Alfieri is a character in the play who is an intelligent, educated lawyer. His view is neutral and fair. The title ‘A View from the Bridge’ signifies that his view is important in the play. Alfieri is a ‘bridge’ between American and Italian cultures or between Eddie and Rodolpho. Through the uses of controlled and formal language, Miller emphasizes that he is the only educated person in a poor ‘slum’ place and the audience believes in what he thinks and says. “Morally and legally you have no rights, you cannot stop it; she is a free agent!” His language is contrasted with that of Eddie, or other characters; “what he does don’t mean nothin’ to nobody!” which reflects he is uneducated and aggressive. Because of Alfieri’s existence in the play as a character, other characters seem to be more bare and uneducated. The languages used by other characters foreshadows that the play is going to have some violence and the tragedy will be unavoidable and could not be controlled as their languages are not controlled. The role of lawyer becomes significant as Eddie goes to him for advice for preventing Catherine from marrying to Rodolpho. At this moment, the audience can clearly see that Eddie does not recognize his own problem- his inappropriate love for Catherine. “(Sardonically) What do you mean, I shouldn’t look out for her good?”. This quote suggests that he does not accept the reality that he tries to gain ‘his good’ and creates a false reason to maintain his reputation highlighting the theme of honour.
Alfieri acts as a chorus in a Greek tragedy. Although he tries to persuade Eddie to ‘let her go’, he knows he is powerless to alter the situation. In prologue, he says ‘and I sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course’ showing his powerlessness as no matter what he says, they will still go with what they believe, in getting justice. As Eddie gets more aggressive to Rodolpho and more obsessed to Catherine, Alfieri realizes Eddie is ‘going to his end’ and tries to make him see his crux in problem by saying more explicit languages. At their first conversation, he says “There is too much, and it goes where it mustn’t”; but later in the play “I’m warning you-”, “she can't marry you, can she?” However, he cannot prevent conflict because “Only God makes justice” although he feels pity for Eddie. Through his view, the audience feels sympathy for Eddie and also for Alfieri. Since his view on events is common with the audience’s view, as Alfieri gets more engaged to the play the audiences are also more engaged to the play creating further dramatic interests.
Alfieri reinforces the theme of ‘Law vs Justice’. Since he is a lawyer, he represents ‘the law’ and he views justice as keeping obeying to the law. When Eddie has first meeting with him, he said ‘you have no resource in the law’ displaying his different view on justice. Also, Marco has different view on justice that betrayal is not right even if it is for helping the Bereau of Immigration. “All the law is not in a book.” foreshadows that Marco will carry out what he believes in justice by killing Eddie. Eddie and Marco represent justice because they take the law into their own hands. Alfieri sees that when people go against the law to do justice, it can lead to conflict and even death. The line ‘it is better to settle for half’ suggests that he believes that it is better to rely on the law and accept it even when we are half satisfied. Alfieri makes the audience think of what they think as justice and make a judgment at the end of the play.
The role of Alfieri is significant in ‘A View from the Bridge’. He represents the law, making the audience think of what is justice. By using a character of Alfieri, Miller makes the play tight and keeps the audience in suspense until the end.