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Discuss the role of Alfieri in Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge'.

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Discuss the role of Alfieri in Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge'. In Arthur Miller's 'A View From The Bridge', the character Alfieri has two roles. The first being the narrator of the play and the second being is that he is the symbolic bridge between American law and tribal laws. He is an observer and commentator. The play is told from the viewpoint of Alfieri. He is the second most important character in the play behind Eddie Carbone. Alfieri represents the law as he is a lawyer is Red Hook, an area in New York. He respects American laws but does not forget about his Italian background and their traditions. Alfieri informs the audience and provides commentary on what is happening in the story. This is the equivalent of a chorus in an Ancient Greek theatre. This was when a group of people would explain and narrate the play and give their opinions on it also informing the audience of what is happening. By telling the audience details of place, date or time, he enables the action to move swiftly from one scene to another. This is achieved without the characters having to give this information. In between scenes, typical plays have stage directions such as 'enter...' or 'exit...', but in 'A View From The Bridge' Arthur Miller uses directions such as 'the lights go down on...', 'the lights rise...' ...read more.


It also tells us of his isolation from everyone else. Alfieri almost seems to fear Eddie as a paranormal beast, a remnant of the great Greek or Roman tragedy. Alfieri truly believes that Eddie was possessed with, "passion that has moved into his body, like a stranger," and was unable to control him. The passion that Alfieri describes is the passion for his Catherine. The passion, unreleased and suppressed in his unconscious was a stranger to Eddie's conscious self that aggressively and 'furiously' denied any thoughts of incest or otherwise. This quote also reveals the style of Alfieri. Alfieri tells the tale of Eddie Carbone as if he is a legend and a hero. Eddie is described with dramatic and literary descriptions that are unusual in the dramatic form. Although Alfieri knows what will happen to Eddie, his function in the play makes him 'so powerless to stop it'. His function doesn't allow him to do more than observe. When Eddie and Alfieri have private discussions, the dialogue opens up Eddie's feelings to the audience. This allows him to be himself and not bottle up all of his emotions, 'he brings out his thoughts'. In these discussions, it is here where Eddie decides what to do about Beatrice's cousins and also where Alfieri tells him to 'put it out of his mind'. In his prologue, he introduces the audience to the hero Eddie Carbone and indirectly briefs them of the themes in the play. ...read more.


He makes it clear to the audience the differences between the different societies, which are only separated by a bridge. When Alfieri says his epilogue, he says 'now we settle for half' this means that when the law is used, sometimes personal justice needs to be achieved. This is because the legal system does not provide complete justice. This quote deals with the central conflict of A View from the Bridge: the self will verses the will of the community. The whole man that Alfieri describes in Eddie is the self-interested man. Eddie's actions within the play are completely motivated by his own desires at the expense of others. Therefore, humans must act halfway to preserve the rules of the community and lives of others. The idea that Alfieri suggests, that Eddie acted as a whole person, unrestrained and uninhibited is true. However, Eddie's wholeness was at the expense of his own family and eventually himself. He only escaped restraint because he escaped consideration of other people or the community at large. Eddie's wholeness is a whole interest in his own life. His tragic flaw is this self-interest-a flaw that seems both admirable and alarming to Alfieri. In conclusion Alfieri's main role is to narrate the play and inform the audience of what is happening. But his job as a lawyer makes him involved a lot more. This role is a key role, as he has conversation with Eddie and then has to be impartial when narrating and informing the audience. Nilesh Thanki 10A4 Coursework July 2003 GCSE ENGLISH LITERATURE ...read more.

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