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Analyse the themes of law and codes of justice in A View from a Bridge

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Introduction

ANALYSE THE THEMES OF LAW AND CODES OF JUSTICE IN A VIEW FROM A BRIDGE Justice and the law are not the same thing and this is highlighted throughout A View from a Bridge. The problem of the conflict between law and justice is emphasised in the way that Miller shows the moral conflicts between the Sicilian community in New York and the written law of the USA. Alfieri, the narrator and character in the play, is also of the Sicilian origin and is a lawyer in Red Hook. Alfieri is the narrator and acts as the chorus as in a Greek tragedy. Within a few lines of the opening, Alfieri tells us of gangsters, Sicilian society and the unwillingness to accept the unwritten American law. "In those days, Al Capone was the greatest." Al Capone was part of the Mafia and was a famous 1930's gangster. He had typical Italian attitudes. He was part of 'the family', he lived for 'the family' and felt that 'the family' and the name of 'the family' came before everything. The written law was considered as unacceptable, by the immigrant community, and clashed with the Sicilian code. Alfieri says: "I am a lawyer. In this neighbourhood to meet a lawyer or a priest on the street is unlucky" Lawyers were considered to always have connections with disasters. ...read more.

Middle

Eddie goes to Alfieri to seek guidance about the Rodolfo situation. However, there is nothing that the law can do to help Eddie. Alfieri says "there is nothing illegal about a girl falling in love with an immigrant" Alfieri can see that there is no way of stopping Eddie on his tragic course "his eyes were like tunnels" The stage direction shows that Eddie has 'a one track' mind and all that he could see was his little girl being taken from him by who he called 'a weirdo'. Alfieri advises Eddie in accordance with the American system "There is only one legal question here ...... The manner in which they entered the country" The relationship problems between Eddie and his wife (Beatrice) are not discussed by Eddie with her. He holds back about speaking about his obsessive emotions towards Catherine which are affecting their marriage. Eddie's perspective is that the best way of solving their problems are to keep them confined and not discuss them. Beatrice expresses her worries but Eddie refuses to listen to her. Sexual relations have also broken down and not, as Eddie says because of worries about the 'submarines', but for many weeks before that. Eddie restricts the freedom of Catherine for his own selfish reasons. He is obsessed with Catherine and cannot watch her being taken from him. So much so that his wife says: "What're you gonna stand over her till she is forty?" ...read more.

Conclusion

At the end of the play, Alfieri says that Eddie should have settled for 'half'. Alfieri also points out that no judicial system is complete. Arthur Miller wrote about a subject and plot that he had experienced himself. During World War II, Miller spent nearly two years working in the Brooklyn Naval Yard. Their were a majority of Italians in the workforce. It was here that Miller familiarised himself with the Italian way of life, Sicilian dramas and the unpredictable moral codes. As a New Yorker whose father came from Europe, he was himself in the same position as Eddie and, though from Poland, Miller familiarised himself with life by the time he wrote the play. The play has a recurrence of the law and justice and the conflict between them. However, the problem is amplified because of the first generation Americans unwillingness to accept the law. The law, then can do no good and Alfieri's desperate attempts to explain the law to Eddie and Marco fail completely. Both men are frustrated with the fact that justice is not carried out, in the way they see fit. The community of Red Hook are living by their own laws and the rest of the nation are living by the orthodox laws. Eddie steps outside the laws of Red Hook and informs the Immigration Bureau of the immigrants. This is a triumph by the law of the land but he perishes under the laws of his community. Gurdeep Araich ...read more.

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