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A View From The Bridge By Arthur Miller

3306 words - 13 pages

A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller

Alfieri is a lawyer who works for the Sicilian community in Brooklyn.
He opens the play with a very exposing account of what life used to be
like and is like in that particular community. The audience knows from
that speech everything about Alfieri and about the community in Red
Hook. He launches into graphic detail about past bandits and murders
and about how justice is very important to the Italians. The community
is the 'gullet of New York,´ which is 'swallowing the tonnage of the
world.´ This sentence is quite ironic since Red Hook is a fishing town
and tonnage is another word for cargo. Alfieri speaks as though Red
Hook has swallowed up all the complications of the world and is now
reduced to a slum. This creates a vivid mental picture and therefore
invents the ideal environment for tragic goings on. Alfieri also
utters an intriguing statement, 'now we settle for half.´ This
proclamation gives the impression that in this Italian community pride
and justice is fierce and that no one will settle for half of what
they believe is right. Alfieri makes this statement in the past tense
leaving the question did the events that Alfieri witness determine
whether people settle for half. He also wonders if there is another
unfortunate lawyer sitting back, unable to do anything as the events,
'run their bloody course.´ The indirect reference to blood creates
another question about whether blood will be shed, considering the
Italian community has a reputation to fight to the death. Alfieri is
essential to the structure of the play as he opens and closes the
play. I believe that he is Arthur Miller's mouthpiece and he moves the
action that Miller has once witnessed.

Eddie Carbone is then introduced as a 'slightly overweight
longshoreman´ and we see straight away that he is a character of
authority when Catherine appears and waits on him in an affectionate
way. Catherine is an 18-year old who, because of her mother's death is
living with her Aunt Beatrice and her husband, Eddie. Eddie has taken
upon himself to be a father to Catherine and to give her the very best
in life. Therefore, because of his 'fatherly´ affections Eddie and
Catherine have developed a close family relationship. Eddie´s first
comments to Catherine this early in the play are all centred on
Catherine´s appearance. References made about her hair, clothes and
about her 'walkin´ wavy.´ This obsessive attention to Catherine´s
physical appearance is extremely questionable especially when he asks
her to turn around so he can see her back. When Eddie becomes quite
adamant that he disapproves of the way she walks, Catherine is 'almost
in tears.´ This simple act of crying shows the audience immediately
how naive and vulnerable she is. In today´s society, it would be very
unusual to see a girl of eighteen so dependent on her guardian to live
at that stage. It is obvious however that she views him only as a
...

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