Justice in A View from the Bridge

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Justice in A View from the Bridge

Arthur Miller is now regarded as one of the world’s greatest

dramatists. In his plays he explores the struggles of the ordinary man

against authority and insurmountable odds.

Miller's own struggle therefore with this issue is present in ‘A View

from the Bridge’ as he, like the characters in his plays (such as

Eddie Carbone), was faced with the problem of choosing to be American

or not, specifically by naming names of people who were doing (what

were considered then) unlawful acts. Miller chose to write about a

community that accepted and protected unlawful people.

Miller spent two years in the shipyards of Brooklyn and was thus able

to study the social background of the lives of the dockworkers in that

area. Many of the immigrants were of illegal legacy and were being

exploited by the people who helped bring them to America and so

consequently he further advanced his knowledge of the community spirit

in the slum areas of New York and the beliefs and values of the

Sicilian community as a whole.

The law however, is everywhere, and this is the role played by

Alfieri in ‘A view from the Bridge’ and much of his speaking takes the

form of soliloquies. His description of the people within the play and

narration at the beginning of each scene helps to distinguish the

different sections of the play. Alfieri is fairly unimportant in the

action of the play in general, but he more importantly frames the play

as a form of a modern story.

The words justice and law are frequently heard in the play. Alfieri,

the lawyer for all intents and purposes is the view from the bridge.

He is the all-seeing, all-knowing, objective outsider looking in,

correctly predicting the forthcoming...

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...iations with names. They believe in trust and want revenge when a

member has been wronged. Some of these values, however, come in

conflict with those of the American system of justice. Eddie Carbone

chooses to turn against his community and abide by the state laws. He

looses the respect of his community and friends—the name and personal

identity he treasures. Eddie Carbone, with a stronger allegiance to

the community, reverts back to another custom of Sicilian-Americans:

revenge. Not only is Eddie pulled back to the values of his community,

but the final victor of the play is symbolic of community values—the

Italian, Marco. Thus, the small community is stronger than American

law. However as aforementioned, the age-old battle between law and

justice will never have a winner, and sometimes as Alfieri wisely

states, it is better to settle for half measures.
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