Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ Essay

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Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From the Bridge’ Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 1847

  • Pages: 7

Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From the Bridge’

Masculinity is a prevalent theme in Arthur Miller’s A View From The Bridge. The four leading male characters in the play; Eddie, Rodolpho, Marco and Alfieri; each play different roles and different types of men. Miller has represented men and masculinity in an unforgiving light in the play. It appears that it is men that confuse and create problems in the characters’ lives. Each character’s actions are effected by the conflicting forces of determinism, where every event and situation is the inevitable result of its preceding states of affairs; and freewill. It could be said that the male characters in A View From The Bridge are not acting, but being acted upon.

The main character in A View From The Bridge is Eddie. He is forty years of age, slightly overweight and is described as “husky”. The huskiness used in the description refers to both Eddie’s roughness and his strong, burly build. His age suggests experience, another masculine quality. Eddie’s appearance reflects his attitude, strong and intimidating. In trying to prove his masculinity, Eddie is the focus of many conversations, as he feels that he must dominate the conversation. Eddie’s speech is very direct, with blunt wording. He constantly uses contractions and drops the last letter off words, such as in the phrase “I didn’t say nothin’”. Eddie’s language is not sophisticated in any sense. This is because Eddie spent his time working instead of getting a proper education. Eddie also comes from a working class family, which would mean that his education is limited. The conglomeration of these factors conveys Eddie to be even more masculine. It is very clear that Miller has constructed Eddie to represent the epitome of masculinity; however the character has a propensity to be acted upon rather than acted.

Although Eddie is portrayed as a very masculine character, the turmoil in his mind is evident to the reader. Within himself he is trying to control his feelings, or act. Instead, it appears that the happenings around him control Eddie’s actions. When Eddie allows Rodolpho and Marco to stay, he is acting, as he is making the decision as the patriarchal member of the Carbone family. He has the choice of whether to accept them or not. He acts out of freewill. The best example Eddie being acted upon is when he calls Immigration about Marco and Rodolpho. At this point in the play, Eddie thinks that he has no other options.

He is struggling to control his feelings for Catherine, which on its own is an example of being acted upon. Although Eddie knows that these incestuous feelings are not acceptable, he cannot help but feel this way. Catherine’s developing relationship with Rodolpho is clearly testing Eddie’s endurance. Eddie also feels that Rodolpho is a bad influence on Catherine, as Eddie can no longer control her as he used to. Realistically, this is because Catherine is growing up more than Rodolpho’s influence. However, Eddie feels that the only solution is to get rid of Rodolpho. By doing this, Eddie hopes that everything will return to its original state, with him being the patriarch. Consequently, Eddie calls Immigration. It can clearly be seen that Eddie is not acting, as eliminating Rodolpho is something that is inevitable if Eddie wishes for things to return to their initial state.

Rodolpho’s appearance in A View From The Bridge is one that is far more feminine and gentle than that of the other characters. He is described as a slim “platinum blond” with a “nice face”. His gentle features are considered womanly, and so he is not considered to be masculine. Rodolpho’s age can be estimated to be in the mid-twenties. This denotes a lack of life experience, another indicator towards femininity rather than masculinity. Miller has constructed Rodolpho as a much less masculine character than Eddie so as to juxtapose the two characters. Unlike Eddie, Rodolpho is a more rational character. He is more cautious in what he says. Due to this discretion, Rodolpho’s speech is very limited in A View From The Bridge. However, his rational behaviour does not stop Rodolpho from being more acted upon than acted.

Even though Rodolpho tries to refrain from causing too much of a disturbance in America, he is visibly maddening Eddie by showing affection towards Catherine. However, Rodolpho cannot control his feelings. He stands up for his right to have a relationship with Catherine and, regardless of what Eddie does or says, Rodolpho still has these feelings for Catherine. Rodolpho does not choose to be attracted to Catherine, it simply happened. The concept that Catherine and Rodolpho both care for each other is not a matter of choice or freewill, it is clearly determinism. For this reason, Rodolpho is more acted upon than acting in A View From The Bridge.

Marco is described in A View From The Bridge as a thirty-two year old “square built peasant”. His square build implies strength and an intimidating physique, which evokes an air of masculinity. His age puts him between Eddie and Rodolpho. Throughout the play, Marco is played as quiet, yet thoughtful. His dialogue is minimal, until the final sequence where the conflict between him and Eddie erupts. Although his dialogue is entirely different to that of Eddie, the pair are both seen as masculine characters. This is because Marco is confident with himself, and does not feel it is necessary to talk or dominate the conversation. In doing so, his confidence shines through as being masculine. Again, Marco is a character that appears, in most cases, to be more acted upon than acting.

