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The roles Of Alfieri in the play 'A View From The Bridge' by Arthur Miller.

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Introduction

The Roles Of Alfieri In the play 'A View From The Bridge' by Arthur Miller, Alfieri is a lawyer in his fifties living in Red Hook, New York. Although originating in Italy, he is now an American citizen running a small law practice in his neighbourhood. He first migrated to America at the age of twenty-five and has since been married to his wife who he now lives with. After many years of experience in living within an Americanised community, he has become accustomed to life there: "now we are quite civilized, quite American", and is familiar with the ways of law and justice. Personality-wise he is good humoured, thoughtful, wise, rational and sensible, not to mention a good judge of character. In his neighbourhood he is well respected and looked up to, if not even slightly feared, however through his law practice he has already dealt with the Carbone family when he represented Eddie Carbone's father in a case several years back and so was already somewhat acquainted to Eddie, recognizing him when he first came to seek his advice. Alfieri plays several roles in the play, the distinct two being as a narrator and also as an actual character interacting with the other characters. ...read more.

Middle

The theme of powerlessness on Alfieri's part can also be linked to the title of the play, where he as the lawyer could be seen as a detached onlooker of the play's events, standing at a distance on a metaphorical 'bridge'. Seeing as he is detached, he is unable to arbitrate the action and isn't very involved. There are other possible interpretations of the title's significance such as that the bridge is the 'bridge' between the audience and the characters in the play and Alfieri, being on that bridge and having a view of all the events from there, is able to mediate between both groups. Again taking into account that he is detached from both fractions, he is able to offer an unbiased, clear overview of the play's events and characters, as his vision isn't affected and obscured by opinions. Another example is that the title could be seen as a bridge between two very different ways of life - the American culture and Italian culture, and more specifically the ways of law and justice in both cases. American law states that justice must be taken to the authorities and is mainly in the interest of protecting the government, whereas Sicilian justice is dealt with through the people as a community and is in the interest of protecting the family. ...read more.

Conclusion

In doing this Miller is able to voice his own opinions and ideas he feels strongly about to the audience. In conclusion Alfieri plays a variety of roles in the play, some more prominent than others but it must be asked: is he really necessary? Regarding the actual events of the play, the idea and theme of inevitability and powerlessness makes it clear that as an actual character, Alfieri doesn't really make much of a difference to the play's outcome seeing as nothing could have stopped the imminent disaster. However in regards to his interaction with the audience, I feel that Alfieri is somewhat important in putting forward useful information and ideas. By giving background information and general pieces of information, he introduces and sets the mood for scenes, he brings about feelings and evokes emotion and he allows for the smooth, continuous flow of the play, which ultimately increases the viewing pleasure for the audience. Finally, he is also important in making the audience feel more involved in the play's action and is important to the author, who voices his ideas and feelings through him. All this combined leads to my belief that although Alfieri is not absolutely vital to the play, he is nevertheless important and definitely helps in increasing the enjoyment of watching for the audience, which is after all, the whole purpose of a play. Keith Chan ...read more.

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