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...
... middle of paper ...
...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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