Marco’s strong and silent persona allows him to understand and recognise elements in the characters more so than Eddie and Rodolpho. He sees Eddie’s challenging nature towards Rodolpho and challenges Eddie back. In this sense, Marco’s actions are acted. He understands what is happening and uses his own freewill to make a decision of what to do. However, the final sequences are clearly an indication of how Marco is more acted upon than acting. When Marco spits in Eddie’s face, it is the culmination of Eddie’s attitude and actions that cause him to do so. After trusting Eddie, Marco has been proverbially stabbed in the back. However, Marco’s reaction was eminent. Eddie’s ongoing dislike of both Marco and Rodolpho would eventually arrive at a confrontation.

Marco’s reaction was clearly determinism – it was the inevitable result of its preceding states of affairs. In this way, the character of Marco is more acted upon than acting. Similarly, when Marco kills Eddie, it is inevitable. If not for Eddie’s death, the play would be going nowhere. Eddie’s sanity is questionable towards the end of A View From The Bridge. If Eddie were to survive the stabbing, there would be no closure for any of the characters. When Eddie pulls the knife out and attempts to stab Marco, it is clear that he is not thinking rationally. Marco then acts in self defence when he stabs Eddie. He knows that one of them will die in the struggle, and sees that his killing of Eddie is the only way he will come out alive. For this reason, Marco acts not out of freewill, but stabs Eddie as there is no other way for the battle to end. Hence, Marco is more acted upon than acting. However, this attribute is not shared by all of the male characters in A View From The Bridge.

The final male character in A View From The Bridge is Alfieri. Alfieri is the oldest of the characters, described as being “in his fifties”, turning grey and portly. His age implies much life experience, as does his generously proportioned physique. His appearance is also one of a higher class than the rest of the characters. Alfieri speaks with distinction. Unlike Marco and Eddie, who feel the need to express their masculinity, Alfieri is confident in himself, and so needs not demonstrate this through his language.

For this reason, Alfieri remains to be a masculine character even though his language is very poetic and eloquent. For example, when consulting Eddie and Marco, he says “To promise not to kill, is not dishonourable.” As well as showing Alfieri’s intelligence, the statement gives his words a scale of importance. Alfieri’s masculinity shines through in his instructing and superior manner. Unlike the rest of the male characters in A View From The Bridge, it is felt that Alfieri is not being acted upon, but is acting.

As Alfieri is not directly involved in the convoluted relationships that take place in the apartment, he has the advantage of having a less emotional reaction to the occurrences. Alfieri also has the advantage of being able to think about things rationally before offering an opinion. When attempting to guide Eddie in his turmoil, Alfieri informs him that he can take no legal action. In doing so, Alfieri is acting out of freewill. Nothing is forcing him to tell Eddie this. Theoretically, Alfieri could ignore the legal aspect and tell Eddie to take his chances. Instead, Alfieri offers his own advice, to “let her go”. Although Alfieri’s instinct to seek resolution may be seen as more acted upon than acting, his pressure in guiding Eddie to do the right thing, or lack thereof, is freewill, as Alfieri made the choice in not forcing Eddie to stop acting in the manner that he was. For this reason, Alfieri is acting more than he is acted upon.

Although each of the male characters in Miller’s play A View From The Bridge represents a different role and different type of man, each of their actions can be seen as either an act of freewill or an act of determinism. In many instances, it appears that there is no other way for the incident to occur. At other times, the characters make choices, exercising their freewill. As Eddie, Rodolpho and Marco are all emotionally involved in the relationships in the play; their actions tend to be acts of determinism. All three are trapped in gender roles, not wanting to appear weak. As Alfieri is more of an onlooker in the play, his actions are a result of freewill. Confident with his masculinity, he is able to decide what to do, not be forced into doing something. For this reason, the male characters in A View From The Bridge can be said to be predominantly more acted upon than acting.

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Arthur Miller’s, A View From The Bridge Essay

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Arthur Miller’s, A View From The Bridge Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 2700

  • Pages: 11

Arthur Miller’s, A View From The Bridge

Arthur Miller’s ‘A View From The Bridge’ is a great play set in the run down area of Brooklyn, New York, a community in Red Hook, during the 1950s. It explores the themes of justice, unnatural love, codes of society and respect. The play focuses on the jealousy the protagonist, Eddie Carbone, exerts towards his wife’s illegally immigrated Italian cousins, Marco and Rodolpho, due to his passionate feelings for his own niece, Catherine, consequently ending with his life. The key events of the play are all very reasonable and typical in reflection to the time it was written.

