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

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

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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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