A view from the Bridge

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The Role of Alfieri in A View From the Bridge:

This essay that I have written about is from the book "A View from the

Bridge". And I am going to discuss how Arthur Miller (the Author of
this play) has achieved such dramatic impact by using Alfieri.
The main characters in the play are: Catherine, Beatrice, Eddie,
Rodolfo, Marco and Alfieri. Eddie and Beatrice are married and
Catherine is their niece. Rodolfo and Marco have illegally immigrated
to America from Italy. Catherine and Rodolfo want to get married and
Alfieri is a lawyer.

Catherine wants to live in Italy with Rodolfo because she is afraid of

Eddie here. And Rodolfo is saying no, how can he take Catherine from a
rich to a poor country and live with no money. In the second scene:
Eddie tells Rodolfo to get out of his house but alone and not taking
Catherine with him. Catherine was arguing back saying she will go with
Rodolfo and marry him as well. Alfieri knows what the future holds
because he has seen this type of situation before. He knows what
nature holds and they have to let it run its course, just wait till
the end and see what happens.

Arthur Miller was born on October 1915 in New York City. His family

was quite well off because of his fathers business. Arthur miller also
wrote "the crucible", "the man who had all the luck" and lots more.

Eddie was like a father to Catherine in this play. He feels the most

injustice out of all the characters. He fathered Catherine and "gave
food out of his mouth". He paid her money so that she felt that she
was in a higher class and making hints that he was attracted to her.
He shows jealousy and injustice towards Rodolpho when he comes from

In this play Alfieri's role is very important. He tells us more about

the characters like a narrator; he sets the scene and the environment.
He is an engaged narrator, helping the audience in every way to
understand the story. Arthur miller has used the characteristics in
Alfieri to divide the play in different ways. The character helps us
to understand the background information, which we might have missed.
Alfieri's role is to unfold the play to the audience. He makes the
audience get involved and plays with their emotions and helps them
understand the story. The audience, including me, believe Alfieri
because he is a lawyer and knows the most. He creates tension and
emotion for the audience and the characters.

I think he has so much pressure from being told the background

information about the characters. I think he is drowned in stress and
needs to talk to someone. I think that's why he talks to the audience.
Alfieri also gives the feeling that he is retelling the story, because
he mostly speaks in the past tense. The community in this play respect
Alfieri because he is a lawyer and helps the rest of the characters

Alfieri's role is like a chorus, always reminding its tragedy. He

creates suspense in the audience and gets them hooked to the play. The
author must have thought very hard about this. The author makes the
play feel like it's a cliffhanger and makes them addicted to the play
and makes them want to watch more.

When Rodolpho wins Catherine, Eddie feels left out and jealous. He

feels betrayed by Catherine and that she has ran off and lives her own
life. This could also be the reason for his fear of Catherine growing
up, and that she is not a little baby anymore. Eddie thinks Rodolpho
is gay because he has blond hair and does cooking and sewing. Eddie
feels justice must be served.

Eddie goes to Alfieri (the lawyer) and tells him about Rodolpho.

Alfieri is an educated lawyer, this contrast with the characters like
Eddie. Alfieri's language is very high standards. His role is to be an
expert adviser and represents the American law. He is Eddie's advisor.
Sometimes he uses imagery to describe something. He uses similes and
metaphors. He is giving the audience a clearer view and to convey to
the audience that this story will end tragically. He keeps the
audience thinking and helps them concentrate towards the play. He also
uses imagery to tell the audience about his characters. For example:
"He walked in the room, and his eyes were like tunnels". This is a
simile, this could mean Eddie was thinking deeply and like he
committed a crime or he had some passion or he was stressed, obsessed
or he had a deep desire or he was not aware of what's going on.

In most of Alfieri's scenes he develops tension, action, he also helps

us like a guide. He moves the scene on to the next one. In the first
scene in Alfieri's office is where the main message of the play comes
to light. That is love, morality, law come to life. The way the Arther
Miller done this is very clever. At the start of each scene Alfieri
introduces who is in the scene and the setting, plus he creates the
time and atmosphere.

Alfieri's first appearance is when he opens the play with an

introducing speech that gives the audience background information. He
introduces the play by telling the audience about the Italian American
theme. He introduces himself as a lawyer. He explains about the
Italian culture and how they take the law into their own hands. It
those times they would do everything themselves, however they are now
half civilised.

Alfieri's second appearance is when he describes Eddie Carbone. Then

later on in the play the cousins come and Catherine and Rodolpho show
a liking to one another, "especially when they are so beautiful". They
flirt a little bit. Alfieri comes on stage and says that Eddie "never
expected to have a destiny". This could mean he wouldn't care if he
lived or died. He is giving the indication that Eddie has some deep
obsession, "a trouble that could not go away". Eddie is then seen
waiting outside for Catherine's return. He's angry that she's late,
and he's jealous that Catherine's out with Rodolpho. Beatrice tries to
talk to him, but he ignores her.

Alfieri's third appearance is when he comes in and introduces the

scene when Eddie Carbone comes into the scene again. He helps the
audience understand because he sets the scene, time, place,
atmosphere, and the characters in the scene.

