Alfieri in A View From the Bridge by Arhtur Miller

Alfieri in A View From the Bridge by Arhtur Miller

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Alfieri in A View From the Bridge by Arhtur Miller

In the play 'A View From The Bridge' the character of Alfieri is not
widely used as a person in the play, but as a narrator and as a scene
divider The play is actually only divided up into 2 acts rather than
scenes. Alfieri is the mechanism by which the play unfolds. Readers
can relate to Alfieri for many reasons. They can respect his opinion,
he is a Lawyer, but they can also like his character and can connect
with his position in the play. He is under pressure from being told
all the other characters' secrets and he needs to talk to someone,
which is why the soliloquies are involved.

He comments on the action in previous scenes and gives hints as to the
action in the next, "He worked on the piers when there was work",
"After they had eaten, the cousins came." In doing this, he exercises
a key role of the chorus character, he comments but doesn't intervene,
"I could have finished the whole story that afternoon." This also
gives the reader the feeling that Alfieri is simply re-telling the
story, because he speaks in the past tense, except when he's talking
to another actor in the play. Alfieri by profession is a Lawyer. The
community in the play respects Alfieri, and views him as the
dependable figure in the play. As Alfieri reminds us in his
introductory speech, lawyers are only thought of in connection with
disasters.

_____________________

At the start of the play Alfieri introduces himself as a lawyer
originating from Sicily, Italy but who moved to Red Hook, New York
when he was 25 years old, due to the uncertainty of what may happen to
him because of the risk of the Mafia. He talks of how many people in
the Red Hook district are from Sicily and he states that he isn't
trusted as a lawyer due to the fact that the law was not a friendly
idea in Sicily since the Greeks were beaten.

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At the end of his speech
he introduces Eddie Carbone, a longshoreman from the docks near
Brooklyn Bridge.

Eddie lives with his wife Beatrice and his niece Catherine. Catherine
and Eddie are very close, Eddie being like a father to Catherine as
her parents had died. They are like any normal family until Beatrice's
cousins, Rudolpho and Marco, show up as illegal immigrants from Italy.
Alfieri is used as a scene breaker between a discussion between
Catherine and Eddie and the entrance of the cousins. When they enter
they are very polite with Eddie, Beatrice and Catherine. Catherine at
an early stage takes a liking to Rudolpho due to his singing 'I'm
crazy for Paper Doll. Go ahead, sing it,' but Eddie stops him and
warns him to keep a low profile. Eddie already shows a slight
disliking but nothing major at this early stage.

Catherine plans on going out for the evening with Rudolpho, she gets
very dressed up to impress him but Eddie makes her change into
different clothes, to embarrass her and to make it look like he thinks
Rudolpho wasn't worth the effort. Alfieri is brought up as a scene
breaker once again and talks of how Eddie lived his life like any
normal person, 'a man works, raises his family, goes bowling, eats,
gets old and then dies,' but since Rudolpho has entered his life
everything changed, Rudolpho was a trouble that wasn't leaving.

In the next scene Eddie and Beatrice are waiting up for Catherine and
Rudolpho to return from the theatre. Eddie argues with Beatrice over
Rudolpho gaining himself a high profile and how he is degrading
Catherine, 'I don't see her practice no more.' Beatrice tells Eddie
he's just jealous but he ignores the comment. He says how he didn't
raise Catherine to get married to somebody like Rudolpho. When
Rudolpho and Catherine arrive home he sends Rudolpho inside, 'Go
inside will you,' and talks with Catherine. He says how 'I don't see
you no more', it seems as if he is showing slight jealousy. Eddie
tells Catherine 'He don't respect you' and that Rudolpho is just
trying to hurt him and that all Rudolpho wants is his papers. Eddie
gets very irritated. Catherine and Beatrice have a conversation, she
wants to keep Rudolpho as a very close friend, or maybe more, but in
doing this she doesn't want to loose Eddie as her father.

Up to this point in the play Eddie has not done anything to harm
anybody, there is no sign that he will hurt anybody, just that he
might stop talking to Catherine but this isn't certain. It is at this
point Eddie pays a visit to Alfieri, Alfieri's role at this point is
as a lawyer and not as the narrator.

Eddie confidentially talks to Alfieri on the subject of if there is a
law against Catherine falling in love with an immigrant, the only
reason for it being for the papers. Alfieri says 'I can only deal with
what's provable' but Eddie ignores this comment and constantly brings
out comments such as 'this guy is here' and 'the guy ain't right',
none of these points being a valid point towards the law. He gets very
agitated and annoyed with Alfieri, he starts to feel as if everybody
is against him. Nobody is on his side and he is loosing his family.
Alfieri says the only way he can separate Rudolpho and Catherine with
the help of the law is by 'The manner in which they entered the
country' but Eddie knows if he influenced the cousins being deported
that Catherine and Beatrice wouldn't forgive him and that would mean
he lost his whole family. The last comment Alfieri makes to Eddie is a
strong one, 'she can't marry you, can she?' This is a very good point
as it seems as this is what Eddie wants, to have Catherine as his own,
Eddie then says 'it's breakin' my heart, y'know' and leaves Alfieri's
office.

At this point Alfieri can tell something serious is going to happen,
'there are times when you want to spread an alarm, but nothing has
happened'. As there has been nothing to show for the threat of Eddie,
Alfieri is helpless, 'I could have finished the whole story that
afternoon'.

______________________

In the play 'A View From The Bridge' Alfieri is a very important role.
He ends the first act with a speech about how 'there are times when
you want to spread an alarm, but nothing has happened.' The character
of Eddie has been very forceful with his family and Rudolpho and so he
visited Alfieri. With Alfieri he brought up the question of law and if
there was any law that could separate his niece, Catherine, from
Rudolpho, Eddie's wife's cousin that entered the country illegally.
Eddie is very hurt when he finds out from Alfieri that he cannot help
and that he has to deal with loosing Catherine. At this point in the
play it is obvious that Eddie is going to take action against Rudolpho
that will probably end up with a fatality, but there is no evidence of
this that Alfieri can put forward so Eddie cannot be stopped with his
rampage. Alfieri is worried for Beatrice and Catherine but especially
Rudolpho. Alfieri is completely vulnerable, he doesn't have the power
to stop Eddie do what is obviously about to happen.
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