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Examine the Role of Alfieri in the Play. What is the Character's Dramatic Purpose?

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Natalie Tyrer Examine the Role of Alfieri in the Play. What is the Character's Dramatic Purpose? A View from the Bridge has its roots in the late 1940's when the author, Arthur Miller found that New York's Brooklyn harbour was a 'dangerous and mysterious world at the water's edge that drama and literature had never touched'. The play is set in a New York slum, where the Carbones' living and dining room is the focus of the action. Eddie Carbone is a fundamentaly simple man, generous in anticipation, awaiting the illegal arrival of his wife, Beatrice's cousins. He is overprotective of his orphaned niece, Catherine in her increasing maturity. He feels the urge to protect her from discovering her independence, although it is later detected that his feelings for Catherine are somewhat unusual. This makes him increasingly sensitive to the cousins, particularly Rodolfo, to whom Catherine rapidly becomes attracted. It is Catherine and Rodolfo's planned wedding that finally brings out the aggression in Eddie that makes him call the immigration bureau, after consulting Alfieri who says he should let nature run its course. ...read more.


Alfieri's dramatic role is that of one who warns the audience, presenting portents throughout his speeches. By the end of his first speech the audience knows that the events they are about to observe will reach a 'bloody' conclusion. This speech begins the whole play. He warns the audience as he emphasizes the difference between justice and law, and then says that 'Justice is very important here', which suggests that someone has taken it upon themselves to create justice. Alfieri tells the audience how 'yet every year there is still a case' which suggests a case somewhat out of the ordinary. Warnings are also given throughout his other speeches, for example 'my first thought was that he had committed a crime', which inevitably shows that something is wrong. Alfieri also serves as a commentator, telling us about the situations that occur. One of his speeches begins by reading 'on the twenty-third of that December a case of Scotch whisky slipped from a net while being unloaded'. ...read more.


He talks about the 'truth being holy', which gives the impression that there was something divine about Eddie's naivete. Alfieri persuades us to feel sympathetic towards Eddie by saying 'he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love him more than all my sensible clients. Sympathy is also gained for characters as the story is told in effect to a series of flashbacks that heighten the sense of tragedy as the play progresses, 'and so I mourn him' just encourages the idea of tragedy. I think that the fact Alfieri portrays Eddie to be a good man whom he had a liking for, gives the impression that Eddie was not to blame for the events that took place as he didn't mean for it to end in the way it did. In assessment of Alfieri the intended purpose of his character is achieved. His character doesn't go into depth about his personality, but succeeds in making the play more interesting and building suspense throughout. ...read more.

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