Alfieri's fourth appearance is when he comes into the play again as a

lawyer, when Eddie comes to talk to him. At this stage Alfieri gives
another piece of background information that we couldn't have known if
he didn't say it. He says "I represent his father in an accident a few
years back". At this time in the scene Alfieri says: "His eyes were
like tunnels" when Eddie walks into the room, in the set or on the
stage. This is a simile, he describes Eddie to be stressed, obsessed
or that Eddie was thinking deeply about something. He says it like
Eddie had committed a crime or done something wrong, or on the other
hand this could mean he had a deep desire or wasn't aware of what's
going on and he was confused. If Alfieri hadn't said this then the
actor playing Eddie must have found it very hard to make an expression
to all this information. Therefore Alfieri comes to use in the play
yet again.

Alfieri's fifth appearance was again when he introduces the scene. He

helps the audience understand yet again because he sets the scene,
time, place, atmosphere, and the characters in the scene. But he also
creates suspense in the audience and makes them want to watch more.

Alfieri's sixth appearance is when Eddie walks into his office again

and they both have a conversation about Rodolpho. Alfieri observes a
deep passion in eddies eyes. Alfieri wasn't listening to what he was
saying, he was constantly starring into eddies eyes. He didn't
remember anything Eddie said that night. "I looked into his eyes more
than I listened". This indicates that he was probably feeling sorry
for Eddie as he was showing sympathy towards him. He probably showed
sympathy towards Eddie because he knew he was going to go through a

Alfieri's seventh appearance is when Catherine, Marco, Rodolpho and

Alfieri are in the reception of the prison. Alfieri as a lawyer has
connections inside the police force and he is aware of the law and how
it works, as he is a lawyer. Alfieri asks Marco if he wanted bail till
his hearing date. This suggests that Alfieri is a nice and thoughtful
person to go to for help.

Alfieri's eighth appearance is also his last appearance; he came in

the play at the end of this play, when he says, "It's better to settle
for half". This is the main message of the play. In this scene Alfieri
is there when Eddie got killed, and as he died in Beatrice's arms.
Alfieri then ends the play with the message and leaves the audience

I think that Arther Miller's idea of using Alfieri in "A view from the

bridge" is a successful idea and very effective. If the play didn't
have Alfieri, it wouldn't have made sense and I would have missed out
so much:

We wouldn't be giving an unbiased view of the action because the

sympathy shown to Eddie comes from Alfieri. Without Alfieri, the play
would be very different. It is after all his view from the bridge.
Without Alfieri we would lose the role of the commentator, because no
one else in the play could carry out a part like his. We simply
wouldn't be guided in the right direction and would get the meaning of
the play wrong. As well as these reasons we would also lose the
opening and the conclusion, as Alfieri gives them both to us, meaning
we would miss out all the background information. For example: "Yale
himself was cut precisely in half by a machine gun on the corner of a
union street". This quote reveals how dangerous the area was just with
one sentence by Alfieri. Without him in the play we wouldn't know
anything about the area in which the play was set. Therefore if we
missed the background information, we wouldn't get the true meaning
planted by Arther Miller.

Alfieri seemed very important to Miller as the main part and the main

role was given to Alfieri. Even if he wasn't acting or even in most of
the scenes he set up the whole play for the audience. Although Eddie
is the main character in this play and is the tragic hero. To me it
seems Alfieri's role is just as important as Eddie to Arther Miller,
we too must see the importance of him, to grasp and capture the true
meaning of the play.

I think Alfieri is a very believable character. Occasionally he talks

directly to the audience, he also blends in well with the other
characters when he is being apart of the play. He is constantly in
touch with the audience. For example: "after all who have dealt in my
life?" he asks a question to the audience directly which don't need to
be answered, but gets the audience thinking and concentrating on the

There is nothing unbelievable about Alfieri, he works to earn a living

and he has feelings like everyone else would. This makes him more
life-like. At times he loses character to become a real person. This
way the audience should understand how he feels.

Alfieri is an honest and open character and tells the story

thoroughly, clearly and very well, but sometimes he twists his words
to get the audience thinking and keep them up to track. He also
explains the message of the play effectively.

The message that Alfieri gives is very clear and a good way to explain

it. He said:"it's better to settle for half". I think this is the main
message of the play, but I also think there are many more messages
twisted in the lines that Alfieri says. He explains his closing speech
and makes his statement clearer by saying this line: "it's better to
settle for half, it must be!" I think he says this because if Eddie
had settled with Rodolpho and Catherine's relationship and dealt with
it, he wouldn't have died in the end of the play and it wouldn't have
been a tragedy. Although Eddie is wrong Alfieri admires his
determination because he didn't give up. I think that this is brave
and a good thing to have inside of you. He was determined to get his
love back, and he never gave up. I respect him for his decision, but
at the end he got killed. He was a brave person and very determined.
Eddie stuck with his opinion and never gave up. Everyone in the play
thought he was wrong but I still respect him and so would Alfieri.
Alfieri would still show respect for Eddie because he is very

But at the end Eddie didn't compromise with Rodolpho and Catherine's

relationship and got himself killed. The play explained the message
very well.

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