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Explore how Arthur Miller uses Alfieri for Dramatic, Structural and Functional purposes in "A View from the Bridge."

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Introduction

Explore how Arthur Miller uses Alfieri for Dramatic, Structural and Functional purposes in "A View from the Bridge." Alfieri has an interesting role in "A View from the Bridge" which was written in 1955 by Arthur Miller. He is a character who participates in the action of the play, and comments on past or subsequent events. Alfieri can be compared to a God like observer who is watching over the action taking place but cannot intervene with fate and destiny. Through his many appearances in the play, Alfieri has the further structural device of providing changes, dramatically increasing or decreasing tension or simply commenting on the action. Arthur Miller, the author of the play was greatly influenced by Greek Tragedy in terms of both the construction of the play and the choric role of Alfieri. Several hundred years ago, the Greeks produced the early stages of theatre. This theatre, at first had no actors but consisted of numerous chorus figures who told the whole story, which was often a tragedy. However, later in the 6th century B.C, Thespis introduced the actor. The chorus figure was still in plays often commenting on the action taking place, representing the voice of sanity, reason and compassion. Miller originally wanted to have one continuous Act, with increasing and decreasing tension as opposed to a final climax. Through Alfieri's eight appearances, Miller not only creates fluctuating tension but breaks the two acts into significant scenes. Alfieri begins his opening speech with introducing himself as a lawyer. ...read more.

Middle

We know that Eddie believes he has to act 'manly' and so suppresses his feelings, to the extent that he does not even tell Beatrice, his wife what he thinks. 'Even my to my wife I didn't exactly say this.' Because it is something he has kept secret, Eddie finds it hard to express his disapproval for Rodolpho in his typical colloquial, New Yorker accent. It is this that helps to intensify the tension within the scene. Alfieri highlights that the only legal thing Eddie can do to destroy Catherine and Rodolpho's relationship is to report the young lover to the immigration. However as we know previously through the story of Vinny Bolzano there are dreadful consequences that result in Alfieri's consideration. 'Oh, it was terrible. He had five bothers and the old father. And they grabbed him in the kitchen and pulled him down the stairs, and they spit on him in the street, his own father and bothers.' Furthermore even Eddie, at this stage knows that it would foolish to turn to the immigration. Later in the scene Alfieri hints at Eddie that he has too much love for Catherine and he must let her go. 'There is too much love for the niece.' However Eddie's feelings are overly strong for Catherine to overcome his fate. Eddie becomes increasingly frustrated that he has these shameful thoughts and is furious when Alfieri points this out. 'She can't marry you, can she?' 'I don't know what the hell you're talkin' about!' This highlights to both Eddie and audience his major imperfection which will lead him to catastrophic consequences. ...read more.

Conclusion

'And now we are quite civilised, quite American. Now we settle for half and I like it better.' In contrast Marco, a firm believer in the justice of the vendetta, not only abhors the law but cannot comprehend that Eddie reporting to the immigration bureau would be seen as lawful and therefore receiving no punishment. The reason of this being that, within the Sicilian community living in Redhook, Eddie would be seen to have broken the code of honour by reporting to the immigration and therefore paying with his life. 'He degraded my brother. My blood. He robbed my children, he mocks my work. There is no law for that? Where is the law for that?' Alfieri concludes his speech by again saying that only God makes justice, meaning that people only get fairly punished for their sins by God; not the law, hence settling for half. The audience can realise Alfieri did his absolute best to try and stop the inevitable. However it was that caused Eddie to die, at the hands of Marco, who, when provoked by Eddie could not settle for half and stayed entirely loyal to the code of honour. Alfieri concludes the play with a dismal speech after the tensional climax. The death of Eddie complements Alfieri's idea of justice; being lawful and settling for half. We are told that Eddie's death was useless and there was no need for it. Alfieri then celebrates Eddie's life, which he recalls with respect and passion. From the very beginning of the play we knew that Eddie was going to face tragic because of his fate and destiny and in a similar way to a Greek Tragedy the play ran its 'bloody course.' - 1 - ...read more.

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