The disastrous aftermath of World War Two and the Great Depression left people with one dream; the American dream. To escape their less economically developed country and lead a better life many travelled to America. Italians suffered most excruciatingly hence it is they who went through mass migration, but lead it a better life they did not. Confrontation with suspicious Americans and intense hardship only crippled their self-esteem and lead them to be more independent.

In ‘A View From The Bridge’ we witness how this period of time effected and shaped the behaviour of characters in the play. Arthur Miller uses Alfieri to make the play much easier to understand and enjoyable for us, the audience. In this essay I am going to analyse how exactly this has been done. Arthur Miller cleverly uses Alfieri in a number of ways. Alfieri is the narrator; Alfieri plays a character; and Alfieri is a good example of what some call a Greek Chorus. He is our narrator and plays the role of an Italian-American lawyer which makes us expect his words to be truthful.

Alfieri also very effectively helps distinguish scenes, expand on characters and make the play more explicit, just as a Greek Chorus would do in old Greek tragedies. Doing this allows us to understand and follow up on the play, its themes and events. “…In Sicily, from where their fathers came, the law has not been a friendly idea since the Greeks were beaten…Justice is very important here”: Alfieri’s opening monologue, Act 1; he is the Greek Chorus. Alfieri gives us some background information on Red Hook and its neighbourhood, allowing the audience to form an impression on the characters and their morals.

Having knowledge on the circumstances explored in the play, what with the illegal immigration, this line in the monologue can infer one of two things: the Italians in Red Hook cannot turn to the law because they are illegal immigrants, or the Italians will not turn to the law due their lack of trust as a result of their Italian customs. Either way, since turning to the law is never going to be the answer, the obvious way to gain justice is for the law to be taken into the people’s hands. Knowing this helps us, the audience, understand why certain events take place later on in the play.

We understand Marco is an immigrant and therefore understand why he uses violence to enforce justice against Eddie for his actions. The theme of justice is introduced here. Eddie Carbone’s death at the end of the play came as no surprise to us all. Alfieri had already told us from the beginning that he sat there and “watched it run its bloody course…this one’s name was Eddie Carbone’’. Eddie Carbone will die, but in no ordinary way; he will be murdered which we can indicate from Alfieri mentioning “bloody course”.

Alfieri put great emphasis on the fact that the people of Red Hook take justice into their own hands in his opening monologue which, if we put two and two together, must mean that Eddie’s blood will be spilt for one’s justice. This time Arthur Miller uses Alfieri to really hook, and keep us hooked, in the play. Us knowing that Eddie will be murdered before it actually happens means that we, the audience, know more than the characters. Throughout the play, no matter what turn of event takes place, we know that Eddie’s death is inevitable.

This creates a very interesting and suspense atmosphere as we are eager to find out how exactly each character’s action leads up to the death; how Eddie’s own actions may have a huge impact on Marco feeling compelled to end his life. The theme of unnatural love is also first made clearer to us through the use of Alfieri and his unveiling of Eddie’s true inner feeling for Catherine, although Eddie himself denies such possibility which is typical of longshoremen, or men generally, of the time; expressing your emotions just wasn’t a masculine thing to do.

Alfieri claims that Eddie has “too much love for the niece”, which makes Eddie’s resentment towards Rodolpho understandable to us. Why Eddie opposed Catherine’s relationship with Rodolpho was at first quite inexplicit, with many of us assuming it was just the possessiveness of an uncle, but Arthur Miller’s use of Alfieri’s, again as a Greek chorus, makes the play more understandable, and not only that, it also enhances the dramatic factor of the play; we know Eddie will die at the end of the play and are now interested to know how his feelings for Catherine will play a part in his tragic death.

In Act 1 Alfieri and Eddie both highlight the codes of the society of Red Hook, made due to the mistrust in the law. Eddie outlines the consequences of snitching on the immigrants whilst Alfieri explains to us that the immigrants will take the law into their own hands. When Eddie is on the verge to call the immigration Bureau later in Act 2 Alfieri tells him he “won’t have a friend in the world”, reminding Eddie and us that the society will destroy him if he informs because he is going against their codes of society.

