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Discuss the Dramatic Function of Alfieri in 'A View from the Bridge'

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Discuss the Dramatic Function of Alfieri in 'A View from the Bridge' Arthur Miller's 'A View from the Bridge' set in 1950s America, was intended to resemble many Italian-American harbours at that time. There are very controversial aspects within the play, for instance, Eddie Carbone's desperate fight for justice, which creates a great impact on the audience. Miller has based his play on a Greek tragedy through the use of Alfieri as the chorus. Alfieri, who has many functions in this catastrophic play, is also cast as the narrator and reveals the story to the audience in a series of accounts. However, Miller has twisted the role of Alfieri's chorus, so that he is also a lawyer in the play, the most knowledgeable character. What is happening in the play, can only speculated by Alfieri. He is the lawyer, and therefore must be emotionally detached from his clients. However, he tries constantly to 'warn' Eddie that he 'has no rights' and that Catherine is a 'free agent'. Nonetheless Eddie is too engrossed in his obsession with Catherine, but he is unable to admit this. Instead, he focuses his anger and frustration upon Rodolpho. It is explained, that even if it were a 'different lawyer' hearing the 'same complaint', they would be just as helpless, and still only be able to watch his clients' future take place. ...read more.


On the other hand, when Alfieri is being the narrator, his descriptions of the characters, and setting of the scene, at the beginning of each scene helps to distinguish the scenes between the two acts. The speeches, which Alfieri makes, are not only used to separate each act, but also cunningly cryptic and conceals the intentions to builds up tension towards the finale. Alfieri informs the audience that Eddie's 'eyes were like tunnels'. This repeated simile, used by Miller, is very effective. It indicates that Eddie is already lost inside his own mind, with no way out of the sinister and delirious passage. The 'passion that had moved into his body, like a stranger' conveys Eddie almost as a paranormal beast, a residue of a Greek tragedy. Alfieri indicates Eddie's end with his 'every step, step after step, like a dark figure' walking down a set path. This fear spoken about Eddie's end is concurrent to the audience, thus, able to build tension. A major theme in the play is law and justice, starting with Alfieri who is a lawyer. He establishes from the start that this is an important issue concerning the whole play. Even though 'the law has not been a friendly idea', a 'lawyer means the law'. ...read more.


Lastly, he is the bridge between the audience and the play. Acting as the narrator, aids the audience with information on what is happening in the play. He is always on stage, therefore, he is able to maintain a close relationship with the audience. Miller uses this advantage so that the audience will believe all of Alfieri's judgements. This final interpretation of the title is Miller's connection to a Greek drama. Alfieri associates the audience with the play as if they are directly attached to the play. On the whole, Alfieri has a huge number of different dramatic functions; telling the story through a Greek-like chorus, symbolising the bridge in many various aspects, being a lawyer and participating in the play. He is an omniscient character because he knows everything; he is always on stage and also speaks directly to the audience. Alfieri tells the story because he considers it to be an interesting case; 'the dust in this air is blown away'. This shows he does not get emotionally attached to his work, but he finds them entertaining to speculate. The last function of Alfieri in 'A View from the Bridge' ties up the play, and ironically brings the audience back to the title. Alfieri is the bridge; it is his flashbacks and opinions, which the audience receives. He commenced, concluded, and had the last word in the play. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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