The play A View from the Bridge is set in the 1940’s in a place called

The play A View from the Bridge is set in the 1940’s in a place called

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The play A View from the Bridge is set in the 1940’s in a place called
Red Hook in America. Arthur Miller is the writer of this play

‘A View from the Bridge’

The play ‘A View from the Bridge’ is set in the 1940’s in a place
called Red Hook in America. Arthur Miller is the writer of this play
and he has been quoted as saying that this play is based on a lot of
his own personal experiences. The culture of Red Hook is a mixture of
the newly formed American culture and the Sicilian culture, which has
come through immigrants being brought here from Sicily. The main
characters in the play are Eddie Carbone, who is a long shoreman, his
wife Beatrice, their niece Catherine who is adopted, and there are
Beatrice’s two cousins, called Marco and Rodolfo, who are illegal
immigrants from Sicily, looking for work in America. Beatrice and
Eddie are both American citizens, and were born in America, but their
grandparents were from Sicily. Catherine has been raised and brought
up by Beatrice and Eddie since she was a young child and Eddie has
grown attached to her and is very protective of her due to his
incestuous attraction to her. Alfieri is a lawyer from an Italian
American background and has lived in Red Hook since he was 25. Alfieri
has a dual role in the play. He speaks directly to the audience and he
reminds the audience of things that have happened in the play, plus he
is also a character involved in the action of the play.

Alfieri introduces the themes that run through the play. In Alfieri’s
opening speech he uses the words “watched it run its bloody course” as
if he knows something bad is going to take place in the play, a
tragedy. Alfieri also points out that there is a difference between
the modern American law and the ancient law of the Sicilian justice
because “the law has not been a good idea since the Greeks were
beaten” and the “justice is very important here……” these quotes are
showing how the people are connected to Sicilians from their past. It
is important for Alfieri to be a character as well as the narrator in
the play because as the narrator he comes in to speak directly to the
audience and keep us interested in what is happening. As a character
in the play, he is important because he talks to Eddie and tries to
help him, because he understands him. He gives the audience insights
into Eddie’s character.

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His view of him is as if he thinks Eddie is a
tragic Aristotalian hero who has uncontrollable passions of love that
drive him to his end. Eddie is seen as the ‘boss’ in his household, at
the beginning of the play everyone has a lot of respect for Eddie and
they ask for his approval of their actions. When Rodolfo and Marco are
at Eddie’s house we see Eddie showing off his power in front of them,
but his weakness is Catherine and his secret love for her, which leads
to him losing his respect from family and friends. Alfieri gives the
impression that everything that is happening to Eddie is according to
his fate as he says”……Eddie Carbone had never expected to have a
destiny” but he has one, Eddie never expected to be the ‘main’
character in a tragedy, but he becomes one.

Alfieri highlights in the play the American legalistic law and the law
of ‘natural’ justice that they have in Sicily. Eddie and Alfieri live
in a Sicilian immigrant community and this community has a code of
honour that is unwritten. People look after themselves and their
family honour, and they don’t disgrace the code by informing to the
Immigration Department about illegal immigrants. Alfieri who is a man
of the law knows this unwritten code of honour and we know this
because he tells Eddie “there’s only one legal question here” he says
this because Eddie is looking for a way to get Rodolfo away from
Catherine and out of the country “the only legal way to get rid of
them is because of the way they entered the country. But I don’t think
you want to do any think about that do you?” Alfieri is referring to
the American law here. Eddie breaks the unwritten law when he informs
the immigration office about Marco and Rodolfo being illegal
immigrants, Eddie told the Immigration Department even though Alfieri
advised him not to as he said “you’ll not have a friend in the world.
As soon as Eddie had broken the Sicilian code no one if he had lived
would have spoken to him again in Red Hook. Alfieri recognises this.
He tries to protect Eddie from Marco, who he knows will seek revenge,
but he also knows that any oath that Marco swears will mean little as
Marco believes that he has a right to seek his own justice.

At the end of the play, Alfieri talks about ‘mourning’ Eddie with a
certain ‘alarm’ suggesting that he understood Eddie a little too well.
Alfireri begins and ends the play, he acts as a ‘chorus’ figure
setting the scene, adding detail and keeping the audience focused and
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