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Discuss the role of Alfieri in the play, "A View from the Bridge".

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Introduction

Discuss the role of Alfieri in the play, "A View from the Bridge" Arthur Miller wrote the play "A View from the Bridge" from his experiences as a longshoreman. It was originally written in 1955 as a one-act play, and then in 1956 it was republished as a two-act play. The title, "A View from the Bridge" refers to Alfieri's view over the events taking place in the play. For this reason he always stays on stage throughout the play, to make it appear that he is watching over the events. Miller uses the fading of lights to make it appear that Alfieri leaves, but in fact he never moves. "Light is out on Alfieri" in the interlude between Alfieri advising Eddie on his legal situation with Rudolfo, and Eddie phoning the immigration bureau. Miller's intention when writing the play was to create a modern equivalent of a Greek tragedy; the first tragedies being written by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. A tragedy was a play, which incorporated a tragic protagonist and a group of people who acted as the chorus. They addressed the audience in order to inform them of any events, which are not shown on the stage, and they were often used to portray an opinion to the audience and influence their judgement of a character. ...read more.

Middle

There are many ways he could have prevented the tragedy, for example reporting Marco and Rudolfo to immigration so that they were removed from the country, or he could have not granted Marco bail, which would have prevented Eddie's death. However this would not then fit the Greek idea of fate, and Eddie's destiny would have been altered, which is not correct according to early Greek tragedies. His position as a lawyer also means that the audience trusts him, which aids in his purpose of influencing their opinions. "If Eddie, as we see him, appeals to our hearts, Alfieri makes sure we also judge with our heads" (quotation from http://www.eriding.net). He provides the facts for the audience to make their own judgement and the audience trust Alfieri because he is impartial to the events that take place in the play. Also, his position as a lawyer means he is well educated and well spoken, which conflicts with Eddie who speaks very colloquially, "I'm tellin' you you're walkin' wavy". This comparison makes the audience feel that Alfieri is sensible and that he is correct in his beliefs. He is also Italian which is very important to the events within "A View from the Bridge". ...read more.

Conclusion

This first role enables him to communicate with the audience, inform them of any action which takes place beyond the boundaries of the stage and to influence their interpretation of the character's actions and to aid them in forming judgements about the characters and the events to come. The second role allows Miller to show the contrasts between the spontaneous actions of Marco and Eddie and the politically correct way in which Alfieri acts. It also allows Miller to create a bond of trust between the audience and Alfieri, which is vital if he is to fulfil his purpose as the chorus. Without this trust the audience would not believe Alfieri and would not feel that his opinions were impartial and correct, which would then lead to the failure of the chorus, and the failure of Miller's aim to create a modern equivalent of a Greek tragedy. Another important thing to aid with this is the fact that the audience can perceive Alfieri, not just as an actor on the stage, but as a human with feelings and opinions which he holds throughout the play. These are made more realistic by the fact that sometimes he does not entirely understand why he feels this way, but he knows they are genuine, "I admit it - with a certain ... alarm." Kelly Ide 11G ...read more.

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