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Analyse the function of Alfieri in "A View from the Bridge" and estimate his contribution to our understanding of the drama in its social context.

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Introduction

Analyse the function of Alfieri in "A View from the Bridge" and estimate his contribution to our understanding of the drama in its social context. The play is set in New York, about a man named Eddie Carbone who lives with his wife Beatrice and his niece Catherine. When Beatrice's two cousins come from Italy to stay with them trouble begins to start within the family. Eddie becomes unhappy when he sees Rodolpho, Beatrice's cousin, becoming close to his niece, infuriating Eddie and he eventually reports the two immigrants to the Immigration Bureau. The play concludes when Marco, Rodolpho's brother, stabs Eddie to death. This affects everyone in the play as Marco will have to be electrocuted and so his family will starve to death, Roldopho will have to go back to Italy and he won't be able to marry Catherine, Catherine will lose the man she loves and Beatrice will be grieving because Eddie is dead. Alfieri is a middle-aged lawyer who also lives in Brooklyn. He came to the city from Italy just like the other characters. He is different to the rest of the characters by having a higher level of education and higher status in the community. Alfieri's speeches appear at the beginning and ends of sections in the play. His purpose is to narrate the story much like a choric figure in the Ancient Greek Tradition and he relates to a Greek chorus in Greek tragedy. ...read more.

Middle

This is because a large percentage of the population are immigrants from Italy and some of them illegal. "They been pullin' this since the immigration law was put in". This means that the community in Brooklyn is like a large family. Therefore there is a very strong community law where the immigrants live which defines the people's respect for one another. To the people of Brooklyn, their community law is justice. These community laws go back to the ancient traditions of from when they lived in Italy. They were that if someone wronged you, then you had to go deal with that person and if you didn't take care of it, then your family would and this argument between the families would go on for generations and generations, but if you just let it go and you forgave that person then you would not be considered honourable and you would have lost your honour as a man. The most important of these 'laws' is that nobody should reveal the information of illegal immigrants entering the area, as the immigrants are most likely somebody's relatives. It also means that the people who have been hiding the immigrants are in danger from immigration officers. A good example of what happened to somebody who reported illegal immigrants is when Vinny Bolzano reports his uncle to the officers "pulled him down the stairs- three flights...they spit on him on the street" Spitting on a relative in the ...read more.

Conclusion

Alfieri is both a character and a narrator he would act as a character and step out of this role to recap, comment and give personal opinions of the last scene and gives an indication or warning of the upcoming scene. He raises the themes of justice and law and their interpretations in this play. Alfieri's dramatic purpose is to add tension and suspense to the story as well as helping the audience to understand the story better. He adds exciting narrative and is also an important character used to show the true feelings of Eddie by being the only person Eddie talks to. He is a tool used by Miller to explain the play better and expose the thoughts of other characters as well as his own. In conclusion I feel that justice and the law do not follow each other. Millar obviously believes this as well, as he shows so much evidence to make the audience think about the differences between the two. He shows that different people see justice in different ways. For example Marco sees justice as working in the country to feed his family "He killed my children", but Eddie sees justice as reporting him so that he can keep Catherine to himself, and Rodolfo will not take her away from him. Therefore we can see that there are many tensions between law and justice, because the community law is so strong, and the respect for other people in their community is so strong. By Nayan Patel ...read more.

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