Here Alfieri, in spite of being a lawyer who should support the law, is trying to prevent Eddie from making a huge mistake. Alfieri is an American lawyer from an Italian background which is why he is aware that if Eddie goes along with his actions then he will have the society to answer to. We trust Alfieri, a lawyer to be a good judge of character and rational, because he is professionally detached. However, with Eddie he has a slight connection which he mentions in his opening monologue: “I had represented his father in an accident case some years before, and I was acquainted with the family in a casual way”.

When Eddie did call the Immigration Bureau, Alfieri and the audience know that Eddie’s actions were against the codes of society and citizens of the time would not abide by the law, no, they will enforce their justice though violence. However despite being aware of this, Alfieri offers a different opinion on the codes of society to Marco. “To promise not to kill is not dishonourable” and “Only God makes justice”. This makes the play very much more dramatic because on one hand Alfieri goes against the law advising Eddie not to snitch, and on the other hand Alfieri goes against the codes of society by telling Marco not to kill Eddie.

This adds to the dramatics because we know that Alfieri’s attempts to prevent Eddie’s death will fail, he himself mentioned being “powerless”, so we continue to watch whether Marco listens to Alfieri or does go out to kill, sticking by his Italian customs. In addition, I think that Arthur Miller has decided to make one character go against the law and the other by the law to show that both the law and a person’s morale can be wrong – the law is not always correct and neither is a person’s judgement of what is right and wrong.

This too makes it dramatic as the audience can now question themselves whether the steps taken by each character was right or wrong. The portrayal of Eddie Carbone in the play is, without a doubt, negative. His unnatural feeling for Catherine, his horrible behaviour towards Rodolpho and his betrayal to the cousins forces us to dislike his character.

However, to conclude the play, Arthur Miller decides to express Alfieri’s sympathy for Eddie to shape our final impression of him, leaving us confused as to whether Eddie was a heroic character or a villain. …even as I know how wrong he was, and his death useless, I tremble…something perversely pure calls to me from his memory…for he allowed himself to be wholly known and for that I think I will love him more then all my sensible clients”. Alfieri does not stop liking Eddie because he understands what he was like. He is suggesting to us that although we recognise Eddie’s actions as immoral and wrong, perhaps we should delve deeper into what provoked Eddie to commit the crimes he did.

His love for Catherine, while wrong, is pure, so should he have been punished by death? But maybe if he had listened to Alfieri and compromised with Catherine and Rodolpho’s relationship none of this would have happened. Alfieri had repeated many times, as well as in his closing monologue, that it is “better to settle for half”; making compromises is best. This is the very meaningful message Arthur Miller portrays to us through Alfieri throughout the play. To conclude, I believe Alfieri, despite not taking much part in the action, has a very vital part in the play.

He is, metaphorically speaking, the bridge in the play, who has been distinctively used as a viewpoint of the story. Without him we would have been left clueless after watching the play as it is he who fills in all the gaps and answers all the unanswered questions lingering in our minds. He also raises suspense in the play like no other, enhancing our enjoyment.

When Eddie is on the urge of calling the Immigration Bureau Alfieri, despite being a lawyer who should support the law, discourages Eddie from proceeding with the call. You won’t have a friend in the world, Eddie! Even those who understand will turn against you, even those who feel the same will despise you! ” He reminds Eddie and the audience that the society will destroy him if he informs because he is going against the codes of society. Alfieri is knowledgeable on these codes of so opposes the law as he does not want Addie to make this mistake probably because he is becoming too attached to Eddie’s story as he offers a different opinion on the codes of society to Marco. To promise not to kill is not dishonourable” and “Only God makes justice”.

Both Alfieri and the audience know that Eddie’s act was against the codes of society and in the society of the time Eddie will be punished though violence as this is the only way Marco, an Italian immigrant, will obtain his justice, based on the fact that the Italians did not trust the law. But yet Alfieri went against the codes of society by telling Marco not to kill Eddie, whilst on the other hand he goes against the law advising Eddie not to inform.

This make the play more dramatic because the audience know that Alfieri’s attempts to try and prevent Eddie’s death will not have worked, reinforcing that he is powerless, so they continue to see how Eddie dies. Also I think that Arthur Miller has decided to make one character go against the law and the other by the law to show that both the law and a person’s morale can be wrong – the law is not always correct and neither is a person’s judgement of what is right and wrong.

This too makes it dramatic as the audience can now question themselves whetehr the steps taken by each character was right or wrong. He doesn’t stop liking Eddie, because he understands what he was like. He mourns Eddie, but with alarm, because he knows it will happen again. Alfieri is the voice of reason amongst great chaos, but chaos wins, probably because of the tense situation. I confess that something perversely pure calls to me from his memory. “To what extent is it possible to feel sympathy for Eddie?

