The Role of Alfieri in A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller

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The Role of Alfieri in A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller In Miller’s ‘A View From The Bridge’, Alfieri holds a vital role. He opens and closes the play, distinguishes between the two acts and in general keeps the audience up to date with the play’s swift pace, providing us with an inside understanding of the events which take place. What is interesting about Alfieri’s role is that he acts not only as a chorus for the play, but that he also partakes in the proceedings as a character within the performance. There are clear biographical links between the playwright, Arthur Miller’s life and ‘A View From The Bridge.’ Miller himself was the son of immigrants living in New York in 1915. For two years during the 1940s Miller worked in the shipyards of Brooklyn with other Italians, experiencing first-hand the poor pay and exploitation of workers, as well as gaining an inside knowledge of the illegal immigration scheme running. He heard many of the longshoremen’s real-life stories, a number of which became inspiration for many of his plays - including ‘A View From The Bridge’. In Miller’s autobiography ‘Time Bends’, he narrates the dream a friend of his had about an attraction he felt for his cousin; yet refused to accept there was any truth in Miller’s interpretation that the man may have wanted an incestuous relationship with his cousin. During his time as a dockworker, Miller also heard the story of a longshoreman who had become a social pariah after betraying his family and the Sicilian code when he reported his own relatives to the Immigration Authorities because of a relationship he saw forming between one of the immigrants a... ... middle of paper ... ...s and situations which evolve throughout the performance. He helps to develop our awareness of what the effect 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-born character is equally as tragic as the death of a high-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. Effectively 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.
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