The Role of Alfieri in Miller’s A View from the Bridge

7321 Words30 Pages
The Role of Alfieri in Miller’s 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. It is his ability to dramatize the attempts to find the balance between the different conflicts of life that is Miller’s feature as a writer. “Many of his plays look at the position of the individual in relation to their responsibilities and position in society and may be seen, as a result, to be political.” (Tim Bezant.) While exploring human faults he also talks about the hidden emotions within people. This is significantly highlighted throughout his world-renowned theatrical production of ‘A View from the Bridge’, in which he conveys his true feelings through the themes and messages portrayed on the historical and cultural context of the period.

Miller completed the two-act version of the play in 1956, the same year in which it was performed at the Comedy Theatre in London. During this epoch he was called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee to name the people of communist sympathizers, the height of the McCarthy Era. Miller refused to do so and so was admired by people for his strength and loyalty. In 1957, Miller was charged with contempt by the U.S. Court of Appeals. Miller's own struggle therefore with this issue is present in ‘A View from the Bridge’ as he, like the characters in his plays (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 used thi...

... middle of paper ...

...anding and their enjoyment of the play, and to act as a dramatic device which are seen as his role within the ‘A View from the Bridge.‘ Arthur Miller has not drawn Alfieri as a ‘full’ character even though there are times when we sympathize for his predicament of being powerless to stop the events in the tragedy. Alfieri’s role is to oversee the action and remains objective throughout. The audience can see, at the end of the play, that Alfieri does have sympathy for Eddie and even soon admiration for him because “he has allowed himself to be wholly known.“ And there finally, we have Alfieri’s most important role. He offers the audience universal concepts to think about as they leave the theatre.


‘Time Bends’ by Arthur Miller, Methuen, 1987

‘A View from the Bridge’ introduction, Tim Bezant, Heinemann, 1995

‘Penguin Dictionary‘, Penguin, 1995
Open Document