Consider in your answer the part played by the Italian community in his behaviour. When Alfieri concludes his feelings at the end of the play, he is suggesting to the audience that although we recognize Eddie’s actions as immoral and wrong, perhaps we may still be able to sympathise with him. In order to answer this, we have to delve deeper into what provoked Eddie to commit the crimes he did, which ended eventually in his own death. At the beginning of the play, Miller wants us to recognise just how good a man Eddie can be.

With his Arthur Miller ends the play in a dramatic and thought provoking way. The audience question whether Eddie deserved to die or not. All Eddie had done is fallen in love, perhaps with the wrong person, but love is a pure emotion that cannot be controlled. Eddie’s feelings lead him to call the immigration Bureau but he was not in the right state of mind as he himself was confused about his feelings for Catherine co should he have been punished by death?

Arthur Miller uses Alfieri to close the play portraying a meaningful message, a phrase which he repeats many times; “And yet it is better to settle for half”. Making compromises is best. Being greedy can be regretful so it is better to be happy with what you’ve got than risk your life for more. Although Alfiieri does not take much part in the action, he has a vital role in the play. He is the narrator, the lawyer and the mediator (he tries to keep the peace). He is, metaphorically speaking, the bridge in the title. He is separate from the main action so could be described as looking down on it.

He also links the Italian American community with America itself in terms of its laws which do not necessarily reflect traditional Italian views on justice. Significantly by the title “A view from the bridge”, this is indeed exactly the role of Alfieri’s character. Miller uses distinctively the character of Alfieri as a viewpoint of the story , something he does in a very elegant and dynamic way. In conclusion, Alfieri’s role within this play makes it entertaining, enjoyable and easier to understand for the audience.

I believe that without Alfieri the play would not have binded well therefore the audience would not have had a good understanding. It’s like having a building without its foundation. Arthur Miller’s use of Alfieri managed to draw in the audience’s attention, build up suspense at the beginning of the play, make it clear why certain events took place and why characters behave the way they do, so I think that without Alfieri, ‘A View From The Bridge’ will be meaningless and confusing to watch.

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Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” Essay

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Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge” Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 741

  • Pages: 3

Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge”

In Arthur Miller’s “A View from the Bridge”, the character of Alfieri can be described as the ‘hidden leading role’. He bears several roles, most of them more significant than assumed by the casual reader. His dual-role onstage as a character who interacts both with other characters and the audience provides him with the responsibility of bringing about some understanding to the events of the play, while his background makes him the vital link between two conflicting cultures.

Alfieri is the symbolic bridge between American constitutional law and Italian social law. The son of a Sicilian, he was raised in America and pursued an education in American law, providing him with a suitable dose of both backgrounds. Like a bridge, Alfieri connects with both shores. Like a bridge, Alfieri leans on the solid foundations of both cultures. But also like a bridge, Alfieri is elevated above, and therefore watches more often than he interferes. Hence the title “A View from the Bridge”. The whole play is Alfieri’s perception of the events that took place. It is almost a secondary source – that is, a collection of primary sources with his personal interpretation mixed in at relevant moments – but it isn’t a complete secondary source, because there are significant times during the play when Alfieri himself is involved.

Alfieri provides vital continuity at points in the play when the story cannot be told in any way other than narration. One example is on page 31, once the cousins have arrived and all the characters have been introduced, Eddie visits him for legal advice, for a legal way to prevent a Catherine/Rodolfo marriage. Alfieri provides literal descriptions of a storyline which, up until now, has been conveyed only through physical actions and behaviour. His eyes were like tunnels, describes Eddie’s single, unchangeable aim, whereas …but soon I saw it was only a passion that had moved into his body, like a stranger describes how clear it was to Alfieri that Eddie was possessed by his motive. There is also an element of foreshadowing in my first though was that he had committed a crime – this phrase also reiterates that the events of the play have already taken place.

There are further examples of continuity to promote understanding, provided by Alfieri, throughout the play. Give some of these.

As mentioned earlier, the play is Alfieri’s story, told by Alfieri. As such, and based on the important ‘bridge’ position he maintains, he has attempted to present the story from a reasonable, objective point a view, a point of view that would suit his position. However, he is awestruck by the events that played out, and tells much of the story as a legend. On page 4, …every few years there is still a case, and…the flat air in my office suddenly washes in with the green scent of the sea, the dust in this air is blown away and the thought comes that…another lawyer…sat there as powerless as I, and watched it run its bloody course is reflective of this.

