' and as he is in this position the audience feel right when listening to him. 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. As his opening speech beings Alfieri directly relates the audience to the drama by telling them "something amusing has happened", this allows the audience to listen to Alfieri more as they now know that it is his past that he is describing to them. Occasionally there is a huge sweep to the language used by Alfieri particularly at the beginning of Act I when he says: "...every few years there is still a case, and as the parties tell me what the trouble is, the flat air in my office suddenly washes in with green scent of the sea" (Act I, page 12) and he goes to link this case with another in Italy and Greece two thousand years before and therefore Miller is using reference as in the same way as he adapted their methods: "Every word was done in the same way the Greeks did." ...read more.

Conclusion

This links to contemporary society because it contributes to war and confrontation. The Vietnam War was the consequence of lack of communication and so the more powerful, dominant country - America lost the war which can connect with 'A view from the Bridge' through manliness: that Rodolfo turned out, in a way, to be more masculine than Eddie as they did not communicate. To outline, Miller's intention when writing the play was to show that it has happened throughout history and that it will continue to do so. This is probably the reason why critics in the 1940's and 50's called him a "forward dramatist." I agree with Arthur Miller's message and believe that the law cannot satisfy everybody needs which causes people to use natural justice instead that of the statute book. I also agree with his message of fate because someone or something must control and 'map-out' our existence. Our lives experience many coincidences through a series of events which we are powerless to stop. I feel that If one believes in their culture so much the result or consequence is destined to happen. To conclude Miller uses Alfieri, to explain the themes of justice, the law, loyalty and tragedy; to ensure the audiences understanding and their enjoyment of the play, and to act as a dramatic device which are seen as his role within the 'A View from the Bridge.' Arthur Miller has not drawn Alfieri as a 'full' character even though there are times when we sympathize for his predicament of being powerless to stop the events in the tragedy. Alfieri's role is to oversee the action and remains objective throughout. The audience can see, at the end of the play, that Alfieri does have sympathy for Eddie and even soon admiration for him because "he has allowed himself to be wholly known." And there finally, we have Alfieri's most important role. He offers the audience universal concepts to think about as they leave the theatre. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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