Arthur Miller created the character of Alfieri purposefully, as well as other things to keep it moving smoothly and this is where Alfieri as the Greek chorus comes into play. By using a Greek Chorus Miller can inform the audience of the plot that is not displayed by the characters, add an extra dimension to the play by hinting of things to come he also moves time to the action scenes to make the play seem more exciting and quicker moving. The author pursues a feeling of fate as all these actions are in the past and we have to sit with Alfieri and watch his them; the audience knows from the start that Marco will kill Eddie yet the audience still receives a action packed, nail biting performance as Alfieri jumps from one even to another.
The lawyer is an essential part of the play and informs us of the history of the place in which this play is set, which is rather relevant to the story. It could be said that Alfieri could serve as the bridge between the past and the present because of this. Alfieri is the key figure in this play. He usually talks towards the audience to ensure they follow the play closely. The difference between Alfieri and the other characters is that Alfieri is middle-class whereas the other characters are largely working-class.
As I have mentioned before, he plays a commentator, getting the audience ready for the intensity of the plays meaning, hinting at what’s going to happen, introduces characters as well as himself and gives a lot of history and background. He poses questions to the audience in his own way and explains and provides evidence on a number of things. He also comments on different things and gives a lot of information in this play and gives his opinion on them. He provides commentary on the action and articulates the greater moral and social implications of the drama. Alfieri attempts to portray the characters neutrally, but, especially in the case of Eddie Carbone, narrates the play as if it were a great legend. Alfieri adds dignity to the story and transforms the story of a Longshoreman into a larger than life tragic tale.
He introduces the action as a retelling of events already in the past. By giving details of place, date or time, he enables the action to move swiftly from one episode to another, without the characters having to give this information. This is often mixed with brief comment: "He was as good a man as he had to be...he brought home his pay, and he lived. And toward ten o'clock of that night, after they had eaten, the cousins came". much of this is fact with a slight opinion at the start.
We also trust a lawyer to be a good judge of character and rational, because he is professionally detached. Alfieri is not quite detached, however. His connection with Eddie is small: "I had represented his father in an accident case some years before, and I was acquainted with the family in a casual way". But in the next interlude, Alfieri tells us how he is so disturbed, that he consults a wise old woman, who tells him to pray for Eddie. You should consider what Alfieri says in each of the intervals, and you must be able to find them quickly. In the brief scenes in which Alfieri speaks to Eddie, we gain an insight into his idea of settling for half. He repeatedly tells Eddie that he should not interfere, but let Catherine go, "and bless her", that the only legal question is how the brothers entered the country "But I don't think you want to do anything about that". As Eddie considers the betrayal, Alfieri reads his mind and repeatedly warns him: "You won't have a friend in the world...Put it out of your mind".
Alfieri as never left the stage this gives a sense of this play being an insight of his thoughts. Stage directions refer not to exits and entrances but to the light going down or coming up on Alfieri at his desk, as we switch from the extended parts of action (flashbacks to Alfieri) to the interludes which allow him to comment, to move forward in time, and give brief hints of circumstantial detail, such as the source of the whisky Eddie brings home at the start of Act Two. Alfieri's view is also the "view from the bridge" of the title. To those around Eddie, those "on the water front", the events illustrated are immediate, passionate and confused. But the audience has an clear view. In the extended episodes of action we may forget, as Marco lifts the chair, or as Eddie kisses Rodolpho, that Alfieri is narrating. What we see is theatrical and exciting; we are involved as spectators. But at the end of the episode, as the light goes up on Alfieri, we are challenged to make a judgement. If Eddie, as we see him, appeals to our hearts, Alfieri makes sure we also judge with our heads.
Further into the play, Alfieri helps the audience again to understand the meaning of events. Alfieri’s discussion with Eddie demonstrates to the audience that Eddie’s passion for Catherine is so strong that his body appears “moved” by it. Alfieri also hints at where Eddie’s thoughts may lead him, regarding giving Beatrice’s cousins into the authorities in a bid to break up the romance between his niece and Rodolfo. He says to Eddie that the law has no concern with their relationship; its only involvement would be the “manner” in which the immigrants “entered the country”. Alfieri subtly tries to warn Eddie that he does not “think” it would be a wise idea to do “anything” about it though. It is also within this monologue that Alfieri hints at the inevitability of the tragedy to come, that there is no “mystery” about it, it is bound to happen and he is helpless to “stop it”.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that Alfieri holds a vital role within the play. He is the key to maintaining the audience understands of the drama and ensuring that we are aware of the changing dynamics and situations which evolve throughout the performance. He helps to develop our awareness of what the effects of these events are. It is clear also that Miller has used Alfieri quite intentionally as a way through which to express some of his views, his main ambition being to prove to people that the death of a low class-born character is equally as tragic as the death of a high class-born one. He clearly accomplishes this in ‘A View from the Bridge’. Alfieri is not only used to enhance the audience’s understanding of the play but also to create a structure; distinguishing between the two acts. Alfieri is the view from the bridge; he sits and watches the events unfold, watching helplessly as Eddie walks closer and closer to the other side, knowing what the tragic outcome will be, yet remaining powerless to prevent it; like a river reaching its destination.