Alfieri considers the Eddie Carbone case to be a case of exception, one that triggers the romantic feelings he describes in the quotation. As a result, even though one of Alfieri’s roles in the play is to bring about some form of understanding to a potentially incomprehensible storyline, this quotation shows that the character of Alfieri is not an emotionless, “robot-like” narrator, but a real human, with a natural tendency to tell magnificent stories with an element of excitement.

This can also be seen in his closing remarks on page 64, where he ‘admits’ to mourning Eddie. He’s only human, and he’s torn between sympathy and pity. He is a bridge between two cultures, and he cannot make a choice to devote himself completely to one side. It is the job of a bridge to link two sides together. Similarly, it is his job to maintain a link between the American and Italian cultures, yet he is torn between the two. Here we truly see Alfieri’s dual-character, making him both a narrator and a character.

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Arthur Millers a View from the Bridge Essay

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Arthur Millers a View from the Bridge Essay
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  • University/College:
    University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Words: 801

  • Pages: 3

Arthur Millers a View from the Bridge

During the years following World War 2 there was an influx of Italian immigrants to America. The USA’s relative wealth meant that the lower socio-economic groups migrated to America in search of a better life. Arthur Miller, the playwright, came from a family of Polish-Jewish immigrants who had lost much of their wealth during the 1929 depression. He had several menial jobs one of which was as a longshoreman in Brooklyn, where he heard many stories which were his inspiration for A View from the Bridge. Because A View from the Bridge is based on real life events, its themes are based on people’s experience of life in the post-war era, Love, Justice and honour.

However, love is the downfall of one of the characters, Eddie, a hero who stands up for his beliefs in order to save Catherine, or so he believes. This theme is the perfect definition of a Greek tragedy to which the play can be compared. Alfieri has two functions in the play. He is both a character and a narrator. He breaks the ‘fourth wall” and communicates directly with the audience, summarising sections of the play and allowing the middle-class audience to interpret the working-class story.

We are first introduced to Alfieri at the beginning of the play where he presents a monologue which also acts as a prologue. He talks about the play in the past tense referring to it as if it has already happened and he has “Watched it run its bloody course”. The use of the word “bloody” shows that violence is a recurring theme and also implies that there is a tragic end to it. He first takes off his hat to the audience as a sign of respect and even possibly reminiscence.

“You see how uneasily they nod to me? That’s because I am a lawyer.” The rhetorical question explains the relationship between him and other people in the community. Because he represents American law people treat him suspiciously. However, the fact that he is a lawyer suggests that he is educated and for this reason is highly respected in his community. The way he speaks represents his education.

Miller said that he wanted to make this play a modern Greek tragedy. Classical Greek tragedies included a ‘Greek Chorus’ which was a single actor or group of actors who were characters in the play but also stepped out of the action as a narrator, to comment on the action and communicate with the audience directly. Alfieri fulfils this function and is the equivalent of the chorus in several respects. Firstly he introduces the play and its themes. The audience is instilled with a sense of trust because if his use of Standard English and because he is a lawyer. Secondly he moves the play on, he retells events which have already happened.

He gives details of places, dates and times, enabling the play to move on more quickly, without the characters having to give this information. His narration is also mixed with brief comments: “He was as good a man as he had to be…he brought home his pay, and he lived. And toward ten o’clock of that night, after they had eaten, the cousins came”. In this quote Alfieri is setting the time which moves the play on from the previous scene and also he is explaining Eddie’s persona, ” a good man” He also explains aspects of the play, for example “his eyes were like tunnels,” suggests that Eddie can’t see the whole story, he only sees a part of it. This intimate understanding of what is going on allows him to bridge a communication gap between the middle-class audience and working-class characters, enabling the audience to form an understanding of the story and the emotions that the characters are feeling.

Fate is one of a series of inevitable or predetermined events, for example in the play Eddie’s ultimate fate is to die, this is clear from the beginning. We also know that because of the fate of Eddie Alfieri is powerless to stop the tragedy. We know this when he says “As powerless as I”, Alfieri cannot control fate, however he can alleviate suffering. In Alfieri’s opening monologue Alfieri expresses the idea that tragedy is timeless: “in some Caesar’s year, in Calabria perhaps or on the cliff of Syracuse, another lawyer.” The use of the name “Caesar” an ancient emperor shows the idea that humans don’t change, a Tragedy is timeless and can apply to an Ancient era, and it harks back to the Greek theme.

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