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To what extent does Miller want us to agree with Alfieri's reactions at the end of the play?

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Introduction

To what extent does Miller want us to agree with Alfieri's reactions at the end of the play? Kay Bennett 11JE Mr Rose In A View From The Bridge, Arthur Miller aimed to write a modern tragedy involving 'the common man'. He wrote in 1949 for the New York Times that 'the common man is an apt a subject from tragedy in it's highest sense as kings were'. He thought that tragedy 'is the consequence of a man's total compulsion to evaluate himself justly' and that most of us are willing to remain passive when our dignity and our image of our rightful status is questioned. But some among us 'act against the scheme of things that degrades them' and question what 'has previously been unquestioned'. Miller thought that the common man was capable of such a process of questioning and chose to demonstrate this by creating a character with the spirit to do so - Eddie Carbone. Miller's definition of tragedy shows us that he wished to enlighten and spark discussion about the human condition with the play. Miller choose to close the play with a speech by Alfieri. Alfieri takes the role of commentator in the play. He is wise but unable to change the course of events, similar to the chorus in a Greek tragedy. ...read more.

Middle

Eddies tragic flaw is that he is unable to 'settle for half'. He loves Catherine who he cannot have and is not prepared to be a 'sensible client' and listen to reason. Alfieris final speech starts with 'Most of the time we settle for half and I like it better'. In Alfieri's (and probably most of the audiences) opinion, it is best to follow and rely on the law as much as possible even when you are only half satisfied. The law will not always correlate with your idea of justice, but it is still better to follow the law than to take into into your own hands. Alfieri holds the law above justice (which is subjective) and maintains that not obeying the law can lead to conflict, but he also tries to stop Eddie reporting Marco and Rodolpho to the Immigration Bureau "When the law is wrong it is because it is unnatural, but in this case it is natural and a river will drown you if you buck it now." But Alfieri respects Eddie for being willing to lay down his life for what he sees as justice, even if he does not have the backing of law, when he says ' the truth is holy'. ...read more.

Conclusion

This can also be interpreted as Alfieri's horror that Eddie destroyed himself and he was unable to stop it. Eddie is holding the knife as it stabs him, so he literally dies by his own hand so his death could also be seen as his nadir. This links with the part in his introduction at the start about lawyers before him sitting in their offices hearing similar cases, sitting there 'as a powerless as I, and watched it run it's bloody course'. reinforcing the sense of inevitably about Eddie's downfall. Miller wants the ending of the play to inspire discussion and excuse us to question things we have previously accepted. He says in his definition of tragedy that it brings us knowledge or enlightenment as opposed to pathos which just brings us 'sadness, sympathy, on even fear', which just brings us 'sadness, sympathy or even fear'. Without this final speech the play would just and with those things. Arguably, Alfieri's speech is designed to bring us knowledge and enlightenment. On the other hands, Alfieri sounds confused. Miller certainly wants us to discuss the issues raised in his speech but Alfieri is not very persuasive in telling as why feels that something perversely pure calls out to [him] from [Eddies] memory. He sounds as if he has out much of an idea why he feels this way despite evidence to the contrary. ...read more.

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